Monday, February 17, 2014

"Death Knights of Krynn", 1991.

Critical Dragonlance failure! This ad artwork contains no dragons nor any lances! This ad is actually for a game from the SkullyKnight campaign setting. (Soth was eventually relocated to Ravenloft, where he makes quite a bit more sense.)
DEATH KNIGHTS OF KRYNN
The incredible sequel to CHAMPIONS OF KRYNN!

LORD SOTH HAS THROWN DOWN THE GAUNTLET OF CHALLENGE!

It has been but one short year since the Champions of Krynn claimed victory over the massed forces of evil. Now, the Lord of the Death Knights, Soth himself, is preparing to wreak havoc in an eruption of evil such as Krynn has never witnessed!

As members of the Special Solamnic Order of the Champions of Krynn, you and your party stand as the only force capable of answering Soth's deadly challenge -- and living to tell of it!

DEATH KNIGHTS OF KRYNN takes the award-winning game system used in CHAMPIONS OF KRYNN to new heights! Now, characters transferred from CHAMPIONS OF KRYNN can keep their money and items. Higher character levels, new monsters, new spells and enhanced combat aiming make for AD&D fantasy role-playing beyond anything you've ever experienced!

It's nice for them to tell us precisely which variety of gauntlet has been thrown down; casting the gauntlet after all is such an open-ended phrase that it could imply just about anything.

The party is "the only force capable of answering Soth's deadly challenge -- and living to tell of it!", but there are plenty of other forces who could answer it and die in the process. It's a sign of the scrupulosity of the Solamnic Order that they wouldn't send in troubleshooters they didn't expect to fully survive, just to get them out of their bind.

Apparently this game takes the system of its predecessor further. Now, they can keep their money and items. (Then, there was no prior game for them to inherit goods from. That's not a failure of the earlier game: that's just what it means to be the first in a trilogy.) "Higher character levels, new monsters, new spells" sum up the usual total of improvements, plus the curiously particular "enhanced combat aiming", which I guess reflects a concern that didn't crop up in the Realms-based Gold Box games. Unlike earlier ads, they're not boasting the incredible graphics of the game's 3-D adventuring environment, so I guess they learned something.

Cf. my horse question from the Silver Blades ad post: these are clearly demonic night-mares, and not just because they are so described in the bottom-left screenshot: their eyes glow red and their faces are sinisterly wrinkled. They only dine on Hell oats and apples of discord in their asbestos stable.

OK, undead dragon screenshot: I appreciate that with no flesh on your bones, you're considerably lighter than you were in life -- but with no membrane stretched between your wingbones, with what are you flying? A: magic. Superman's cape doesn't make him fly either, it just helps him to look good when he does.

I've always dug the way Soth's helmet design affords him no nose protection. No nose = no protection needed there! I guess his sinister red eyes are just floating in a giant collapsed sinus cavity. His companions appear to have cloned Darth Vader's lightsaber, but his own mace seems to be secreting some sinister incense like a really evil censer.

What do you think motivates a skeletal warrior in a fantasy realm? Hedonistic pursuits are right out, with the possible exception of pure sadism. What will a skeleton do with riches? (Far-right skelly is wearing a bangle around his upper arm-bone. Bet the bony ladies will be all over that. What? he is a bony lady? Awkward! I should have looked at the hips.) Then again, I suppose it's not like a dragon can take his hoard down to the corner store either: hi, I'd like a carton of smokes and the March issue of PlayDrake.