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Let's Play: The Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box classics)

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Another weird detail that I thought I remembered from this game:  Didn't those kobold caves include a to-hit penalty on certain weapons due to the low ceilings?

 

 

Possibly, I don't know. I did notice that I missed more often than I should on the sweeps (kobolds are 1/2 HD, you can multi-kill them like minions in 4ed).

 

---

 

In other news, Wizards of the Coast started to release a stream of content for DnD 5ed, tied into a larger narrative called "Tyranny of Dragons". In this stream there is a new Pool of Radiance-based set of adventures! All of the iconic places around Phlan are featured, from Sokol Keep to the Sorcerer's Pyramid! (A few names have changed a bit, like Mendor's Library is now Mantor's Library). These are meant to be played as demo games at hobby shops, not sold as products.

 

DDEX1-1 Defiance in Phlan by Shawn Merwin – levels 1-4. Five one-hour adventures. Release date 18th August 2014.

 

The Cult of the Dragon has come to Phlan, a lawless refuge on the Moonsea. Now, with no significant authority to stop the cult, other power groups in the Realms – the Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, Emerald Enclave, Lords’ Alliance, and even the Zhentarim – must unite to stop the cult from fulfilling its dark purpose in the city. Join the fight by participating in any one of five different missions aimed at stopping the cult.

 

DDEX1-2 Secrets of Sokol Keep by Pieter Sleijpen – levels 1-4. Release date 18th August 2014.

 

Decades have passed since Sokol Keep was reclaimed, and a small garrison placed there along with a beacon to help guide ships. Now, that beacon has gone dark, and the garrison has disappeared. In Phlan, rumors circulate that something ancient was discovered in the grounds beneath the keep, dating to before the clerics of Tyr built the small fortress. Uncover the secrets of Sokol Keep!

 

DDEX1-3 Shadow on the Moonsea by Greg Marks – levels 1-4. Release date 18th August 2014.

 

Life on the Moonsea isn’t easy. Bandits, pirates, and cruel lords dominate the land, threatening those who make an honest living there. Now, a new scourge is prowling the waters: A ghost ship has been striking small coastal villages, leaving its victims whispering about the “eye of the dracolich.” Join the adventure and learn the truth behind this threat!

 

DDEX1-4 Dues for the Dead by Steve Winter – levels 1-4. Release date 22nd September 2014.

 

For years, the Most Solemn Order of the Silent Shroud has tended the dead at Valinghen graveyard, providing them a peaceful eternal rest. Now, that rest has been disturbed by a necromancer seeking out a key to re-activate the Pool of Radiance. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.

 

DDEX1-5 The Courting of Fire by Jobe Bittman – levels 1-4. Release date 22nd September 2014.

 

An exiled cultist and his kobold minions are spotted searching long-forgotten ruins in the Dragonspire Mountains. Rumors say he looks for a precious gift to give to a fearsome dragon that dwells there. What he hopes to attain with his gift is unknown, but can’t be good for the citizens of Phlan. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.

 

DDEX1-6 The Scroll Thief by Daniel Helmick – levels 1-4. Release date 22nd September 2014.

 

Scholars Square is a relatively quiet corner of Phlan, but a series of odd thefts have the headmasters of various schools in the area concerned. The headmasters’ pleas for help have gone unanswered by the Black Fist, and the Lord Sage of Phlan decides to reach out to you and your kind to bring those responsible to justice. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.

 

DDEX1-7 Drums in the Marsh by Sterling Hershey – levels 1-4. Release date 20th October 2014.

 

For the past several nights, drums have been heard on the wind, coming from the Twilight Marsh. Each morning, more turn up missing from the nearby farms, leaving only muddy, clawed footprints heading towards the marsh. Can you help the find the lost and bring justice to the abductors? A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.

 

DDEX1-8 Tales Trees Tell by Thomas Reid – levels 1-4. Release date 20th October 2014.

 

Despite the shaky alliance that exists with the elves of the Quivering Forest, they do not suffer trespass in their realm lightly, especially from common folk from nearby Phlan. A woodworker’s recent blunder into the forest might set off a diplomatic incident. Can you help find him and mollify the aggravated elves? A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.

 

DDEX1-9 Outlaws of the Iron Route by Will Doyle – levels 1-4. Release date 17th November 2014.

 

The Iron Route, an important trade road east of Phlan, is beset by competing bandits. An exiled Black Fist officer leads his band of mercenaries turned cloaked ruffians, while a mysterious dragonborn sorcerer commands screaming savages from the north. In this war for supremacy over the trade route, the beleaguered merchants are the victims, and Phlan suffers from a lack of important supplies. It’s up to adventurers to strike out and reopen this vital route to the town. A four-hour adventure for levels 1-4.

 

DDEX1-10 Tyranny in Phlan by Greg Marks – levels 5-10. Release date 17th November 2014

 

The Maimed Virulence has come. The future of the Cinnabar Throne and the lives of the denizens of Phlan are in jeopardy. The Cult of the Dragon rejoices, and the Black Fist is powerless to stop them. How will the factions of the city respond to this threat? Can Phlan be saved this time? Part One of Under Emerald Claws. A four-hour adventure for levels 5-10.

 

DDEX1-11 Dark Pyramid of Sorcerer’s Isle by Claire Hoffman, level 5-10. Duration: 8 hours (2 slots). Premiere: Winter Fantasy. Available: March 2015.

 

Long unoccupied, the pyramid on Sorcerer’s Isle now flows with strange magical energy, warping creatures and the landscape around it. The Cult of the Dragon and Red Wizards of Thay have taken notice, and it’s up to you to keep whatever power dwells there out of their hands. An adventure for 5th-10th level characters.

 

DDEX1-12 Raiders of the Twilight Marsh by Robert Adducci, levels 5-10. Duration 4 hours (1 slot). Premiere: Winter Fantasy. Available: March 2015.

 

A black dragon’s treasure horde has been located in the Twilight Marsh, and within it are secrets that hold interest to the factions. With the dragon marauding over the countryside, the horde is left unguarded. Now is the time to plunder its lair! An adventure for 5th-10th level characters.

 

DDEX1-13 Pool of Radiance Resurgent by Chris Tulach, levels 5-10. Duration 4 hours (1 slot). Premiere: Winter Fantasy. Available: March 2015.

 

Vorgansharax rules Phlan, using the Cult of the Dragon to extend his noxious gaze. But the green dragon seeks far more than control of the beleaguered town – ultimate power is nearly within reach. Will he reactivate the Pool of Radiance and ascend to greater prominence amongst his kind? Part Two of Under Emerald Claws. An adventure for 5th-10th level characters.

 

DDEX1-14 Escape from Phlan by Chris Lindsey, levels 5-10. Duration 4 hours (1 slot). Premiere Gottacon. Available April 2015.

 

Three important citizens of Phlan, who stand against the tyrannical dragon that rules, seek to escape and find refuge across the Moonsea. Can you extricate those that are vital to the factions before it’s too late? An adventure for 5th-10th level characters. 

 

 

 

 

 


The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Cleaning the Stojanow river was my favourite moment of that game. I remember the awe I felt when they actually showed the river cleaning up and the vegetation growing back.


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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Cleaning the Stojanow river was my favourite moment of that game. I remember the awe I felt when they actually showed the river cleaning up and the vegetation growing back.

 

I remembered the quest itself, but didn't remember the cleanup animation. It was almost as good as back then. :)


The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Chapter 11: We Are the Enemy at the Gates

 

At last, the moment we've been working for so long arrives. Lord Eberhard Urslingen, Head of the Council, a grizzled war veteran asks us to appear before him, and he tasks us with the final Council mission. The first part is securing a bridgehead.

9KGsbLs.png
 
By now, we have a lot of money in the form of gems and jewelry. 50000 gold is spent on two Fine Composite Longbows, which use Strength modifiers for attack and damage. Combined with the Gauntlets and 2/turn bow attack rate, now the fighters can dish out a lot of damage from afar if needed.
 
We embark for Stojanow Gate, which is north of Podol Plaza, the monster town. The gate is situated on a land bridge between the peninsula that holds Valjevo Castle and the rest of the city -- a perfect place for a fortification. It stands tall at an impressive 30 feet, with watchtowers rising even higher. We've heard a lot of talk that giant-kin are the mainstay of the Boss's Army.
 
There is a patrol out there, before the gates. Not a safe place, bugsies.


9OzA3l2.png
 
After the patrol falls to our attacks, arrows pepper us constantly from the watchtowers. Our ogre-strong fighters bash the gate with a few mighty swings, and the guards rush to stop us. Half dozen ettins, with a lof of HP and multiple attacks per turn, two mages, plus some spare change soldiers. The ettins hurt us badly, but after the fight, the gate is secured and we can rest. In 14 feet long ettin-sized beds, according to the game's description.
 
North of the gate is the first quadrant of the Castle, the southwestern quadrant.

XstxCGp.png

We talk nice to them, and they offer local uniforms as disguise. Always be civil to women. It works, the patrols don't bother us.

