|The title screen.|
Now, on to the party. The names are the same as in Pool of Radiance. This is done on purpose. I have an attachment to these characters, and using them over and over again allows me to know at a glance what class or classes they have training in. It used to be that I used a new party every time, and it was hard to remember who was the cleric and who was the mage. This just makes things simple and easy for me.
Krynn is a different world than Faerun, so there are some adjustments to race and class. If you've never experienced these games before, you might be surprised to find out how different things are.
|The roster of heroes who will guide us through the adventure.|
Lord Benjamin - Solamnic Knight of the Crown - Human - Male - Lawful Good
Kavina Do'Arden - Ranger - Human - Female - Neutral Good
Thaddeus Durin - Cleric of Mishakal/Fighter/White Robe Mage - Half-Elf - Chaotic Good
Wil Dhargon - Fighter/Thief - Kender - Male - Neutral Good
Tamera Beldon - Cleric of Mishakal - Human - Female - Lawful Good
Janessa Waylan - Red Robe Mage - Human - True Neutral
First, let's talk about the different choices of race and class. If you've only ever played the Forgotten Realms Gold-Box games, you probably know the standard choices (Human, Elf, Dwarf, Half-Elf, Gnome, Halfling). The Krynn games, however, have a completely different set of races, including:
- Hill Dwarf
- Mountain Dwarf
- Silvanesti Elf
- Qualinesti Elf
Of the races presented above, the most interesting one is the Kender. They're like halflings, only a lot more fun. Kender have a love for adventure, are natural thieves and can taunt their enemies (as you'll see later). They also have a specialized weapon that only they can use, called a Hoopak, that can be used as both a melee and a ranged weapon.
As for classes, you have the following options, which are also slightly different than the Forgotten Realms fare:
|Thaddeus is ready to get the party started.|
Part of that is because he is a follower of Mishakal. Part of it is because he is a White Robe Mage, and the White Moon was full when he memorized his spells, giving him bonus spells. If you notice the three circles at the top of the screen, they represent the three moons of Krynn, each colored White, Red and Black (though SSI went with dark blue since their background was already black). As the moons change phase, so does a magic-user's spell allowance. When their moon is full, they gain 2 bonus spells of any level. When it is a half moon, they receive one bonus spell. A new moon grants them no bonus spells.
Obviously, camping at the right time is essential if you want bonus spells. So, it becomes part of the strategy of the game.
Now that we've covered the mechanics of the game, let's get the adventure started...
THE STORY BEGINS:
The story begins a few years after a major war on Krynn, called the War of the Lance, during which an evil goddess (called Takhisis) sent her draconians to conquer the lands of Krynn. Her forces were eventually defeated by a group of heroes with the aid of dragons. The draconians, who are the evil offspring of mutated dragon eggs, were driven away and killed.
Outposts have been set up in various places within Krynn by the Solamnic Knights, who are sworn to protect the lands from evil. It is at one of these outposts that something is amiss. The commandant of the outpost near the ruined city of Throtl has been acting strangely, and a Solamnic Knight named Sir Karl Gaardsen is sent to investigate.
The party meets him in Solace at The Inn of the Last Home and offers to accompany him to the outpost in the hopes of finding adventure. When they arrive at the outpost, Sir Karl goes to discuss matters with the commandant, but issues the party orders to scout the area near Throtl.
|Sir Karl Gaardsen.|
According to Sir Karl, the area has long since been cleared of most evil creatures. Dragons and draconians hadn't been seen in the area for quite some time, so the party would probably not have any issues. Still, he warned that they should head to the inn to memorize spells and probably buy some adventuring equipment.
|Are Inns usually outside?|
Once they had rested and outfitted themselves, the party headed out the gate of the outpost, leaving Sir Karl to deal with the politics of the place. With no idea what they'd find, the party headed north toward the ruined city of Throtl to scout, fully confident in the knowledge that the area has been properly patrolled by the knights in the outpost. If the commandant has been keeping up on his job, then--
|Son of a bitch!|
|That Baaz Draconian looks angry.|
When it comes to tactical combat, rushing straight at an opponent and passing others is not a smart move. It allows your enemies to get extra attacks on you. But, these draconians didn't seem to care.
However, the Baaz Draconians aren't without some special tricks of their own. Upon death, their bodies turn to stone. If you use a melee weapon against them, there is a chance that your weapon will get stuck in their bodies. While you can retrieve it after combat, you essentially will not have a weapon in hand (unless you ready another one) for the rest of the battle. This really hurts later when it happens to your favorite magical weapon.
The party had little trouble wiping out this small band of draconians. But, somehow, one of them managed to survive.
|Where the heck was he hiding?|
Before the party can even consider these questions, the survivors from the caravan ask them for an escort back to the outpost. Being mostly good aligned, the party agrees, and returns to the outpost to tell Sir Karl of what has happened.
But, when they enter the commandant's office to give their report, they walk in on a fierce battle.
|Sir Karl is handy with a sword, apparently.|
The party arrives just in time to see Sir Karl kill the commandant. As the commandant dies, he changes shape to a Sivak Draconian. These foul draconians have the ability to shape change into whatever they want...so that means that a draconian has been in charge of the outpost for quite some time. The original commandant was probably killed.
It is then revealed that the commandant had been slowly replacing the Solamnic Knights in the outpost with his own men, all of whom are suspect and possibly draconians themselves. Sir Karl feels he cannot trust anyone within the outpost, and asks the party to work with him in rooting out the evil.
He mentions that Caramon Majere led a group of men into the ruins of Throtl, and that our first mission should be to go and find him and return him to the outpost.
I will say this for Champions of Krynn, it sure does pack a lot of story into a small space. The Krynn series was always heavy on the story...and that's a good thing.
Next time, the party heads into the ruins of Throtl...