Friday, January 27, 2012


The title screen.
It's been a long time since I've journeyed to the land of Krynn.  My mainstay of Dungeons and Dragons is the Forgotten Realms.  I have nothing against Krynn.  It's a well thought out world, and I would go so far as to say that the original trilogy and the second trilogy of novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman are good enough that they should be lauded alongside the likes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Some will find that to be some kind of heresy in their minds, but those were the books I grew up loving. If you've never read those books, you should take the time to do so.

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
  • Half-Elf
  • Kender
  • Human

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:
  • Cleric
  • Ranger
  • Knight
  • Fighter
  • Thief
  • Mage
Clerics can pick from different gods of the Krynn mythos (only those of good or neutral alignments, since PCs are not allowed to be evil).  Which god they pick will determine what special abilities they get.  There's a whole list of them (Paladine, Majere, Kiri-Jolith, Mishakal, Sirrion, Reorx, and Shinare).  I'm not going to discuss what powers each one gives, but I will mention that my clerics are followers of Mishakal.  She awards my clerics with three bonus spells (Charm Person, Remove Curse and Bless).  Additionally, my clerics gain an additional +1 die on their healing rolls, making them really good healers.  Those bonus spells really help starting out in the game.  For example, my Cleric/Fighter/Mage has a ton of things to choose from before the adventure even begins (see picture below).

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 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.

This being a good idea, the party checked into the local outpost inn and rested for the day.

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!
Not far from the outpost, the party encounters a caravan being attacked by Baaz Draconians(there are several different types of draconians, depending on which type of dragon egg was used to create them). These creatures that were no longer supposed to be in this area, and were rumored to be completely wiped out.  Almost immediately, the party knows something strange is definitely going on around this outpost.  The draconians rushed to attack, but Wil Dhargon acted first.

That Baaz Draconian looks angry.

Kender have the ability to taunt their opponents by shouting insults.  This will anger an opponent who fails a saving throw, forcing them to rush toward the target and ignore all others, gaining a negative modifier to their armor class and making them easier to hit.  The Baaz were whipped into a blind frenzy over what he said (I can only imagine that he insulted their heritage) and rushed straight at him.

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?
A lone surviving draconian, who also appears different than the others (which means he is a different kind of this case an Aurak Draconian) managed to grab a book and then pull a quick disappearing act before the party could respond.  What was in the book?  Why were these draconians even interested in this caravan in the first place?

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 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...


  1. The three moons are Solinari, Lunitari (the second half of my YouTube username), and Nuitari. As far as the Baaz Draconians, they have one of the milder on-death side effects. There are others that explode when they die. :O I don't know if they are represented in this game or not.

  2. They are represented. So are the ones who turn into acid. I just don't know if everyone who reads this is familiar with Dragonlance, so it's best just to take things one step at a time.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  3. No problemo. I think that most of your readers won't be too familiar with good ole DL, sad to say.

  4. I've read the main books, and a couple of the side stories (mostly Kender lore related). I think it's a fun setting, but somehow I've always found it to be more difficult than other D&D campaigns.