We find a Temple of Bane, this time with human clerics.

XE1tjX6.png
 
Szilva: -- Welcome, my children. Come forward and accept the blessing of my magical mace. It won't hurt... long.
 
We find an offering box and two crossed swords at the altar, but on Szilva's advice, don't take anything. Even Eper realized there won't be a lot of money in an offering box, especially compared to the loot and Council rewards we're getting lately.
 
We go over to the southeast quadrant. As we cross this place,  we hear someone moan for help. It sounds familiar...


OMenUnK.png
 
A heated debate breaks out, but Cadorna promises two things: one, a password to the inner castle's gate, two, a way through the hedge maze. Oh, so that's what we were seeing on the maps from Kovel Mansion?
 
DHaTyl3.png


We decide to spare Cadorna's life, and carry him back to Phlan, where he will be probably executed as a traitor. Thanks for the password and maze instructions, buddy.


Next to Cadorna's cell a deep well sits quietly. The only logical thing to do is dive to the bottom of it, because, well, because there must be treasure there!

pHUVsx2.png
 
It's a long sword +2 flame-tongue, one of the few unique magic items.

We use the password ('rhodia') at the inner gate, and follow the map we have to the inner castle. The map is wrong in one place, and after some debate, we cross the hedge there. The hedge is poisonous, by the way. No one is pricked by the thorns, we cross over safely. As we enter a large room, we find a powerful man with bodyguards, sitting on a throne.


SWBK2N1.png
 
Business? We're in the death-dealing business, My Lord, are you buying? We're selling anyway.
 
It turns out that this guy only pretended to be Tyranthraxus. He's an evil spirit, originally merged with a barbarian warrior, who knows what form he wields today. The impostor had incredibly valuable equipment, a long sword +5 and a third Gauntlets of Ogre Power plus other stuff.
 
We try to leave the way we came in, but this time, Szilva receives a contact wound from the poison ivy, and dies quickly in agonizing pain. We hurry back to town. Battling the false Boss guy set off an an alarm throughout the castle, our disguise is now useless. The patrols check on everyone, even fellow soldiers. The patrols consist of hill giants led by a veteran human soldier.

incnrf1.png
 
This is the correct answer, but one misstep and they're on us.
 
After a visit to Phlan and Szilva's second miraculous recovery and Cadorna's imprisonment by local law enforcement, we continue the walk around the Castle's outer perimeter. The True Boss must be in the other inner castle building, since the south one only had the false Boss (and no secret door, according to our search), but maybe we can find some more clues, help, something before we tackle the hedge maze again. It's a really nasty place.

In one building, we surprise a group of resting fire giants.

rskJjqN.png
 
The giants look up to us. Look ma, I'm taller than a giant!

Fire giants have a lot of hp, throw boulders that deal a lot of damage, they do the same in melee, and are worth 5+ kXP per patrol. Giants also carry giant loot:


oADdctZ.png
 
The funny thing? Since money has weight in the Gold Box games, we would be unable to carry this home, even if we needed the money... After the fine composite longbows, there's nothing to buy.
 
In the northwestern quadrant, we find an important service building!

VyDatLC.png

We mess up the Boss's complicated name when one patrol out of the many asks us for his name, and they attack. Here's how a thrown giant-sized boulder looks like in flight:

ngZ6PWu.png

After the complete outer castle tour is concluded, we enter the hedge maze again.

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Inside the maze, there is a building in each corner. The northwestern one is kind of along the way, so we take peek inside. A single mage works inside, sitting by a desk, who introduces himself as Al-hyam Dhazid. After we threaten to kill him:

cFALIur.png
 

Okay, if you tell us about the inner castle, we'll let you go. Among his research notes, we find detailed info on the Pool of Radiance. It is a singularity which connects the physical realm with the Plane of Fire. The pool itself can be moved if someone's adept at manipulating the Planes. The pool was originally located to the north, somewhere in the Dragonspine Mountains, but according to Dhazid's notes, the Boss likes to have the pool around, so maybe he found a way to move it here? Guess we'll find out soon enough. Dhazid keeps his word, he leaves the Castle for good.

 

We find another error on the hedge maps. Our goal is so close, should we risk crossing it?

 

HpqQivm.png
 

 

Third time works flawlessly again, and we enter the north part of the inner castle. Here we are, at last!

 

... an empty room. Not even trash or broken furniture, nothing. We suspect that there must be some hidden entrance somewhere, and find it soon. Stairs lead up to the next floor behind an illusionary wall.

 

We find ourselves in a small room, where stairs lead down again, to the cellar of the castle. Not where we want to go, but treasure is everywhere, so...

XslAhA0.png

 

The medusa dies quicker than the basilisk did, unable to harm us. Yes, precious Gauntlets and third level spells, we've grown strong. She was like a guard dog in this place, we find a lot of statues. But where are the Boss's quarters? We return to the small room on the second floor, and this time, we find a secret door. Clever routing, leading unsuspecting visitors to the Medusa's lair.

 

The Boss's place is unusually quiet. No alarm is ringing, no traps except for a hidden trapdoor opening to the basement with the now-dead medusa, no guard ambushes.

We enter an elegant study, full of books, where another well-dressed wizard is organizing the Boss's plans. He's debriefing a scout, but quickly turns his attention to the armed invaders.

P8sZXbS.png

 

Some of us think that this guy, who introduces himself as Genheeris, would be a great asset to the team. He knows everything about the Boss. Others think that a rat like him cannot be trusted and deserves a pest's treatment. The latter position wins. (It's possible to recruit Genheeris for the final battles and he doesn't betray you. But he uses his Wand of Lightning uncaringly, hurting party members with friendly fire. No thanks.)

 

He only has a few bodyguards, we're not hemmed in like in the mass battles. During the combat, Alma takes a swing at Genheeris, then Eper moves to his back and backstabs him for 48 damage (12x4), ending his life. Another freshly looted Gauntlet of Ogre Power pouring out awesomesauce.

The only place left is...

 

dbSEP6d.png
 

We fight a full dozen of elite soldiers with strong magical gear. We take a lot of damage in the process (they have decent saves, a combination of training and Rings of Resistance, saving often against both Hold Person and Stinking Cloud). One of our mages goes down in the fight.  At the end of the fight (there is a "continue battle" option in the GB games, can be used to prepare for the next part of a multi-part battle), we heal up with potions and the fighters gulp the Potions of Strength and Potions of Speed we found during our adventures. There's no holding back now, it's do or die.

 

 

pKp1HaI.png

Oh ****, his current occupied form is a Bronze Dragon?!? Why wasn't this on the news? We'd take a barbarian champion over a bronze dragon any day!

 

Tyranthraxus asks us to join him, declaring that's he's unstoppable. Nobody wavers, though Eper does fiddle a bit when giving his answer. That drunken bragging about looting a dragon's hoard was so silly, now that he beholds a dragon in actual combat...

 

OviAzt8.png

 

Magic is ineffective against the innate resistance of the dragon. Eper takes a swing at the dragon's back, missing, and before we could spread out the party more, the dragon breathes fire, and three party members are killed outright. The remaining party members are unable to finish the job.

 

The second time, we are able to spread out the party and the targeted fighter saves successfully against breath weapon. Two turns with seriously buffed up fighters and a successful backstab is enough to fell Tyranthraxus.

He was worth.... (hold your breath)

..

..

..

..

..

..

734 XP per party member. Because he didn't carry any magical loot or a lot of gold/gems like the quicklings and the giants. AD&D nonsense to the max. We received 7 times more for a patrol of fire giants.

 

The only thing left to do is to watch the fireworks:

DnV1SCV.png

 

66SvTME.png

 

What happens next? Find out in the next episode of the Pools Saga, every Saturday afternoon on the Obsidian Oldschool Channel!

 

What happens next is that Bane, who is involved in the creation of the Pool of Radiance, cuts off Tyranthraxus from the pool's power because he's unhappy with T's management efficiency. So many troops wasted, so little result. T goes away like series villains do, fading out of view and vowing to return and exact vengeance upon us. See you next time.

 

We return to New Phlan, where everyone's rejoicing at the victory. We rejoice because we receive monetary rewards worth 45000 XP per member. A mound of gems and jewelry.

 

... is this the end, where we say our goodbyes? Not yet, faithful readers, for there is one unchecked menace left in Old Phlan: Valhingen Graveyard, where a vampire makes his residence.

 

And that place is actually much more difficult than Valjevo Castle. Hold off on opening the champagnes, we still have work to do!

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Nicely done.  I remember giving up in my attempts to defeat those guards.  (Although I was young, lousy at AD&D character-building, and probably not nearly as thorough in my loot acquisition as you have been.) 

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Chapter 12: 'Yards and Recreation



WnBGt2w.png
 
Welcome to Valhingen Graveyard. Did you bring warm clothes? It doesn't matter, you won't be needing them very soon.

iFtn7eg.png
 
The lightning flash actually happens on screen, lighting up the upper left view unexpectedly for a moment, nice detail.

