July 15, 2024

The Grand “Champions of Krynn” AAR ~ Part One

Michael Eckenfels, 23 April 2023

It comes once again, this unstoppable force of nature of puns and bad play decisions, upon the pages here to tell the story of this trifle little band of upstarts, wannabees, and bad pun names. One may wonder what makes their story so interesting to tell (as does the author, whom is winging this with the best of intentions, though we know what road is paved with those of course). 

The story of the party began with one Sir Fsup, a Solamnic Knight answering the call of assistance from a far western outpost below the now-deserted city of Throtl, near the west coast of the continent of Ansalon. This continent stretches from the arctic to the equatorial climates in the southern hemisphere of the World of Krynn. It was across the face of this continent that the War of the Lance raged in years past.

In the 384th year after the Cataclysm, the evil forces of Takhisis, the Queen of Darkness, launched the treacherous war she had long prepared in secret. Her armies of evil dragons, fell draconians, and all manner of other evil beings quickly overran the unprepared and unsuspecting.

In the 384th year after the Cataclysm, the evil forces of Takhisis, the Queen of Darkness, launched the treacherous war she had long prepared in secret.

Good dragons, historical enemies of these evil dragons, could not ally themselves with the forces of good. As part of the Dark Queen’s plan, their eggs were taken as hostages while the great beasts slept. The good dragon’s “neutrality” was the price they paid to keep their eggs from harm. 

While the good forces’ attempts to ally against the common threat were hampered by treachery and old feuds, the armies of evil made good use of their time. Quickly consolidating their hold on the newly conquered lands, they struck even further afield in the winter of 351 A.C.

It was this year that a group of companions met at the Inn of the Last Home in Solace. The exploits of these companions are now well known – how they gained the disks of Mishakal and returned them with the first true cleric to walk the lands since the Cataclysm. How their discovery that the draconians were the result of the corruption of the good dragon eggs freed the good dragons from their pledge and brought them into the war on the side of good. How they helped Berem to return to the temple outside of Neraka and with his death close the portal that gave Takhisis an entry into Krynn.

It was at this time that many counted the war over. With their queen locked out of this world, the Dragon Armies lost their sense of direction. Many urged the good armies to return home and disband, some were foolish enough to do so.

But evil retained a strong grip on much of the land. The corruption process was stopped, but the good eggs were not returned and the exploits of the companions had given evil yet a new form. 

Raistlin Majere, a companion with his brother Caramon, was caught up in the web of power that blazed through the land. While working against the Dark Queen’s plans, his own grew ever more ambitious. By the time She was driven out of the land, his own robes, once a neutral red, became as black as his heart.

Through long and macabre studies, he became convinced that he himself could become a god. Not just a god, the most powerful of all gods. Through his plots and machinations, another foul time swept over Ansalon, this one threatening even more defilement than that caused by the Dragon Armies . It was only when Raistlin realized that if he persisted, he would be left to rule a dead world, that he relented.

Caught up in this power struggle, evil forces struck again. Kitiara, half-sister to Raistlin and the hero Caramon, organized an attack. Dragons, draconians, men, and other evil creatures bypassed the High Clerist’s Tower and fell on Palanthas. The city would have stood against even these forces had it not been for the aid given by Lord Soth and his Death Knights.

It is said that Lord Soth took her unwilling and undead body off to a fate far worse than a clean death.

None could stand before them as they swept through the city streets. In the very tower where Raistlin did battle with the Dark Queen, Kitiara fell. It is said that Lord Soth took her unwilling and undead body off to a fate far worse than a clean death. Whatever the reason, the Death Knights withdrew and good overthrew the invaders.

With this clear lesson before them, all realized the evil threat could return at any time. With new resolve, the alliance stood to arms again. Led by the Solamnic Knights, the good forces smashed through the remaining Dragon Armies. In a long and bitter campaign, the eastern lands were freed. The City of Sanction fell to a bloody siege. Evil was routed and its followers driven deep into hiding.

So as not to be caught unprepared again, the knights established outposts, like this one that our very own Sir Fsup travels to visit, throughout the Eastern Lands. With that, the armies withdrew and, save for the knights, were largely disbanded. All depend on our outposts. The forces of good must now be vigilant, to stamp out evil where it is found and, if dark plots threaten, to give advance warning to good folk everywhere.

