The War of the Lance is over, the dragonarmies have been defeated. But evil has not left Krynn. In northeastern Ansalon, outposts of the Knights of Solamnia remain to guard the fragile peace. Your party of adventurers is hired to carry out missions for the Knights. On your first mission, you stumble upon Draconians, long believed to have left the area. What are their plans? On your travels you have to face dangers in many dungeons and towns and might even meet some of the legendary Heroes of the Lance.
Champions of Krynn is the first of SSI's "gold box" games set in the AD&D world of Dragonlance, with all the usual features: first-person view and movement in dungeons, towns and outposts, overland travel on a map of the area and tactical turn-based combat from a top-down perspective.
As the first game set in Krynn, it has several features unique to that setting: In character races, one can choose from Kender, Silvanesti or Qualinesti Elves and Mountain or Hill Dwarves in addition to humans and half-elves. Special character classes include Solamnic Knights, clerics of the major deities of Krynn and mages of either the Red or the White Robe. The deities grant special spells and powers to their respective clerics. Red and White mages have access to different spells and the phases of the moons of Krynn affect their spellcasting abilities.
The weakest of all Gold Box games in my opinion, SSI's games based on "Dragonlance" AD&D setting are still decent enough to merit attention by all RPG fans. It is not that they are bad games - I just find the plots of "Forgotten Realms" games more interesting and the gameplay more balanced. Champions of Krynn for example gives no experience to any character who is knocked unconscious in combat - something that not only violates AD&D rules, but also makes the game unfairly frustrating, especially in the beginning when your party is still weak. The three games in this series are Champions of Krynn, Death Knights of Krynn, and The Dark Queen of Krynn. All are worth a look, but don't expect them to set new standards. The best thing about these games is the interesting magic system, which restricts spells according to the character's alignment.
GameSpot's decent short review of Champions of Krynn goes as follows: "The first proper Dragonlance computer role-playing game, Champions of Krynn (released in 1990) took place shortly after the War of the Lance in the Dragonlance timeline. A routine scouting mission into the smoldering ruins of the town of Throtl became a desperate struggle to rescue the kidnapped Caramon and a troupe of human captives from a small squadron of Draconians. From there, the action escalates from town to town across the continent of Ansalon, as the party is led by knights, kender, enemy traitors and actual characters from the Dragonlance Chronicles in an effort to quash the attempts of evil forces to corrupt dragon eggs into armies of Draconian warriors.
Champions of Krynn took the blueprint first set by Pool of Radiance a few steps further with the help of some additions specific to the Dragonlance world. Specifically, Champions featured the hoopak-wielding Kender race, the Solamnic Knight character class, and the steel-coin currency specific to Krynn. It also introduced some interesting modifications to the magic system. That is, certain magic-user spells were categorized into different schools according to a character's alignment (for instance, the Globe of Invulnerability spells were only available to good-aligned, or white mages, while Fire Shield and Dimension Door were only allowed for neutral-aligned, or red mages). Also, bonus or penalty spells were assigned based on the cycles of Krynn's three magic moons. Finally, clerics were able to choose their deities, which, true to the Dragonlance universe, would endow them with innate special abilities, like the additional healing ability of followers of Mishakal, or the enhanced turn undead ability of followers of Majere."
From a company, whose very name states they are dedicated to making strategic games comes an RPG trilogy about Krynn. All who are familiar with the advanced dungeons and dragons surely recognize this place!
The first game in the trilogy is Champinos of Krynn. As an adventure campaign the game is set in a land with Dragons and Magic, both evil and good. A small band of adventurers must stride forth and discover the reason for remaining evil in the Section of Northeast Ansalon. Rumors say that the dead evil queen Takhisis stirs. Your first objective is to discover what has happened to the Commander of the Outpost, Caramon within the Hobgoblin Fortress of Throtl.
You will encounter monstruous creatures, Giants, Dragons, Draconians, Goblinoids, Armies of Undead, Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Kender. The path is treacherous and strewn with magical goodies. The Lands of Ansalon have but one mighty defense against the evil dragons, the DragonLance. Dragonlances, when striking a Dragon, does damage equal to the wielder's hit points. The small and curious Kender have their own weapon, a Hoopak.
But the very first thing you need to do, it to create your party. You can have up to six members in your party (although one is enough). First off you chose the race, gender, social status and attitude of the character. Next you decide upon the attributes the character has. You don't get to assign points, but you can keep repeating the random distribution until you're satisfied with the attributes the character has (you'll understand what I mean when you start the game). But you do get to choose the looks of the character. The characters are icons that you see while in combat mode and you can decide how they will look like (actually you just get to combine some pre-prepared looks and assign colors to them). This is a fun, but fairly useless feature. It only helps you distinguish your own men easier while in combat.
After creating a character you should save it, because otherwise you can't ad it to a party. You can create as many characters as you want, but you can only select up to six (although one is enough). I do suggest you make your party as big as possible, because it does mater in the fights if you are alone or you have some comrades to help you fight the opponents.
When you go on your venture, you'll quickly get involved in the first fight. After winning a fight (if you lose it doesn't matter anyway) you get some spoils of war and the party members get important experience points.
As with most RPGs the more points your characters have, the stronger they are! Depending on your choices at the beginning of the game, they also have different skills that will come in handy (from the use of magic, to the stealing skill - but remember, if you selected your character to be lawful, you can't really expect him to steal).
Every now and again you will need to rest. If you're in a settlement that's quite easy (you simply go to the inn), otherwise you need to set up camp first. There are also other buildings in settlements and there you can buy equipment, learn, gather information, etc.
All in all this is a nice RPG game that started quite a successful trilogy. Compared to some other RPG games of that time it may not be as deep, but it is therefore (at least in my opinion) more fun. The game features a solid adlib sound and the graphics are nice with 16 colors (EGA graphics). The game also supports a mouse control, but it's obvious that the keyboard was meant as the primary interface.
First RPG in Dragonlance land. If you read the books, you know what I'm talking about. After the War of the Lance not all evil was extinguished. Your party goes northeast of Ansalon....
People who downloaded Champions of Krynn have also downloaded:
Death Knights of Krynn, Dark Queen of Krynn, The, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, Secret of the Silver Blades, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Treasures of the Savage Frontier
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