Alright, I'm sorry for spoiling a large part of the suspense, but I want to explain how this place works and why it is difficult and how I prepared for it. To liberate the graveyard from all the evil dead, a number of things must be done under a demanding condition:
 
0. Clear the entire place in one go, without resting
 
If you leave the graveyard before you finish all of the goals, EVERY scripted encounter respawns. You can't slice up the challenge into smaller parts.
 
Resting is impossible in the graveyard, you're immediately attacked by undead. So it's a single adventuring day.
 
1. Kill the tower specters
 
The graveyard has "themed" towers: the skeleton tower, the zombie tower, and so on. Each tower has a spectre creating the tower's specific undead, and must be killed. The towers have a large pack of guards from the specific type, needless to say. Stop the recreation!
 
2. Clear a few special encounters
 
Like a squad of mummies in a crypt.
 
3. Permanently kill the vampire
 
Because he has a habit of escaping and hiding in his coffin.
 
And all this while surviving the various special abilites of the inhabitants:
-- juju zombies are very fast and strong, can easily attack our backline on turn 1
-- ghouls and ghasts paralyze
-- wights, specters, wraiths and vampires drain levels (the plural is just figurative for the latter two, thank Lathander)
-- mummies frighten the entire party (terrible, just terrible)
 
How are we going to survive?
 
Well, similar to how we won the Tyranthraxus two-part battle, by using up consumables that we hoarded this far.
 
-- We distribute Wands of Magic Missile between party members. Except for Alma, everyone gets one. Great in the following cases: no more spells left or we are conserving spells for later; the target needs a magical weapon to hit so normal darts and sling bullets don't do any damage; we're hemmed in by low-level undead, and the dangerous mob(s) are out of reach for frontline melee.
-- We have a total of 3 Wands of Lightning, only usable by mages (Use Magic Device is a great 3ed invention benefiting rogues and bards, no such thing here). Not so great against large mobs that were so numerous in Pool of Radiance so far, but great against strong mobs with a wall behind them for rebounding, and most battles will be fought in closed spaces.
-- Eper still carries the Necklace of Missiles. This is the best place to use it.
-- Memorization loadout is changed somewhat. Szilva -- Bless for the difficult battles (we will heal with potions, 5 Cure Light Wounds is not much for a 6-8 level party), Cure Disease (to cure mummy rot), Prayer. None of the Gold Box 2nd level cleric spells are of use here. Instead of Spiritual Hammer, which he could theoretically use, Szilva will just swing his Flail +3. Mages -- Magic Missile/Burning Hands (only Citrom knows Magic Missile), Mirror Image, Fireball is still as good as ever.
-- We have a few spare scrolls with relevant spells, 2 Fireballs and a Prayer.
-- We don't have Potions of Giant Strength or Speed left, used them up at the finale. Since there are many battles here, and the potions expire fast, this isn't a big deal.
 
Enough of the mental efforts! This is a place of ACTION: listen to Hell's song, the moaning of the undead, and let the bodies hit the floor!
 



Random encounters in the Graveyard depend on the area. Near the entrance it's just skellies and meaties.

VnwvvGK.png

I can't show it to you, but the purple mist in the background is animated, it is swirling over the blue sky and turquoise blue moon and cross and whatnot. It is totally psychedelic, like, shroom-positively. Didn't remember this one, it's fun!
 
Parlay doesn't work, by the way. Y U NO LIS10 2 ME? I'm bringing the happiness and joy of Scientology Hubology! It's almost the same as being undead, so don't hesitate to embrace it!

The skeleton tower is the first stop, guarded by, you guessed it...
 

QUQuu5p.png

Yes, they're not much of a challenge. But every 20 they roll means damage, and there's no rest here. And we're conserving the Fireballs for the wights. Annoying these fights are, young Jedi.
 
Inside the skeleton tower, a nasty unavoidable trap hits us.

y01j6xN.png
 
Again, the damage isn't terrifying on its own. But here, every single point of HP matters. The re-creator spectre is easy, Magic Missiles from the wands help a lot against the good AC.
 
Two skelly/meatie random encounters later, we get into the juju zombie tomb.

dsLnco3.png
 
We send off a Fireball here, otherwise too much meat dealing too much damage until we chop them up. Ju-ju zombies have good to-hit and damage.

Another crypt, another challenge.

22Du9ux.png
 
Citrom: -- Quick, let's jump on the lids to shut them in, then we don't have to fight them!
 
4 mummies, one of the worst combats in the entire game. At the start of the fight, everyone rolls a save against mummy fear. Fail = paralyzed. I wish they were running away instead! Even that would be better. Two tries = dead party.
 
Third try, only Szilva fails, and he's out of melee reach at the start of combat. We form a line before him, we might win this one. Narancs uses Wand of Lightning and the back wall to hit 2 mummies twice with one spell, but the final tile of the Lightning Bolt's path hits poor Barack. And that's still better than mummy rot, so it's okay. Mummy rot prevents all healing, including magical, until a Cure Disease is cast on the target. They take half damage from all weapons, Magic Missile wands help out. It's great satisfaction when the final mummy crumbles to oblivion.
 
We enter the "high risk" part of the graveyard.

a9eSKGF.png

The standard random encounter here is led by 4 wights (they always start in melee range, ugh), plus 16 zombies and either 2 juju zombies or 2 ghouls or 1 mummy (by far the worst option, a single one still causes the same deadly fear effect). These are much more dangerous than the early encounters. I need to reload a mummy-enhanced encounter, it's totally FUBAR even before I can do anything.

0opgdVL.png
 

We take a little detour, to the eastern fence, where a tomb is guarded by a mix of undead. They have a message, too:

apbUxEE.png
 
So what? We have fought a bronze dragon possessed by a spirit-general of the evil god Bane! Walk away in shame. (The voices are referring to a Forgotten Realms major event in the past, the Flight of the Dragons.)
 
miJVWet.png
 
Paladin corpses have the best loot! Like, Holy Avengers and stuff! You're alone, wraith, and kind of unfitting for a paladin's eternal guard. You're going down.
 
 
4gqDbTd.png
 
See, this is the wrong type of question. We're not desecrating the body of a great past hero of Phlan, we're preparing ourselves for the future! What good is magical equipment to a corpse, or a wraith, for that matter? Without magical weapons, we would've been unable to damage the wights and other premier undead! It's the right thing to do, looting indiscriminately. The gear here includes a Sling of Seeking +2, great ranged weapon for rogues. Why would a mighty warrior carry a sling, that's a question for historians.
 
As we get back on track, another patrol finds us.

The zombie tower plus spectre is not worth an image. The next one, however...
 
 
hnFhPIW.png
 
In this fight, we use a Fireball scroll, we're still hanging on to memorized spells. The Fireball's optimal target means that Barack (white-red, in the middle) is inside the AoE, and gets friendly-fried again. And she fails the save. Sorry about messing up your hair, Barack. I swear I'm not picking on you, it's the staggered line of the initial party setup that always puts you before the others .
 
Inside the wight tower, another unavoidable environment damage hits us, this time it's broken glass. Eff you, Dungeon Master, why can't I roll some save against it? You're so autocratic!
 
We see the chapel, the final stop in our tour, but there is still one unvisited tomb. 2 specters are guarding it. One reload later (they have a movement rate of 24 tiles, and can run across two screens to attack someone), we are able to send our remaining 2 Fireballs their way (yes, it's worth it), and the entrance is clear.
 
This turns out to be another brave knight's resting place. However, unlike the other one, he carries a VOICE OF REASON!

Y4S3Uuk.png
 
Yes, finally someone understands the plight of adventurers! We must loot anything we find, because the challenges always rise! Ironically, his gear is not better than we already have. Sir Reasonable Ghost, you were undergeared. But we appreciate the gesture.
 
The chapel holds a coffin, and this is where we make use of the Deluxe Vampire Killer Kit we brought.

EusZ1Fz.png
 
 
We kind of understand how this works. You put enough garlic and holy water and pointy crosses into someone's bed, and it just becomes too uncomfortable to sleep in! These clerics are always mystifying their rituals, it's quite simple: you IKEA the coffin, and that's that.
 
But where is the vampire himself? Or herself, we're not sexist, female vampires are totally worth the same amount of XP as male vampires. Same value, same respect, same treatment: a quick kill.
 
There is a dilapidated building in the northeast corner. Inside, stairs lead down into a pit.

0CE6Mmi.png
 
 
The battle starts out cramped. A small pack of wolves accompanies the vampire, while we pop the cork on the bronze bottle we carried for so long, and Samir Ahwahl the vampire-killer efreet joins the fray on our side.
 
One of the wolves blocks the way for Alma and Szilva to the vampire. Alma kills that wolf, Szilva uses Wand of Magic Missile. Barack, who blocks the way for the efreet (sheesh, these setups...) slashes the vampire. Both mages fire a Magic Missile (Citrom's is not from a wand), the second one brings down our main target.