For all of the confidence many felt when Sanction fell, things are not as they could be. Many of the good dragon eggs remain lost. Lord Soth stays secure and apparently untouchable in his fortress (although he provided no aid to the Dragon Armies in this last conflict). The knights, on whom so much depends, are stretched too thin. Indeed, it is all the knights can do to provide the outposts with leadership. The work of patrolling, and the like, falls almost entirely on ordinary folk, such as Sir Fsup and his erstwhile companions – Smashen Grab, a male Hill Dwarf of rough edges and a thirst for violence whom is a Cleric of Reorx and a fighter of decent skill; Wynn Prowltroll, a female Human whom is a cleric of Majere and therefore, a potential force versus the undead (of which Lord Soth is, of course, firmly involved with); Kimjong Unshot, a female Half-Elf Cleric of Mishakal and a Ranger with bow skills; Izzie Dedyet, a diminutive female Kender Thief with quick fingers and an even quicker penchant for dark jokes; and Waxhon Wacxoff, a female Mage with plenty of brains and spells even in her relatively limited grimoire of second level magic.

With little work or gains to be had through honest employment (and ‘honest’ being a relative term in these lands, of course), these five companions gravitated to the adventuring career, having achieved some minimal to the world yet maximal to their levels, triumphs. It was through these small stories that Sir Fsup met and had them join, with promises of cleansing the land of evil and potentially being at the forefront of a majestic campaign against woes once again revisiting the lands of Krynn.

And when that impassioned speech didn’t work, the promise of coin and loot was always a good back-up argument to make.

And, in learning more of the current situation, if the other outposts are like this one, things may be much worse than they appear. Strange events have occurred. Our party as individuals and now, as a group, have heard or hear rumors. Rumors of settler caravans killed or enslaved. Of a strange force that opens graves and robs the dead. Of evil dragons seen flying to the east. Of entire cities captured and secretly enslaved.

The commandant of this tiny outpost sends out patrols and they report nothing. At least…those who return have nothing to report. But of late, not all sent out have been coming back. The commandant has been urged to report all this, but he has refused to do so.

The fact is that our commandant has not been himself lately. He looks the same and talks the same, but his actions – his feel – are quite different. I fear some dreadful fate awaits us all. A fate we should be able to see but which a dark veil is hiding.

COKAAR 1 000

click images to enlarge

 

Champions of Krynn is a Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box game, released in 1990. Like its predecessors (Pool of Radiance, et al), I devoured these when they came out. Working at Babbage’s at the time, I had access to these games as soon as they popped in the store.

I’ve determined to write this story – again – and won’t post any part of it until I’ve done a full write-up and play through of the entire game. So if you are reading this and wondering “oh boy, yet another BC AAR that will end in the middle of it just getting good,” you’d be wrong. This time, anyway. Hahaha.

COKAAR 1 001

This map, directly from the game’s Adventurer’s Journal, shows you the area we will be adventuring across. Throtl, near the upper left corner, is where our story and journey both begin. The Adventurer’s Journal shows this map, and gives a bit of insight into the state of things in the area:

The territories in the game are those that were overrun by the evil armies during the War of the Lance or were occupied by evil beings before that war.

Throtl was the capitol city of the Hobgoblins. Neraka was the special city of Takhisis and her temple was located near it. Sanction was a pre-cataclysmic city that was the base of operations for the Dragon Armies. Kernen was the capitol city of the Ogres.

The mountains near Jelek hold Godshome. While these are now empty ruins, it is rumored that an area sacred to the True Gods exists somewhere in these mountains. 

The lands are largely empty, save for a few settlers. The City of Sanction is the only area that has come close to its pre-war level of settlement.

It is within this uncertain setting that our story begins.

 


CHAMPIONS OF KRYNN AAR
PART ONE ~ PART TWO ~ PART THREE ~ PART FOUR ~ PART FIVE ~ PART SIX ~ PART SEVEN ~ PART EIGHT ~ PART NINE ~ PART TEN
PART ELEVEN ~ PART TWELVE ~ PART THIRTEEN ~ PART FOURTEEN ~ PART FIFTEEN ~ PART SIXTEEN ~ PART SEVENTEEN ~ PART EIGHTEEN ~ PART NINETEEN ~ PART TWENTY
PART 21 ~ PART 22 ~ PART 23 ~ PART 24 ~ PART 25 ~ PART 26 ~ PART 27 ~ PART 28 ~ PART 29 ~ PART 30


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There once was a game called Krynn,
With warriors, mages, and dragons within,
In Champions of might,
They battled all night,
For glory, for honor, to win.

The heroes were brave and true,
Fighting foes, both old and new,
With spells and with swords,
They faced their rewards,
To vanquish the dark and break through.

From the streets of Solace they roamed,
To the lairs where dragons called home,
With quests to fulfill,
And battles to thrill,
Champions of Krynn, on they’d roam.

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