Part 2: It COULD Be WorseUpdate 1: It COULD Be Worse
Alright, now that we've got a party selected the first step is to make that party a reality. It's a bit of a cumbersome process in Champions, since we have to first create party members, then add them to the party, and then begin the game.
Still, it's not as bad as all that. I took a bit longer creating these characters than usual since I was working with the icons a bit in order to get them to relate to the portraits. We're not done yet, though, since I still have a bit of work to do.
These are our characters hot out of the character generator. Most people who've played tabletop AD&D could you tell you that these characters aren't bad at all, and would be pretty viable in a game where you could play with the rules and cleverly adjust situations to play to your strength. Unfortunately, this isn't that kind of game.
Instead, this game series hates you and your children and will try to murder you. It's not as bad in the first title, but later ones just get downright unfair. I've modified the characters to give an edge, but didn't simply max out all of their stats because that would be pretty boring. One thing to notice is that age is generated based on race and class, and can't be changed through modification. You also can't modify characters after they've begun adventuring, so this is really only useful to give yourself a good start.
Our characters are also naked and have no equipment, except for Boo. It might be a case of making him appear more knightly by giving him proper equipment, or it might be by way of compensation for being level 1.
Before we can start, though, we have to deal with the crude copy protection on the game. In order to begin to play or to load a saved game, you have to look up a word in the journal that came with the game. One of the later games has titles with the journal entries, which can be a bit confusing if you don't know whether to count the words in the title or not. You might think that looking through the journal entries could spoil the story a bit, but not all the journal entries are actually real so it would probably just confuse most players. Okay, now it's really time to get started.
"Alright lads and lassies, we're almost to the outpost. Now mind your manners, and don't go anywhere you're not supposed to.
"Sir Karl, for the last time, I'm not a woman! I'm a man!"
"Call yourself whatever you want you crazy tree hugging wench."
"Wait, you're a what now?"
" let's just go see the damn Commandant."
"None of that, now. We're discussing important issues here."
"But what should we do until you're done talking?"
"That would seem to be a very long conversation, if we can scout out an entire abandoned castle."
"Especially as thoroughly as I intend to explore it."
"Hey! Where'd ma shpare bottle of whiskey go?"
*cough* "Anyway, you can buy equipment at the armory. Memorize spells before going out."
"Speaking of which, is it a human custom to travel across a war zone with only one member of the party bearing arms?"
"Couldn't be having any mutinies now, could we?"
The armory looks a lot like the rest of the outpost, since for the most party they don't bother with depicting the inside of buildings. Pooling is important, since we're relatively poor at the moment and nobody but Boo has any equipment.
Between all six of our characters we've got a grand total of 54 steel coins. Just to clarify, steel is the basic monetary unit in these games. A few others crop up in odd places, but you generally only see steel. Krynn uses steel as a currency because Krynn is a harsh world where a soft metal like gold is valueless compared to something like steel either that or because the writers wanted their world to be a unique special snowflake. It doesn't really make much sense, but we'll go with it. One amusing note is that a steel arrowhead is supposedly equal to a steel coin, with the added bonus of being useful in a pinch. 54 steel is enough to get a couple suits of ring mail, shields, and some basic weapons for our party but not enough to afford any ranged weapons other than darts. We've got about 10 steel to our name now.
The next stop is the local inn, which coincidentally has the same graphic as resting in the wilderness. It's either that or we've built a campfire in the middle of the inn.
This is also where you select your spell load out. It's all one big mixed up list if you have a multiple class character, so it can be a bit confusing if you don't know which spells are which. I'll go into some detail about our spell levels as we get access to them. In the meantime, Elon has a LOT of spells. He's getting bonus cleric spells for high wisdom and bonus wizard spells for the lunar phase of the red moon, depicted at the top of the screen.
Once all the selections are done you get a chance to approve the entire list. Saying no means that you get to make all your selections over again. This list isn't exactly optimal, but it'll do.
Memorizing all of our spells takes about 8 hours. This will only go up as the game continues. Spells take 15 minutes of time per level to memorize, plus an initial base time dependent on the highest level of spell selected. It's essentially 4 hours as a base, then goes up by 2 hours every other spell level. One can only assume that the members of the party who aren't memorizing spells are taking a nap or something.
In addition to using your own healers, temples are also available to fix you up for a cost. It's generally not worth it, but it can be a necessity if your only healer is poisoned, a statue, or dead. We'll eventually have 3 healers with this party, so it really shouldn't be an issue.
With all that said and done, it's time to get cracking. The world map actually allows us to move in any direction, rather than just to population centers. This also comes with the opportunity to have random encounters while traveling. There's nothing random right now, though...
"Wait, don't run out on your own!"
"Wait where are they?"
"Shomebody get that tree! It'sh lookin' at me funny!"
"I'm pretty sure that they're all trying to hide behind that single tree over there.
"Hey, you dickless mud lizards! Come over here or I'll personally track down your mother and turn her into a set of luggage and a matching handbag!
"Dammit Gable, now you've got their attention. Get behind me.
*Kender have a taunt ability that drives the enemy into a berserker rage, giving them combat penalties. Yes, Kender have being obnoxiously annoying as a racial ability.
"They're coming! And my magic missile spell isn't working!"
"Hmm, magic resistance perhaps a sleep spell would be more effective?"
"It works for me."
A few seconds later...
Considering that we're already needing several thousand experience points to get a level, this isn't exactly a good sign. Of course, this is just experience for killing. You generally get more experience for finding treasure and as bonus experience than you do from random slaughter.
"Well, that could have gone better."
"We uh.. might want to leave. It's never good to be the last person with a weapon around something like this
"Well, that was certainly odd."
"I see things like that appear and dishappear all the time."
"It's right over there. You just climb up that rise and you can see it sitting there."
"No, this is a good thing! Yes, follow us to safety!"
"Wait, what did you just do with that money?"
"I've got to contribute a part of my earnings to the knighthood on a regular basis. More senior knights give almost all of their money."
"You're not allowed to hold any of our money."
"Wait, you actually thought this might happen and you didn't warn us?"
"You might have been a pack of draconians. In fact, you still might!"
"And you sheem like you need a drink. And ah need... three."
"Okay, you're not a draconian. Wait, what are you all doing back here already?"
"Well you see, what had happened was "
A few minutes later
"This is even worse than we feared."
"We're the only hope?"
"We're so screwed."