TnYXYhT.png

The vampire turns to a vapor cloud, and floats away. Hey, is this what they teach you in business school, to get out of sticky situations?
 
We hurry back to the chapel. Sure enough, the vampire is here, but he's weakened and alone. Sorry for ruining your bed, it's kind of a **** move (If you don't sanctify the coffin first, he comes back at full strength). Two slashes from magic swords, and the prince of the undead is no more.
 
This concludes the long, long night we spent at Valhingen Graveyard. The sun comes up, birds are chirping, and we're walking on the beach towards a happy ending. Nah, we're heading back to New Phlan for the last round of rewards.

WFxgAI9.png
 

Oh, we still remember the day when we first stood outside these halls, escorted by the blond Rolf.

 

No more commissions, everyone's just chilling. Reconquista Rejoicing, commence!

 

(One more: I'll write an epilogue-of-sorts, which reflects back on the original game when it came out and how it was to replay it in 2014.)

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Pool of Radiance: Epilogue

 


I forgot to show the box art. It's Elmore-style awesomeness.
 

972908984-00.jpg

 
 
It requires HARD DRIVE OR TWO FLOPPY DRIVES! I mean, who can afford that?!? It worked with a single floppy drive on C-64, I got off easier.
 
I can't say that this was the game that got me into RPGs, because that honor belongs to Bard's Tale 3. However, it was the first RPG that I finished -- I got stuck in BT3 in some fiendishly difficult dungeon with some extra puzzles on the side. There was a Commodore 64 games magazine called "Commodore Világ" (Világ = World, shortened to CoV) which was fond of RPGs, and they regularly published hint batches, partial or full walkthroughs for RPGs. I got much of the info on how to properly gear up and progress in PoR from CoV. Heck, I learned how DnD memorization works by sending a letter to the editors of CoV and asking for an explanation. And I got an answer: I need to rest after selecting which spells to memorize. (True story! The hurdles of playing a pirated game back in the day, without Internet at your fingertips: no manual, no journal. I learned the ins and outs of AD&D later, when I joined the tabletop group in the library.)
 
Looks
 
The graphics of the game still follow the formula set by Wizardry, the "original" graphic RPG: an isometric first person view that can be constructed from smaller bitmap and draw elements, thereby saving a lot on storage space (the truly old games didn't even store bitmaps, they drew lines real-time every time the scenery changed). The savings are obvious by looking at the PoR portraits, used by party members and some NPCs: the upper body and the head are stored separately, and the combination of the two gives you a lot of portraits that are not exactly the same. The looks of the game is par for its age (1988); Dragon Wars, which Interplay published a year later, looks better, but there were other games which came after PoR and looked worse (look in FelipePepe's upcoming free RPG yearbook for examples).

 
HauXuyT.png
 
All of the above are valid portraits. This game is so socially progressive, it allows you to be any combination of man-woman halves! :p
 
I didn't mention so far  that there is an excellent character icon editor for the tactical view. There is a huge variety of weapons to display, and all the 16-color glory of the C-64 and PC EGA can be applied to 6 different parts from head to legs, twice: one base color, one highlight/shade color. In the picture below, the arms are light green base with dark green shade, the pants cyan base with light blue shade (look at them pixels!!!! it's magnificent, the pixel artsiness!). You can use the icon editor anytime outside of combat, so you can fiddle with looks as much as you want. I matched up the icons of my characters to the portraits and gear as best as I could.
 
WBCuE0f.png?1
 
Gameplay

 

Gameplay also follows the formula of blobbers (tile-based RPGs), where things only happen if you move a tile. The menus are comfortable, the options are always at the bottom (coherent design), the highlighting of the menu keys made navigating easy (easy by '80s user interface standards...).  You can change the speed of text display. The only main gripe I have is that you can't switch between characters after you enter the inventory screen: View -- Items -- Back -- Back -- View -- Items, a total of six keypresses are required to look at a different character's inventory. Other blobbers, like the Bard's Tale engine allowed you to switch in inventory view.

 

The world map was very good for its time, it allowed you to spot some places for afar, but you still needed to search for less obvious places like the nomad camp, which had no world map icon.

 

Combat

 

The big difference from blobbers is the tactical overhead view combat. It's not as good as Temple of Elemental Evil, but it still implements a lot of things from AD&Đ:

-- The battle map is created by "magnifying" the adventuring map's tiles . This was a huge change from blobbers where there was no connection between map tiles and combat (except for maybe scripted battles). So if you find an enemy in a dead-end, like the vampire in Valhingen Graveyard, the fight will take place in a dead-end. This is pretty awesome. It's even better with an engine like the Infinity Engine or ToEE, but it was a radical upgrade for an 1988 RPG.

-- Conditions like fear, paralysis, disease, etc.

-- Area of Effect attacks with templates like in miniature games: Fireball has a radius of 3 tiles, for example.

-- Flanking attacks, including backstabs.

-- Persistent spells like Stinking Cloud or Fire Wall.

-- Environment effects in later games

-- Guarding (overwatch)

-- Line of sight restriction and maximum ranges for ranged attacks and spells

-- Item usage

-- And more

 

There is one thing that I couldn't show you with the PC version I've played, and would've needed to install a C-64/Amiga/Atari emulator to take a screenie. On those platforms, if you wait a while in the main menu without pressing a key, a gameplay demo starts which talks a bit about AD&Đ, Phlan, how to play a game like this, etc. and then shows you a demo combat:

 

Qh05LcQ.png

This screen, the sight of such detailed combat where every unit has its own icon, and even size is taken into account, and there are animations and sound effects for the different attacks like firing a bow or casting a Magic Missile -- this is what caused me to fall in love with Pool of Radiance. Look at that tall ogre, so fearsome with its spear! Look at pretty Diane, the demo-mage, blond hair flowing, wearing a purple dress with white blouse underneath, not a stock icon like in other games, sending off a spell! Nasty orks firing their bows from the rear rank with a twang!

 

THIS IS SO COOL!

 

 

Challenge
 
After Bard's Tale 3, Pool of Radiance was a welcome downgrade in challenge. In BT3, you are only allowed one save and need to reset the game to load. There is no rest outside of taverns. The Gold Box allows you to save anywhere, multiple saves, and you can at least try to rest anywhere. While the game did feature some mazes like the Sorcerer's Pyramid and difficult dungeons like Valhingen Graveyard, Bard's Tale dungeon design with its spinners, anti-magic, darkness, health-draining, mana-draining, teleporter, pit tiles and all the maddening combinations of these, plus some difficult puzzles as gravy-on-top blows the entirety of Gold Box games out of the cave. Actually, compared to other old-school games, I would call Pool of Radiance "accessible". And I'm sure it's part of the Gold Box's success: it offers challenge, but the dosages are smaller than in truly hardcore, and therefore merciless RPGs.
 
Flavor
 
The main scenario writer, Jim Ward, placed a big emphasis on fleshing out the world with details. There are dozens of small details that I left out of the chapters, for example:
-- There is a kitchen in Valjevo Castle, overlooked by a gnoll, where you can free the slaves and talk to them.
-- In the wyvern's cave, in one corner there is a dying old kobold. If you give him water, he gives you info on the kobold king.
-- Lots and lots of descriptive text.
 
Pool of Radiance, with its distinct Old Phlan blocks and world map locations feels much more "real" than the contemporary dungeon crawls (with notable exceptions like Ultima IV and Wasteland). It's a lovingly hand-crafted tabletop adventure, it's clearly "lived in" by the scenario writers and the players who played the original in tabletop. Later games in the Gold Box series struggled to provide as much detail as the original.
 
JTeb7eS.png
 

---

 

Next up: Curse of the Azure Bonds, the second part of the Pools saga.

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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That was fun.  I had actually forgotten just how much descriptive text and opportunity for non-combat interaction was in the game.  (I suspect that juvenile me took the more direct approach.)  I remembered the journal entries, but a lot of the description screenshots and conversations you posted felt new to me.  

 

I look forward to the re-visitation of Curse.  I played a lot of that one, but I don't think I got more than 60% through it.  I know I was able to get the Drow and Moander bonds off, but I remember giving up on a game while stuck in Zhentil Keep. 

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That was fun.  I had actually forgotten just how much descriptive text and opportunity for non-combat interaction was in the game.  (I suspect that juvenile me took the more direct approach.)  I remembered the journal entries, but a lot of the description screenshots and conversations you posted felt new to me.  

 

I look forward to the re-visitation of Curse.  I played a lot of that one, but I don't think I got more than 60% through it.  I know I was able to get the Drow and Moander bonds off, but I remember giving up on a game while stuck in Zhentil Keep. 

 

Thanks Enoch, I wasn't sure that anyone is still readingl this besides BruceVC. :) It takes several hours to play, capture/upload and write a chapter, I'm glad when someone drops a comment. I'm still apprehensive about finishing the later games with one cleric only, so I have a stake in the LP. We'll see.

