Monday, January 18, 2016

Disciples of Steel: Tactical Magic

My mage consults her spellbook.
Until the advent of open-world games that seamlessly integrate exploration, stealth, and combat, I can't think of a single game that I'd consider truly "tactical" that didn't have a reasonably complex magic system. You can offer all the attack and parrying options that you want, but a good selection of spells more than quadruples your tactical options in the typical RPG. Without the tactical considerations involved in spell-casting (and spell conservation), Wizardry would be one of the most boring games imaginable. In Buck Rogers, we saw how the Gold Box's otherwise-excellent tactical interface was a lot more bland and tedious without magic.

(A game without spells could offer a lot of tactics related to the use of terrain, including objects in the terrain, or inventory items that stand in the place of spells. I just don't think we've seen a lot of examples of either yet.)

Yet as much as I prize good spell systems, I also tend to be a bit lazy about them. In a game with a system of any complexity, it takes an absurd amount of effort to learn, through extensive trial and error, which spells work best in which situations. With D&D games, the effort is worthwhile because the knowledge carries to dozens of titles; with standalone titles like Disciples, the effort is harder to justify.

Thus, I routinely discover, after having played a game I thought was difficult, that I had overlooked one or two spells that would have made it much easier. (In the case of Disciples of Steel, anyone who doesn't quickly discover the value of "Power Word: Stun" is making things much more difficult for himself.) In my attempt to catalog the value of various spells in the Gold Box series, I discovered numerous things I never knew--and I've been playing these games my entire life.

I caught myself doing it again with Disciples of Steel. As your spellcasting characters develop their skills in essence, karma, and power, more and more spells become available, but instead of truly investigating them, I had been leaning heavily on just four of them: my illusionist's "Power Word: Stun," my mage's "Magic Bolt," and my priest's "Bind Wounds" and "Searing Hands." Fairly recently, I've been getting some use out of my mage's "Fireball," but in general I hadn't even cast 80% of the spells available.
My priest heals a compatriot.
Part of the reason is that by allowing you to channel a varying number of points into each spell, early-level spells remain relevant well into the game. If I put 20 points into "Magic Bolt" or "Searing Hands," it's an instant-kill for most foes--but my characters can only cast a couple of these before needing to re-charge. Blasting the strongest enemy on the field with "Power Word: Stun" is such an obvious tactic that the game might as well have made it automatic. It's the only way I've been able to survive against certain foes like giants.

You can see the roots of the Wizard's Crown magic system in Disciples, but overall the game did a good job going in its own direction. Wizard's Crown had "karma" and "power" as the primary skills for priests and mages, respectively, but Disciples adds an illusionist class, assigns "power" to him, and creates a third skill called "essence" for mages. Wizard's Crown didn't allow you to vary the power of the spells (although the next SSI RPG, Shard of Spring, did), and in general, the spell list offered by Disciples is much larger and original. In Wizard's Crown, for instance, priests had only 8 prayers and none of them were offensive; in Disciples, they have 20 spells, and many of them are powerfully offensive (although you don't get most until higher levels).

Nialphe finds a good place for a "Fireball."
Thus, for this posting and for my own edification, I spent a significant amount of time in an orc outpost, where the random combats weren't overly difficult, testing every spell available to me. I put the individual results at the end of this posting for anyone who cares about that level of detail.
In general, I discovered a handful of mage spells I wasn't getting enough use of, including one that would have greatly reduced overland travel time, which is vital to a game with a time limit. I decided I was over-using my priest's single offensive spell to the exclusion of what should have been her real role--running around and healing damage before characters went unconscious or got killed. As for my illusionist, though--I'm not sure I'm convinced that "Power Word: Stun" shouldn't be the only spell he ever casts.
The best way to deal with a high-powered foe like this is just to remove him from the equation with "Power Word: Stun." You just have to make sure you cast it at a high enough power to stun him for enough turns.
Late in this session, I discovered two spell-related things that make a huge difference in gameplay:
1. A couple of shops sell magic mushrooms that restore spell points. You can eat them in the middle of combat for a recharge. This is huge--game-changing, really. Before the mushrooms, I could easily deplete my entire stock of spell points in a single combat round. They're expensive, but well-worth the money. In fact, the existence of these mushrooms almost redeems the game's economy.
2. Apparently, your list of spells is restricted not just by how many points you have in the associated skill but also how many points you have in the associated attribute. By goofing around and creating a halfling mage, I've ensured that she'll never get all the spells in the game because her max "intelligence" will never be high enough.
These mushrooms make a huge difference, although they're confusing. "Sprit" mushrooms are actually for mages while "Manna" are for priests and "Creauen" are for illusionists.
In plot terms, I've accomplished a lot since the last post. I was eager to finish visiting the capital cities of the land and see what quests the lords had for me while simultaneously clearing up my existing quest board from the cities I'd already visited.

Many of the lords' quests are intertwined, and one of the oddities of the game is that you can't deliver an item from one lord to another until the second lord asks for it. For instance, the leader of Serbia gave me a potion for the leader of Constantium, but I can't just walk up and give it to the leader of Constantium. Instead, I have to clear enough of Constantium's quests until I finally get to the one where he asks for it.

