Champions of Krynn

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Champions of Krynn

Postby BlueSalamander » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:03 pm

Champions of Krynn is a Gold Box PC game in the Dragonlance campaign setting. It's the first game in the Dragonlance series. The second one is Death Knights of Krynn and the last one is Dark Queen of Krynn. In Champions, the player-created party of six characters must defeat evil draconians. I've played this game months ago and only now I get around to posting the pictures of my playthrough.

- The good points

* Some very good turn-based battles with wizards, clerics, fighters, various draconians, dragons (red, green, blue, black, white and bone), minotaurs and ogres. Kapak draconians leave a pool of acid when they die. Baaz draconians turn to stone, encasing the weapon that hit them. The Aurak, Bozak and Sivak draconians explode when they die.

* The computer casts hold person, charm spells, slow spells and lightning bolts and uses dragon breath.

* Many areas are simple enough that they don't require mapping on a piece of paper

* A good linear plot. You get to interrupt diabolic ceremonies involving dragon eggs, ally with friendly ogres after spying on hostile ogres, release slaves and prisoners, meet the shadowpeople, crash a flying citadel, unmask draconians disguised as humans, slay a death knight, pass the tests of knighthood, help a knight seduce a silver dragon, and kill lots and lots of draconians.

* Magic depends on your alignment (there are differences between neutral clerics and good clerics and between white mages, red mages and black mages). You get extra spells depending on the evolution of the moon (there are three moons, one for white mages, one for red mages and one for black mages). Red mages get the spell Fireball earlier than white mages.

- The bad points

* The copy-protection system is very annoying (there is a cracked version out there, but even this version doesn't remove the protection entirely).

* Too many random battles (that provide no real challenge and do not advance the story)

* Poor interface. Most commands require two key presses when one should have been enough. For example, moving in combat requires to press 'M' first, then an arrow key. Changing your equipped weapon requires to unequip your current weapon first, then equip the new weapon. Setting a character to guard requires pressing 'D' then 'G'. And so on.

* The game does not remember what your last spell selection was, so every time your party rests you have to specify what spells you want to memorize, even if you don't want to change your selection. Say you normally memorize two fireballs. Then you go into battle and you use those spells. Then when you go to rest, you have to select fireball again (from a possibly long list of cleric and mage spells). Because of this, I always try to finish a battle without using spells at all - that way I won't need to memorize spells again.

* Killing baaz draconians means losing your weapon (as they petrify with your sword). Cool, but it's not very obvious who has lost their weapon and who hasn't... Frequently, a character may be fighting without a weapon because the game didn't highlight the fact that the character was disarmed.

* Either the dragonlance is too powerful, or there aren't enough dragons in the final battles.

* Characters are too often burdened due to the weight of the money they carry.

My party:

- Black Sword, a human male fighter
- Blood Sword, a human male fighter
- Sir Valiris, a human male knight
- Legerdemain, a half-elf male fighter/thief
- Syrann, a half-elf female good cleric/white mage
- Draconia, a half-elf female neutral cleric/red mage

Useful spells

- Detect Magic (to be cast directly in the treasure screen after beating a boss battle)
- Charm Person (to dispel a charm effect on your characters)
- Dispel (to dispel a charm or hold effect on your characters)
- Hold Person (affects up to three enemies, stops spellcasting, makes the enemy open to 'coup de grace')
- Stinking Cloud (affects four squares, the targeted square is always the top-left one, all creatures in the squares become nearly helpless)
- Fireball (the most effective spell in the game, I killed the only death knight in the game with just two fireballs)
- Ice Storm (also useful in late game. The radius is one square less than with fireball)

Moderately useful spells

- Cure spells (Instead, use the 'fix' command outside combat)
- Bless/Prayer/Haste have less effect on a battle than the more offensive spells.

Screenshots from the beginning to the end (click for large size)

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'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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Champions of Krynn

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Re: Champions of Krynn

Postby Waterd103 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:50 am

I tried it but really it is hard to deal with the interface. I need to be very motivated to get over it. This is specially true since you spoiled me with KOTC interface which is nothing short of amazing. (One, if not the best interface I've every played with in an RPG).
Now i'm slightly less motivated because reading your bad points, I see points are very big to me.

But you seem to have a special love for this game, not the first time you mention it, maybe you can "port it" to kotc2 engine some day :P
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Re: Champions of Krynn

Postby SilentLion » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:36 am

Good review. Luckily, they at least fixed the awkward spell memorization in the sequel, characters remember their previous choice of spells.

Just out of curiosity, why do all your characters look the same? :)
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Re: Champions of Krynn

Postby BlueSalamander » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:28 pm

Thanks. It's nice that they fixed the memorization. Which game do you prefer out of the Krynn games, and out of all the gold box games?
I've played Pool of Radiance but not to the end, so I guess I didn't like it as much.
Regarding the characters, that was to save time. I know you can select their colours and weapon appearance at the beginning.
I'm playing Mask of the Betrayer these days, with a halfling cleric. :D
'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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Re: Champions of Krynn

Postby SilentLion » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:33 pm

Well, I have only completed Death Knights of Krynn (my introduction to CRPGs, on C64), and later I played a bit of Champions and Dark Queen of Krynn, and some Pool of Radiance. I have fond memories of DKOK, but I cannot tell how it ranks among the other Gold Box games.
That halfling cleric must be interesting to play :)
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Re: Champions of Krynn

Postby Dorateen » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:50 pm

BlueSalamander,

Champions of Krynn is a great game, and I was glad to see this post.

I'm a huge fan of the Gold Box games and consider them among the best Dungeons & Dragons cRPG titles.

As far as the Krynn trilogy, I liked Death Knights of Krynn the most. It's more of a sandbox, open exploration adventure, although you do have a plot path that needs to be followed. Just that there are so many other points of interest not critical to the story, that it was fun to wander around and explore. I also feel it hits the sweet spot as far as levels in 2nd edition AD&D. If you like epic level stuff, that's what Dark Queen of Krynn provides.

Speaking of high level play, the Gold Box game I enjoyed the most was Pools of Darkness. But I think that was because it was the climactic culmination of the 4 Moonsea adventures, with lots of references and guest character appearances. Also, this was the cRPG that I upgraded to an SVGA monitor for!
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