Edited by Endrosz
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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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I love the character icons in these games.  Like you, I tried to match them as closely as possible to my character portrait and projected gear as possible.  For such an early game, the amount of customization available was really impressive.

 

Rest assured, these write ups are entertaining and appreciated.

Edited by Keyrock

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Yeah, I suspect plenty of people are reading and enjoying. I never played any of the Gold Box games though I do own PoR, but it was a recentish acquisition, so it's good to see what they were about.

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Curse of the Azure Bonds: Prologue


Pool of Radiance was always intended to be part of a longer narrative (Vol. 1 was in the title), so even without foreseeing the runaway success of PoR, sequels were planned.

I'm not sure why (Jim Ward wasn't available? timetable was too tight?), but they took an independent story that was taking place near the Moonsea, and adapted it to be Vol. 2 of the saga. That story is a book by Jeff Grubb and his wife, Kate Novak: Azure Bonds. The book is first in the Finder's Stone trilogy, more or less about a bard with strange powers called Finder Wyvernspur -- an enigmatic, eccentric, powerful figure fitting for a Planescape adventure. I loved the book trilogy, it was great for my teenage self, but the adaptation felt and still feels forced. It gave the game a great band of antagonists, I have to admit that. Curse also ended up being noticeably shorter than PoR, which is big letdown compared to other RPG serieses.

 

Below is the book cover, and it became the box art and the title screen art as well. Center is Alias, the amnesiac fighter with azure bonds on her right arm.

GfXAQo8.jpg
 

Reverent chanting: Boob chain! Boob chain! Boob chain! Boob chain! Boob chain! -- And a face that reminds adult me of a half-drunken hoe waiting for a pickup at a bar. Sorry, artist.

 

The lizardman (saurial) in the background is from another plane, and he communicates with smells. In the books this was an excellent narrative gimmick -- you read the vivid description of a smell Alias is smelling, and try to guess what it means. A minigame of sorts. The smells are consistent, they can be considered a language, and over the course of the full trilogy, you learn the basics of his smell-language. Alias calls him Dragonbait -- 24 years later, I still find this funny. His name is not Dragonbait, obviously, but no one understands saurial, so... Oh, and in AD&D terms Dragonbait is a paladin. He's got Lay on Hands, always accompanied the smell of freshly baked bread. :) If you take a look at his sword, the blade has a weird, unbalancing shape at the sharp end. There is a story about that, explained in the books, it's not the artist's invention.

 

We'll meet both of them during our adventures. Alias is the "original" bonded person, we receive the same bonds she had.

 

Engine upgrade

 

Heal up your party in PoR: Cast Cure Light Wounds a few times, the only healing spell available. Then go into the Magic/Memorize menu, input Cure Light Wounds x5, then Rest. If the rest is interrupted by monsters, fight them or flee them and then input spells to memorize again. If not, cast spells, repeat until healed. To reduce this chore, a Fix command was added to the encamp menu, which executes this exact same sequence with a single keypress. Since Fix still takes time, you can be attacked by monsters by using it just the same as resting. See, this is how you enhance a game without dumbing it down.

 

QedVf3P.png

 

 

The two-part constructed portraits are gone. This is bad, right? Well, since most of your playtime is spent on the tactical screen with icons, it's not really a big deal. In the IE games you see the portaits in exploration/combat view and on the character screen, they're important there. Here, not so much. In place of the old constructed portraits we got much more custom portraits for NPCs and monsters. All in all, it was a good change.

 

Another graphical upgrade is the half-screen cutscene images: these offer more creative freedom than the upper left square. The Dragonlance game trilogy featured a lot more of these cutscene images, but it's nice to have them here, even if just a few.

 

RVuDPzk.png

 

 

The game has magic shops, which are a very welcome addition. You couldn't even buy +1 arrows or darts in PoR to hit +1 protected mobs, or any spell for scribing, now you can buy some basic magic stuff like Wand of Magic Missile and a few spell scrolls.

 

Character advancement

 

As I've explained in one of the PoR posts, casters have a level cap of 6 in PoR, while fighters go to 8 and rogues to 9.

 

Literally the first thing one does in Curse after importing the characters and starting the game is visiting the training hall. Leveling up cuts the current XP at (next level threshold)-1, which causes the casters to lose about 100 kXP and only able to gain 2 levels instead of 3. It's something you just have to live with. Since the saga is going into epic levels with Pools of Darkness, 100 kXP is not that much. Also fresh, non-imported Curse characters are created with 25 kXP, and we're way, way above that even with the loss.

 

This gives instant access to level 4 spells. That means Cure Serious Wounds (finally!) and Neutralize Poison (finally!) on the cleric side. The mage side isn't as exciting: Fear is meh (I don't want to chase down mobs in the tactical view, it's bad enough when their morale breaks and they run away on their own...), Confusion is extremely dangerous for friendly fire (unlike with Fireball, the risk is not just damage that can be reduced with fire protection), Fumble is okay sometimes against strong mobs; Fire Shield, Minor Globe of Invulnerability, Dimension Door, Ice Storm are okay, but not great; Charm Monster is strong, but many mobs are resistant or immune to it (like the drow, one of the common enemies in Curse). No Stoneskin. Yes, the spell list is pretty abysmal compared to Baldur's Gate 2 or even Temple of Elemental Evil. It does have some good stuff, but don't count on Contingencies and Time Stops. On the plus side, enemy mages won't be Stoneskinned, there is that. This is one area, spell variety, where Baldur's Gate 2 just wins the entire universe.

 

VHVSiZm.png

 

 

Here's how the party looks like after getting rid of one bond (this is where I started writing the Let's Play, and will be catching up to very soon). The levelups in PoR were pretty disheartening; except for Szilva, everyone was rolling really bad. Citrom rolled 1s for two consecutive levelups, for example. But the Con bonus is still there, always, which helps with reducing the effect of spread. The Curse levelups, on the other hand, were just as amazing as the PoR ones were sucky. Eper looks like he's got amazing rolls on a D6 hit die, catching up to Szilva's D8 rolls, but actually he's already level 11, while the others are only level 8, so it's not that good. I won't complain, probability is what it is, it could've been worse, that's for certain.

 

There is one strange thing about Szilva. When I started re-playing PoR to capture the screens, I noticed that he had Cha 14 instead of 16 as rolled iniitally. Now I checked him in Curse, and he has a Cha of 15. I have no idea what's going on with his Charisma... Everyone else has the same stats, I checked them against the level 1 sceenshots.

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Actually, they did Curse of the Azure Bonds also as a PNP module (I happen to own a physical copy of it from back in the day). I think it was an attempt to tie in the three different mediums (pnp rpg, crpg and novels) more efficiently - while the pool of radiance novel is (iirc) pretty good, the module, ruins of adventure, blows. Curse was certainly an improved attempt on that front, IMO.

 

Also, <3 Alias ;)


You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

ahyes.gifReapercussionsahyes.gif

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Chapter 13: Are You Into Bondage?

 

Addendum

 

I checked the manual before resuming play, and forgot to mention a few upgrades. Paladins and rangers were added to the class roster. For rangers, they implemented level 1-2 Druid spells, including classics like Entangle, Faerie Fire and Barkskin. No druid class, though, which is kind of strange.

 

The new level caps are: fighters 12, cleric 10 (11 would give level 6 spells), thieves 12, mages 11.

 

Clerics can now use staff slings, thieves can use shortbows.

 

Intro video

 

 

The video contains the demo I talked about, which was missing from the PC version of PoR. The fun aspect here is that the demo fight is not scripted, it plays out as a regular fight, AI vs. AI, and it's possible that the 2 black dragons will destroy the demo party of 3. In this instance, the mage survived, but barely. :)

 

How did we get here?

 

g94PiLA.png?1

 

 

Vbmwrao.png?1

 

 

Db3GhCZ.png

 

The bonds are animated, flickering. We wonder who they belong to, these symbols?

 

Narancs: -- I daresay these blue imprints are malicious in nature.

Szilva: -- Fantastic observation. Look, here's my clenched fist, lean close to tell me all about it. Oh, it tried to punch you, I wonder what's gotten into it? By the way, one of the symbols is a variant of Bane's. It's probably the personal sigil of a high ranking priest of Bane.

Citrom: -- I liked the part where we got overpowered by unseen men and sedated and carried away. Except the similar themed parties I've been in don't leave you perma-tattooed and stripped of all possessions in a dump like this. There are... rules, you know.

Eper: -- *cuts deep, removes a little piece of skin* Aaaargh... it doesn't help! This isn't just a tattoo, it stayed the same! It's a magical bond! Someone's got to pay for this. Dearly.

Barack:  -- This is like the body paintings we did for fun when I was a young girl. But it looks better, so professional! And it doesn't hurt at all! I just don't like the shapes, they're so last millennium.

Alma: -- Look on the bright side, friends, we've still got our lives. And for some reason, our captors left us a large sum of money.

Eper: -- *spits* A fraction of what we had. Wish I've put my wealth into a bank deposit, back in Phlan.