Anyway, here's a quick rundown of where I've been:

Farnus is the most powerful kingdom in Lanathor, ruled by the benevolent (perhaps overly-benevolent) King Leonidas Krassus. They are at war with Serbia over a mineral-rich river and are hoping to ally with Constantium, but Farnus's emissaries to that country keep going missing. The game starts near Farnus, so Krassus's quests are the ones most likely for a new party to encounter. In previous posts I had followed his instructions to find a survivor of the Battle of Unthar in Teal, to take a tribute to the pirate king of Teal, and killed a leader of orc raiders. In this session, I finally finished his next quest: killing the leader of some Rathadon raiders who had been killing the emissaries. His next quest was to find a party that had been shipwrecked on an uncharted isle containing the "ancient holy city of Terine." I found the party and retrieved a seal from their bodies, but the city itself was too difficult for me at this point. Farnus's next quest was to retrieve something called Thyra's Cross from the city, but I'll have to level up first.

A nice image to accompany this quest.
Tobruk is the kingdom of dwarves, led by Firbin "Flaming" RedForge. It is underground but has an outpost, Hollengard, on the surface. When I visited in a previous session, Firbin asked me to find the missing half of the Hammer of Balen, in possession of an orc tribe. I had found the dungeon too difficult the first time I visited, but in this session I completed it (and did most of my spell experimentation there). Solving this quest was necessary to untangle a bunch of other questlines that you'll read about below.
The final battle of this dungeon started the most difficult foe on the other side of a door he couldn't fit through. This made the ensuing combat much easier.
Rathadon, led by the dictator Krighton Krigg, seems to be the primary antagonist of the game. "Citizens live under the iron fist of Krigg's rule," the manual says, and "the penalty for any crime in Rathadon is always the same: a slow death." I visited Rathadon during this session and walked down a row of crucified corpses to Krigg.
Krigg asked me to retrieve a "gift of peace" from Denias for him. This quest isn't solvable until I do more for Denias (which means doing more for Tobruk first), but I'm not sure I even want to help this guy. I decided to attack the palace and see if I could assassinate him, thus investigating this dynamic for the first time. The game took me to a combat in the middle of the palace corridors in which dozens of guards quickly slaughtered me. I guess I'll have to save that for later.
This did not end well.
Delinor is the island realm of elves. Despite the manual's claim that human's aren't allowed in the capital city of Aragual, and no human has ever seen the 1000-year-old elf king, I was able to waltz in without trouble--although the city is ringed by a forest containing frequent combats with "living trees" that I was never able to defeat. I could barely even hit them. I had to flee and reload a lot.
These guys are a nightmare.
Anyway, Lord Rondel Ralen Ford asked me to help cure a blight by finding an herb called "julip" on the mainland. It took a bit of wandering, but I eventually found it. He then had me retrieve Webill Root from near Farnus, which also took a lot of wandering.
I had to march in patterns through the forest, and I ended up having to do it twice.
Finally, he asked me to take a new strain of wheat, "that will grow in any climate," to the people of Serbia as a gift, "so they will no longer be at mercy to the desert." Upon return from that quest, he asked me to take a supply of food to Constantium, which is suffering from a famine, but finishing this quest is held up by the interlocking Constantium/Denias/Tobruk questlines.
The elf lord is a pretty nice guy.
Constantium is a highly-organized country struggling with waning power. Lord Marwell Romanus rules from the capital of Pallasade and has grand designs about bringing a "new world order" to Lanathor. When I visited for the first time in this session, he asked me to retrieve a tribute from Denias, but I wasn't able to get anywhere with the questline until I did more for Denias, which required doing more for Tobruk first.
You'd think a ruler obsessed with order would wear a shirt.
Denias is the weakest of the kingdoms, partly because of geography: it lies in the center of the continent and has enemies on all sides. The "weak and plotting" Euthor Enning and his family rule from Cartha. I had visited in a previous session and got a quest to retrieve some mithril from the dwarves in Tobruk, but apparently I needed to solve some of the Tobruk quests first.

Sessnera is the southwest island, ruled by the pirate king Thelig Rathbone in the capital of Teal. It's not recognized by the other nations as a true kingdom, but most of them pay piracy insurance to Rathbone. For him, I retrieved a tribute from King Krassues in Farnus, cleared an infestation of bats from a tower, killed a medusa in the southeast of his island, retrieved a chest he'd buried years ago on the DeMatan coast, found a mate for his parrot, and got rid of a DeMatan sword he'd been carrying around. I wasn't able to finish his next quest to clear out a thieves' guild because the dungeon was too hard when I first visited.

