Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Champions of Krynn (Gold Box Game)

Champions of Krynn was perhaps my first CRPG ever - I still have fond memories of waiting 60 minutes for the game to load (reading Time of the Twins while waiting and switching 5.25" floppy disks when prompted) at the beginning, and then waiting 30 minutes for the game to load at every battle (a great chance to read more of Time of the Twins)... Not only that, my computer was equipped with only CGA graphics, so I was treated to the game screens you see here in only 4 colors (white, cyan, magenta, and black).

Still, I had just finished reading the original Dragonlance trilogy (Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning), and so I of course jumped at the possibility of playing in the world of Krynn myself. Although I had most of the 2nd edition AD&D books and some of the 1st edition ones, I didn't own Dragonlance Adventures (I only saw it on sale once, and then I never saw it in stores again!) and so could not appreciate the work SSI went into in emulating these rules (for example, the different cleric classes based on alignment - good clerics begin with 2d8 hp, neutral clerics begin with 1d8 hp, and so forth). Still, it was great fun - I spent hours just reading the manuals alone (as my mother did not let me stay on the computer for long periods of time).

For some reason, I remember Champions of Krynn as having been a REALLY HARD GAME - needless to say, I never beat it! I did get to the end of the game, or pretty close to it, but I was basically overwhelmed by that point - the low level limits (8 or so, even lower for those darned Solamnic knights) combined with the endless hordes of draconians and dragons at the end of the game were just too much for me, and that was it! In retrospect, I think that the 60 minute loading time basically prevented me from saving and reloading before training my PCs (to make sure I got maximum hp at each level) - more hp surely would have helped a lot, I think!

Playing the game again after years is quite nostalgic, but I now remember a few irks about the game as well - foremost is the stupid journal (having to refer to it for storylines, as well as whenever you load up the game); the moons (at the top of each game screen) were also somewhat annoying (if beneficial), as you had to make sure that Solinari and Lunitari (the white and red moons) were both full so that your magic-users could memorize the maximum number of spells before heading into a dungeon (as it helped THAT much). I remember being annoyed at having to switch floppy disks so often, too. But in the end, Champions of Krynn was a great game, and I enjoyed playing it!

(At present, both Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures and Dungeon Craft do not support Dragonlance campaigns - it would be nice, though!)

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