Alma: -- And this from someone who's always telling us that banks are legalized robbers. Get a move on, everyone.

 

The innkeeper greets us, she's very uncomfortable.

 

0bXkYpM.png

 

She says we were being carried here by men in red robes, who claimed they found us in a near-death state along the road. We already had the blue tattoos. They paid for lodging, then left without leaving contact info.

 

We hear pitiful moaning from the next room, and we can't resist taking a glance. Anything to get a grip on our situation.

 

M6aVkbO.png?1

 

 

Plants that walk, that's a good one. We'll leave you to your nightmares.

 

As we leave the Windlord's Inn (the sign said so), we overhear someone claiming to have heard a woman's scream, coming from the sewers below. We sense that the people of Tilverton are tense, the air is vibrating with stress. What's the story, mates?

 

TD3IwI0.png

 

Nothing better to calm an adventurer's soul than to get geared. It's appalling, carrying mundane plate mails and morning stars, no magical defenses for the mages, no rings of various wonders, no wands of wanton destruction. But it's still gear, and gear is the cure for all kinds of adventurers' ailments. The mood brightens after we leave the shop.

 

We collect some other rumors as we're walking up on the main street of Tilverton. The Temple of Gond the Wonderbringer fills the western half of the town's center, and we enter on a whim. Priests know a lot about many, right?

 

5S75mvt.png

 

We explain our plight, and ask for an audience with the high priest. The audience is granted.

 

f8UNwA8.png

 

The abbot's ritual causes our bonds to flare up, and streaks of blue light arc across the room. Everyone writhes in pain, cries of anguish are heard. When the ritual is done, the bonds are unharmed.

 

Eper: -- What have you done? Are you trying to kill us? I swear...

Alma: -- *grabs Eper by the shoulder, and hisses into his ear* Calm down, you idiot. Throw a tantrum to amuse the street kids, not here.

Szilva: -- Abbot Brannan, we thank you most sincerely for your gracefully offered intervention, unsuccessful though it might have been.

Abbot: -- I'm sorry, my children, but these are beyond my means and comprehension. Ask the sage Filani, who lives across the town square, about the symbols. She might give you clues about how to deal with the bonds. Go with Gond, may he put the right gears in motion in your life.

 

What better way to wash away the memory of pain than getting pissed? A big tavern is right across the road, the sign says... "The Curse". That's a cruel joke right now, but we can take it, just let the tankards be filled.

 

mrbxz9W.png

 

Eper: -- *punches the barkeep*

Alma: -- What is wrong with you today? Need a puss_y or something?

Eper: -- *draws his sword with a wry smile* Fresh blades need testing, no?

 

bgYgFd0.png

 

Yep, we still got it. Although the casters have no spells memorized, our veteran fighters make mincemeat out of the brawlers. Sorry for all the blood, barkeep, next time just take the insult, mkay?

 

In this fight, the darts from the mages and the arrows from the thief are used to 'mop up' enemies with just a few HP left after the frontline attacks. I'll be using them this way throughout the game. Curse has amped up the HP of enemies, obviously, and just a single Fireball won't instantly win battles.

 

 

c8Dbhp1.png

 

We hear a commotion from the side street where the woman went. When we get there, takes less than a minute, no one is in sight, which is strange. But there is a curiously shaped knife planted in the wall.

 

DPs97s5.png?1

 

 

Narancs: -- This looks eerily similar to the fourth bond... A flaming knife.

Citrom: -- I suppose... it does. You might not be useless, after all!

Narancs: -- As if my fireballs are somehow less scorching than yours. Keep talking, sister, that's the only thing you're better at than me.

 

Besides the knife, the place is empty. Eper is embarrassed, he suspects there is some secret entrance or portal nearby, but can't find it.

 

The sage Filani is our next stop. She's not your typical reclusive researcher...

 

 

B0UyCqv.png

 

Eper: -- Ahahaha! We lost all our wealth to mysterious highway robbers, and now we're being robbed gently of what little was left to us! This is the worst day of my life.

Alma: -- I... We... That's a lot you're asking for. We're in a most unfortunate situation, can't you be more sympathetic to our cause?

Filani: -- Take it or leave it, I won't change my offer.

Alma: -- We have...

Eper: -- We have, after spending most of our funds on weapons, armor, food, proper clothing, horses, et cetera, a total of 84 gold pieces. Half of that is, erhm, 42.

Filani: -- You're lying. Get ouf of here.

Eper: -- How do you...

Filani: -- *smiles like a mother explaining something her child* People think evocation magic, with its flashy fireballs and lightining bolts, is the most powerful of magicks. They are wrong, but I'm content to leave them in their wrong minds. Divination magic, which includes the power to detect lies, is a harmless hobby of old sorceresses, right? Now, are willing to give me half your funds? I promise, the knowledge you get in return is worth it.

 

(I'm seizing this opportunity to tell about how the magic schools' balance is so vastly different in tabletop. Divination magic, which can tell you where an object is hidden, reveal illusions and shapeshifting, detect lies, alignments, traps, invisibility, show you the way to somewhere, scry a place safely from afar, and tons of other utility, is one of the best "adventuring" school of magic. What good is a fireball when you're lost in a maze? You can kill yourself with it, haha.)

 

yKCk6Br.png

 

That was worth it, this Filani is not a con artist.

 

Szilva: -- I was wrong about the hand symbol, it isn't of Bane. Moander, the dead god of creeping green doom? Now I wish it was a Baneite sigil.

Alma: -- I should've recognized the Z. We've even visited Zhentil Keep.

Narancs: -- It's not like that Z is on display anywhere. We know the Zhentarim runs the Keep, but they play it innocent.

Citrom: -- *yawns* I'm tired. This was a long day. Let's get back to the inn.

 

The next day, spells at the ready, we awaken to the sounds of a large crowd. We hurriedly pack our belongings and leave the inn. The crowd is divided by the road, and we quickly learn that the royal carriage will pass soon through Tilverton, carrying his majesty the King of Cormyr, Azoun the 4th. Some people rise to infamy by becoming Kingslayers, we're okay with being Kingwatchers.

 

Royal guards are coming in first. "Make way for the King!" And then something very, very wrong happens...

 

3C19HWi.png

 

 

lRZzAem.png

 

"Not really the King?" "Not again?" What's going on here? But there's no time ask questions, as the royal guards are upon us, while we are compelled to attack by the azure bonds.

 

DJy2Ea0.png

 

Honestly? King Azoun the 4th, your guards are kind of lacking. No magical backup either, that's a must for a shadowrunner party royal entourage.

 

A Stinking Cloud and a Hold Person is enough to ensure a swift victory. We catch sight of two red robed men, who haul out the poor body double fellow out of the carriage, and drag him away. Damn these bonds, we couldn't not fight!

 

Alma: -- I can't believe this is happening... I'm a murderer.

 

More guards approach, and ask for surrender. The bonds fade, and we gladly accept defeat. This day isn't shaping up to be nice... We're thrown into jail.

 

lyc0Brt.png

 

 

As we are led through dark, twisted passages, we wonder: branded as criminals after losing most of our wealth, can this get any worse?

Edited by Endrosz
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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Also, <3 Alias ;)

Yes.  Markie Post Alias was a favourite of mine, too.  Alas for my young and impressionable hormones in the middle 80's.

 

I'd just like to chime in as well, though.  I've been reading (and enjoying) this little blast from the past immensely.  I played these games to death growing up, and then raised them necromantically so that I could play them to dust.  After that it was just a simple matter to sweep them up and glue them back together again for a few more playthroughs.  At the time, the graphics were great, the adventures better than almost anything else I'd seen, AND they were ADnD, a system which, had my older brother not been the douche that he was, a system I might have had much fun with, tabletop-wise.  Alas, douche he was, and so to play tabletop with him was to be relegated to being mugged, beaten, left for dead in a stable, eating grubs for food, and then inevitably dying due to some foul illness I'd contracted from sleeping in amongst the pigs, after it having been determined that the stable was too good for my now-crippled-for-life adventurer.  These games actually offered SUCCESS!  GLORY!  RICHES!  So cool.  And they were coded simply enough that, even if it didn't really mean anything in the grand scheme of things, I could import my previous party's equipment with just a little basic hex editing.  I loved my Longsword +2 "Flame Tongue" from PoR, as well as the Silver Plate Mail.  Sure, there was better around, but... SILVER ARMOR!

 

Thanks for doing this, Endrosz.  Looking forward to the next installment(s).

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Ah, Alias.  The thing I most remember about her from when I played this back in the day, besides CLEAVAGE (I has in my early teens at the time, what do you expect?), was that she had 17s across the board for stats, which is obviously hella good.  Also, besides the ridiculous cleavage chain, at least she had sensible pauldrons (spaulders?), rather than the RIDICULOUSLY ENORMOUS SPIKEY PAULDRONS that are all the rage these days.

