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Who are the characters depicted on the cover of the Dragonlance Adventures hardcover?

The painting was done by Jeff Easley, and I'm pretty sure it's depicting Tanis taking the crown from Emperor Ariakas. But who is the undead guy in the back? I think it might be Lord Soth, but I don't think I've ever seen him depicted without his trademark bucket helmet.

Dragonlance Adventures

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You correctly identified the characters depicted in the image: indeed they are

  • Lord Ariakas (the dying man): the commander of the Dragon Army
  • Tanis Half-Elven (the standing one with a sword and a crown): one of the protagonists of Dragonlance Saga
  • Lord Soth (the undead): a Death Knight, whose is an ally of Kitiara, one of the Dragon Highlords

This drawing refers to the moment where Tanis went to pledge allegiance to Ariakan, but instead of putting his sword at the Lord Commander's feet the half elf struck a fatal blow (with the aid of Raistlin Majere). The Crown of Power fell off from Ariakan's head, and since "Whoever holds the Crown, rules!" Tanis went to catch the crown. As soon as Kitiara had understood what was going on, she ordered Lord Soth to catch the crown for herself:

There was uneasy silence in the Hall of Audience as Ariakas’s body tumbled to the floor. The Crown of Power fell from his head with a clatter and lay within a tangle of blood and thick, black hair.

Who would claim it?

There was a piercing scream. Kitiara called out a name, called to someone. Tanis could not understand. He didn’t care anyway. He stretched out his hand for the Crown. Suddenly a figure in black armor materialized before him.

Lord Soth!

The above quotes are taken from Dragons of Spring Dawning, Book 3, Chapter 9, Horns of Doom.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was about to give such answer two years ago, but what threw me off (and still does) is Lord Soth: all images I could find of him as Death Knight show him with a full helmet, never his face. And the face in the picture looks like those of a Lich, plus the crown fits. That prevented me from posting the answer back then. How can you explain this? The background story match so the answer is likely correct anyway, but the fact this is the only picture of Lord Soth with bare face strikes me as very odd. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard For what I recall, the description of Lord Soth in the novels focused mainly on his burnt Solamnian armor and on his red, flourishing eyes, I do not remember if the helm was always mentioned. I did a quick research in Dragons of Spring Dawning: when Ariakas went to visit Kitiara in Daargar Keep, Lord Soth suddenly appeared and the text says "Before him stood a figure no taller than himself, clad in armor so old it predated the Cataclysm. The armor was that of a Knight of Solamnia. [...] The armored figure wore no helm, it carried no weapon." \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard In another part of the same book, Lord Soth attacked Laurana, and in this case he had an helm: "But the armor was blackened as if it had been burned by fire. An orange light flared beneath its helm, while the helm itself seemed perched on empty air." Hence, it seems that sometimes he wore an helm (the one we see in the majority of drawings portraying him), sometimes not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, your efforts alone worth the upvotes and bounty here, appreciate it. Still, in the picture the undead has a crown instead of helm and now looking again, the dragon wings behind also add to the confusion, as they appear to come from the undead creature as well. Maybe the artist just threw everything inside without paying much attention to details, and now smiles at our fatal efforts to decipher something that was never ciphered in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 14:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard Thanks! Anyway, I agree that Jeff Easley took some freedom in doing this drawing. Furthermore, I suppose that the dark wings in the background are part of Ariakas's throne. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 14:39
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It's Tanis holding the crown (of command I believe?), Lord Soth behind, who was sent by Kitiara to try and get it before Tanis, and Lord Ariakas on the floor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I kinda figured it must be Soth, but I only have a vague recollection of the plot of the book, and Soth is usually depicted so differently. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMfiend
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The crown of command? Really? Like from Talisman? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 14:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site! Thank you for taking the time to help others. You certainly seem to know what you’re talking about, but we do prefer that answers back up their claims. Basically, people who don’t know the answer to the question should be able to judge how likely it is that this answer is correct—and since I know nothing about Dragonlance, I don’t know any of these characters or if they are the ones depicted here. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard: Attempts at answering the question (including speculative or incomplete answers) should not be comments. See this meta: Should users refrain from answers (or partial answers) in comments? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 5:28

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