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Alas, douche he was, and so to play tabletop with him was to be relegated to being mugged, beaten, left for dead in a stable, eating grubs for food, and then inevitably dying due to some foul illness I'd contracted from sleeping in amongst the pigs, after it having been determined that the stable was too good for my now-crippled-for-life adventurer.

 

Ouch, that sounds painful. crying.gif The hex editing, clap-clap, sir. I high school, I knew how to program in Basic, but didn't know squat about machine code or how integers are stored.

 

Thanks for the kind words, I'm having fun writing it.

 

Keyrock: I've said it in some other thread about PoE art, but Elmore's art direction for AD&D was a great mix of artistic license and realism. Touches of fantastic with lines of believable and colors of inspiring, but not outlandish. And Baldur's Gate art was still built with those directions in mind, the guy left a lasting legacy.

 

NK6UzVi.jpg


The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Chapter 14: Seweriously?



The room we are escorted to is a large hall. A burly man with a number of bodyguards welcomes us, and offers us to rest here. We take the chance to heal up and memorize again.


5Xw81Nj.png
 
Szilva: -- You mean Princess Nacacia is here, in the sewers? That was the original reason we set out to Cormyr, to find her and claim the king's reward. It feels like it happened in a previous life...
Barack: -- We might meet the princess here? I can ask her about dressing elegantly for combat, she's known for being tomboyish!
Alma: -- Our first concern is to get out of Tilverton. Princess Nacacia is a known troublemaker. I expect our situation to get worse if we try to find her.
Guild Leader: -- Well, the way out of here and the way to the Princess is kind of the same. The Fire Knives have inflitrated our guild and kidnapped her. They're on the other end of the sewer tunnels. Here's a map to find your way.
 
A group of red robed men burst into the room. Probably from the same group that brought us here after the bonding. "Seize them", says the leader, looking at us.
THjgCyS.png

In this battle, a number of thieves fight on our side. But except for the two robed Fire Knives, they look exactly the same as the enemy...
 
Narancs: -- *chanting the words of a spell*
Alma: -- Wait, don't!
Narancs: -- *casts Fireball into the middle of the crowd* Thieves are good at evasion, right?

In this battle, we really feel the loss of magic armor we acquired in Phlan. Vanilla Plate Mail, as all heavy armor, allows 6 Movement Points,  +1 and +2 allows for 9, and starting from +3, you get back your full 12 MP, assuming you're not overloaded. In Curse, the fights are more spacious than in PoR, and 6 MP is often limiting. We can switch to bow and fire arrows, but it's less damage and we lose the shield's protection for counterattacks. (And it's a pain in the ass to switch weapons in the Gold Box.)
 
The guildmaster receives a fatal wound from an arrow, and urges us to go after Nacacia and rescue her before dying. These thieves are surely British in origin (maybe planeswalkers?) to have such a peculiar loyalty to the Crown.
 
In the next room:

ngCELGC.png

Eper: -- My kind of girl.
Szilva: -- What kind of thieves' guild has a guestbook?
Citrom: -- Maybe they were running a tourist attraction as a side business. "You can be a thief hiding in the shadows for a weekend, safety guaranteed! Grand adventure in the sewers, or your money back!".
 
Moving forward, we spot a halfling woman sliding out of a room, carrying a harp.
 
Eper: -- My girl! We must follow her!
Barack: -- She was so cute! Halfling women are like living dolls!
Alma: -- Meanwhile, in Saneland, the group presses on to get out of the trouble they're in.
 
Alma doesn't even finish, when we hear dog growls coming from a side room. The pack is released by a Fire Knife.

v5C675P.png

The next corridor has a door that is exceptionally sturdy. Eper's locksmithing skill doesn't help either, but Citrom has a Knock spell as a last resort, as always.

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This is our favorite event. We treasure it so much:
 
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HtlTFfD.png
 
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HtlTFfD.png
 
HtlTFfD.png
 
The first hoard we loot in our new adventures has a deep red ioun stone (increases Dex), a long sword +1, banded mail +1, potions, 2 mage scrolls. The + items are easy to find even without Detect Magic or identifying in a shop, because you can check the THAC0 or AC. Szilva gets the ioun stone, him and Barack have "only" 17 Dex. Citrom has a Read Magic in the standard loadout, and the scroll-haul is pretty good:
 
c37KPWP.png
 
This allows Narancs to finally learn Magic Missile. Feeblemind requires another level.
 
We move south, the map shows that's where the sewer entrance is. There are sounds of fighting coming from here and there, the Fire Knives are clashing with the loyal thieves. The exit is not far, but it's hidden, it requires Eper's eyes to be noticed.

JhJsWH6.png
 
This translates to 3 MP for every character. It's a big handicap for the frontliners, but spells fly just as well over the muck as anywhere else.

Looking around in a battle's aftermath, we find a piece of paper.

m8TedQk.png
 
Narancs: -- Now hang on a second. This is clearly about the alliance who's responsible for our bonds. We already have solid leads on four out of five.There is this T, and the symbol Filani was unfamiliar with looks like a burning something. Could it be?...
Szilva: -- It could. I don't want it to be, but it could.
 
As we cautiously slog through the sewers, Barack notices a purple cloth hanging overhead from a closed trapdoor. We hear a tavern's murmur from above. It doesn't take much brains to figure out -- this is where the princess was captured, she was the purple-dressed woman we saw. We're below the Curse, where Eper punched the barkeep.
 
The game tells me that only a thief has a chance of retrieving it. WHAT IS THIS CLASS DISCRIMINATION? FIGHTERS ARE PEOPLE, TOO! Everyone is capable of everything, to say anything to the contrary is prejudice!
 

 

E56Vpac.png
 
Some other minor events happen along the path we take.

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Narancs: -- *uses his dagger to sever the arm* It's for research.
Barack: -- Stay away from me! The stench in this place is making me sick even without your disgusting hobbies. Why does it always have to be sewers? Why can't we have an adventure in a beautiful garden, with trimmed bushes and flower beds?
Alma: -- Make sure you file a complaint with the authorities.
 
Rats the size of large dogs scurry past us. They don't attack, just exit quickly.
 
Barack: -- In my mind, I'm imagining that we're in the princess's garden, and I've just seen her favorite dogs rush by.

C2dIRQx.png
 
Narancs: -- This is so exciting. I've never had the opportunity to watch troll regeneration in a controlled environment before!
Eper: -- *kicks around the pieces* There might be treasures they have digested!
Citrom: -- It gives me ideas for my next costume...
Alma: -- One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork. BURN THEM, MORONS!
 
We're pretty far into the sewers when we find never before seen foes.


ND5xmBj.png
 
Barack: -- *gags, drops her morningstar* I... can't...
Narancs: -- *casts Ice Storm with Barack inside it* Chill out, sister! I'll freeze your nostrils, that'll help!

Hf0rrYr.png

This is the first actually challenging fight in the game. Otyughs have multiple attacks, good to-hit, 40 HP, AC 2, and they have decent saves too. Two out of three otyughs saves against Stinking Cloud (I think they should be immune to it, honestly, given their ecology). In such a close fight, Fireballs are not really useful. As you can see, Barack is down to 14 HP with 4 enemies still standing. Szilva casts Cure Serious on her, then the mages fling Magic Missiles, and just when the situation is getting dire, the remaining two otyughs surrender.
 
Barack: -- No, we don't want your filth as compensation! LEAVE US ALONE!
 
The otyughs' room looks like a safe place to rest. We need it, but the smell is as offensive as ever... Adventurers can't be choosers.
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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Further south, another otyugh-filled room. But this time, we get to "talk" to them.

 

2c7P1iq.png

 

Note: If you choose to "Attack", there are exactly a dozen neo-otyughs here, which can easily destroy the party. The gear we have, basic shop equipment for the most part, is not enough to survive them.

 

oevhgi0.png

 

The place we are sent to offers a much easier battle.

 

S3XkPOd.png

 

Just a single neo-otyugh, still deals a lot of damage before going down. The stuff we need to take back is, well...

 

Barack: -- No shiny is worth this.

Eper: -- I've done worse things to get valuables than carrying a pile of ****.

Barack: -- It's all yours, then. I'll be walking upwind. If anyone tells this story in a tavern, I'll deny I ever knew you.

 

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Eper: -- Gems, rings, brooches, necklaces, armbands, earrings. My lifeforce is returning, so happy...

 

oshtoOb.gif

 

There is a series of empty rooms. As we walk south on a long corridor...

 

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Some conflict between the Bonding Alliance? That could only benefit us.

 

Sounds are heard from a room next to the symbols. Inside, trolls are tossing meat to a pack of crocodiles they apparently keep as pets.

 

XUXYL0P.png

 

Who you gonna call? No, no the Ghostbusters, that was for the library in Phlan.

 

 

The next room has sneaky trolls, who surprise us.

 

n8QHTpv.png

 

This battle is easy, just 4 trolls. The loot is great here: bracers AC 4 (Eper's leather armor is like a bracers AC 8, for comparison), pink and green ioun stone (Cha +1), girdle of dwarves (Con+, Cha-), flail +1, staff sling +1.

 

(Pool of Radiance had a Manual of Bodily Health, in the library. But it doesn't work, at least in the versions I played. It does nothing. This girdle, however, is even worse: it seems to work, but it causes HP to be recalculated, and that lowered Alma's HP by about 40.)

 

The troll lair is another safe place. As we progress south on the long corridor, we overhear sounds coming behind a wall. A search reveals a secret door, and behind it...

 

8JZ5t5N.png

 

 

This secret training facility was added mostly for new parties which start out with 25 kXp and received enough XP by now for a level-up. We're not there yet, level 9/12 needs more, but it's still nice to find allies.

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Haha.  That's one thing that I really missed about playing the old Gold Box games:  Sometimes they give you the opportunity to really screw yourself over.  Room full of Otyugh -- the ones that want to bargain -- is a good example, though there's an even better fight later on in this game (Hint:  Throw caution to the wind.  Go for the gold!).  With enough rules-lawyering they are do-able, even the later one, but... haha.  Good luck with them.

 

FWIW, though, the Manual of Bodily Health in PoR DID work, in my version of the game at least, but there were a few oddities associated with it.  When I used it on a character, it said that so-and-so "started reading", and that it took a few days of in-game time for the effect of the book to actually kick in.  Also, it didn't yield the now-expected +1 con and the associated retroactively allocated hitpoints.... not exactly, anyway.  I think I only got 1 HP out of it for my level 8 fighter, and I honestly can't recall with certainty what effect it had on the character's CON.  I -think- it had the +1 effect (ie. 18 went to 19), but I'm no longer sure of that.  All I really remember is my reaction of "was that IT?!" after seeing what it did.  Maybe the CON bonus never appeared... that seems more likely to me now.

Anyway... back to our regularly scheduled programming....

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The Curse cover is by Clyde Caldwell, not Larry Elmore, though.


You're a cheery wee bugger, Nep. Have I ever said that?

ahyes.gifReapercussionsahyes.gif

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Chapter 15: The Priest and the Princess and the Assassin and the Mimic and the King and the Wizard and the Four Masters


HlyoxK6.png

2yyJvlK.png
 
 
Eper: -- My allegiance is to His Majesty the Loot.
Szilva: -- That's the sign of the Knights of Myth Drannor. What are they doing here?
Citrom: -- I've heard a rumor that the princess is involved with them. We should probably stick with her as patron. We do have an interest in rescuing her, no?
Alma: -- We're here to free captured princess of Cormyr, Nacacia. We're following the trail of the captors, and already killed many of the them.
 
9bDE2AS.png
 
The exit from the sewers is ahead, a door leads into an underground compound with proper walls, benches, tables, and so on.
 
Barack: -- *throws away the cloth she put in front of her nose* Where is the bathroom?
 
The first room contains another Fire Knives checkpont, all of them are dead, third degree burns. Someone's doing a hell of a job of exterminating them...

5jX0Y8f.png
 
Alma: -- No, no, this is where you don't get to be stupid and get yourself killed! This is where we wait here safely until it expires.
Barack: -- But what if doesn't expire? Maybe it's a spectacle for children?
Citrom: -- For children like you.
 
EcehoSZ.png
 
 
Citrom: -- Ah, magic as an art form. Sometimes, I pay drunks at the worst dock taverns to be my subjects. I like this cleric lover of Nacacia, he's got style.
Alma: -- *putting a sword point to the throat of one of the released men* Speak! What happened here?
Fire Knife: -- We got him here... terrible... terrible...
Szilva: -- We must hurry, our incidental ally is captured!
 
 
9xhAmST.png
 
Citrom: -- Heh, someone's picky. Worried that your zombies won't look good?
 
B0oucuX.png
The battle is an annoying missfest for the frontline. To conserve spells (we're in enemy territory, with no safe resting), a single Stinking Cloud is used, but they're lucky with the saves. It tells a lot that the most damage is dealt by Eper with his shortbow.
OJOAymB.png

They're engrossed in their "work", and we get the drop on them.
 
Citrom: -- We must free him! That well-toned body, mmmmh....
 
During the battle, which starts at a distance, we use a Fireball and we catch most of them inside. This one goes smooth.

H1lGvVK.png

Citrom: -- You're Gharri of Gond, aren't you? I've heard so many great things about you, you're a legend!
Gharri: -- Thanks... I need... water.
Citrom: -- Here, I'll help you drink it, you're still weak.
Gharri: -- Thank you, yours was a very timely rescue.
Citrom: -- So it's a date?
 
Gharri is too weak to come with us, we give him his hammer and move on. We're entering office space, the furniture gets more civilized.
 
69rwUeB.png
 
Sounds good.
 
In an ornate office, in a rosewood desk's drawer, we find interesting notes.

WI1TwMQ.png
 
Szilva: -- Oh no, please no. We just banished him, two months ago! It's not fair!
Narancs: -- Villains cheat on their rolls.
 
The local library (quite the operation they had here, these Fire Knives) is burned to ashes. A dead body's hand escaped the flames, gripping a piece of paper...
 
kZtehWu.png
 
Szilva: -- Yes, yes, I get it. He said he will be back, and now he is.
alma: -- We kicked his ass once, we can do it one more time.
Szilva: -- I must remind you, without Bane's intervention, we would all be dead by now, one of us possessed by T. We were essentially saved by an evil god. That's the best joke of my life as a cleric of Lathander.
Eper: -- Does that make Bane our buddy? Should we brofist his clerics when we find them?
Szilva: -- Best joke, I said. It's a killer joke, it suits Bane's tastes.
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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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7vgCYYn.png

Alma: -- No mercy killings. But we should ask them a few question.

 

There is a lot of moaning about a hammer-wielding fanatic calling down torrents of fire, conjuring swarms of blades, and other dreadful spells. Citrom is even more impressed with Gharri, however slim her chances of snatching him from Nacacia's grip are (but she's the kind of woman who's thrilled by a challenge like this). We learn that the leader has two captives. Princess Nacacia, here we come!

 

6olhEC6.png

 

Narancs: -- At least it's not a voodoo doll.

 

The armory is unguarded. Clearly, the Fire Knives are in disorder. We get our hands on a necklace of missiles (Eper's favorite), elfin chain mail (this one's also his), long sword +1 flame-tongue (pretty good stuff, +4 against undead), long sword +3 frost brand (oh yeah), mace +2, flail +2, and a bracers which turns out to be cursed.

 

Narancs: -- You're lucky the elves made that chain mail form-fitting. Otherwise, we'd have to carve you up a bit to make it fit...

Barack: -- Why does he get the nice and fashionable armor? I'm walking here all day in an uncomfortable plate mail, made to fit a burly man, hiding the nice curves of my body that I'm taking care of with callanetics and yoga! I've always dreamed about wearing elven fashion armor, it's such a classic!

Alma: -- I like to be alive at the end of the day. And heavy armor is the best bet for that. Maybe we'll find an elven plate mail in the ruins of Myth Drannor...

Citrom: -- Sure, with a gift card saying "For Barack, by the long-dead elven smiths of M.D.".

 

The last checkpoint before the leader's room has living guards. No, we don't surrender them. An ice storm and a hold person is used in the battle.

 

Before we step into the final challenge, we buff up with everything: shield and mirror image for the mages, bless and prayer, and heal up a bit.

68k0eFo.png

 

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Citrom: -- This Nacacia is a total badass. I have strong competition, yipee!

 

The battle is on. So much red! The back ranks contain a mage.

 

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For a start, Eper hits the mage with his shortbow, and then we go all-out, friendly-frying Barack as usual. Now that we're not conserving, Fire Knives fall pretty fast.

 

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The leader is forced to remove our bonds. There is animation showing the bond's fade. It's a welcome sight.

 

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Narancs: -- What a show-off, this Vangerdahast. Blowing off the roof to make an entry? We could've been killed by the debris!

Citrom: -- You're just jealous he can do Big Boom, but you can't. Size matters, you know.

 

Later, outside of town:

Citrom: -- Oooh, there goes my prince! I can do so much more for you, Gharri, just give me the chance!

Alma: -- This is an outrage. Instead of a reward for destroying the Fire Knives and saving two important people, we are banned from the country. We are innocent, and the king knew that.

Szilva: -- *shrugs* The king is the law. You're a country girl, you were raised by honest, hard-working folks sticking to the rules, you have no idea how the law is bent in more "civilized" places. Be thankful for the banishment, it could've been worse.

Alma: -- ...

 

We make camp to rest after this exhausting gauntlet. Barack is on watch.

 

kntGl7d.png

 

(Thanks to all of this happening as an uninterruptible sequence, and me saving over the wrong saves, I had to scoop the nightmare shots from a YouTube video. If anyone's still missing the jagged edges on the text, now you've got it! wink.png )

 

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Everyone: -- Well, thanks Barack! We all lost our sleep because of you!

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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