Serbia is a desert in the northern part of the continent. Its capital, Kitari, lies near an oasis and is ruled by Thornet Rel Torrin. Serbians are highly honor-focused and revel in combat. They are at war with Farnus over a rich delta that would allow them to develop agriculture and mineral trade. I first visited when I brought Delinor's strain of wheat, but he didn't want it at first. Instead, just like with Delinor, he sent me on a series of herb-gathering quests, including the same two damned herbs that Delinor had asked me for. I could have saved myself a lot of walking if I'd just picked up two plants on the first visits. Anyway, after three of those quests, he finally took the wheat from Delinor and gave me a "cure for the Green Blight" to take to Constantium. That quest is now held up because I need to solve enough of the Tobruk quests to solve enough of the Denias quests to solve the first Constantium quest.
Why does everyone want to help Constantium so much?
DeMata is the only kingdom ruled by a woman, the sultry and powerful Valencia DeMata. It lies in the southern part of the main island. Valencia gave me the easiest quests so far, completed in the last post: kill an outlaw in the woods, find the outlaw's treasure horde, kill a lich raising undead in a swamp, and retrieve her father's sword from Thelig Rathbone. Her last quest was to find the "ancient holy city of Terine," which I did as part of Farnus's questline, but I haven't been back to DeMata yet.

I have no idea where this is all going. I've been assuming that I need to complete each lord's questline, at which point he'll say something like, "Farnus stands with the Disciples of Steel!" and one by one I can unify the kingdoms against the coming threat. On the other hand, it seems like Rathadon, at least, is the coming threat, so perhaps I should focus on overthrowing the kingdom rather than solving Krigg's quests. Part of me wonders if an alternate way to win the game isn't to overthrow all the kingdoms and take charge myself. I really hope by the next post, I have a stronger sense of some "main plot," or that at least I'll reach the end of at least one lord's questline.

According to the clock, meanwhile, I'm more than halfway through my time limit. It would be nice if the lords stopped giving me quests that required me to crisscross the entire continent.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • I haven't talked much about sound effects. They're decent enough. We don't have any ambient sound--only a few games in my chronology have offered it--and there hasn't been any voiced dialogue since the introduction. The footstep echoes as you walk through dungeons are a little overdone, but the creaks of opening doors, and various clangs, crunches, and groans in combat are all well done.
  • Throughout my explorations, I've tried to do a better job visiting each shop and ensuring that they don't sell better items than I'm carrying. Most shops seem to specialize in one or two particularly good things.
This shop sells a bunch of junk and a really cool scimitar.
  • I want to keep reiterating how much I appreciate little atmospheric messages like this. The dungeons are full of them, and they make all the difference between a game like this and a game like Tyrann.
  • This note upon trying to enter the arena in Pallasade. Alas, no sequel was ever made.
This sounds like it would have been a good grinding opportunity.
  • You pretty much have to test every dungeon wall for secret doors lest you miss a key part of the dungeon.
  • I finally got someone to say something bad about his leader.
  • There are no encounters while traveling in a boat at sea.
  • I've stopped using the previous system to increase my characters' skills. Instead, I've just been focusing on getting their most important skills up to 200. After 200, the number of points needed to raise a skill is so high that I'm not sure how much it's worth it.
  • However, my warriors still miss high-level eneimes a lot, even with skills in "edged," "crushing," and "axe" over 200. For certain enemies, even stunned ones, I routinely have to instruct my characters to "aim" for a round before attacking, and even then I often miss.
I don't want to give the impression that the game has gotten easy. I still die a lot, particularly in random combats as I try to move from place-to-place, and particularly if the enemies surprise me. Nonetheless, I still like the game. It's not perfect, but it strives to be epic and it succeeds as much as any game was going to succeed in 1991.


Illusionist Spells:

  • Mind Flay: A reasonably-powerful "blast" spell that you cast in a direction instead of targeting a specific creature. Still, I'd rather spend the points stunning the creature instead.
  • Create Illusion: A fun spell that creates a temporary phantom to distract enemies and draw their attacks. However, only the most powerful illusions stand up against enemy attacks for more than one round. I'd rather stun the enemies.
At best, the illusion causes a foe to waste a combat round.
  • Power Word: Stun: Indispensable spell that freezes an enemy for a number of turns depending on how much power you put into it. Awesome for taking down foes that would otherwise turn you to pulp. Seems to work on anything, including undead.
  • Nature's Mask: Keeps you from experiencing random encounters while you're in camp healing or fixing equipment. I should be using it more often, as I frequently get interrupted during these periods.
  • Astral Defender: Creates illusory armor. As with the mage spell "Magic Shied," I've been neglecting it when I want to use my illusionist in melee combat.
  • Beguile: Supposedly a non-combat spell that "gives you great flexibility during negotiations." I suppose I should have been trying it while haggling, but I already have more money than I can spend.
  • Stealth: Seems to do the same thing the "hide" skill does: conceal the character on the battlefield. Useful for when you don't want enemies to focus on a weak target, I guess. I've barely used it.
  • Reveal: Shows hidden or concealed enemies. I only recently got into this spell. When enemies surprise you, they start the combat hidden, so this is useful in such situations.
  • PassDoor: I just acquired this and haven't found a locked door on which to try it, but I'm sure it just duplicates the mage's "Knock" and the thief's lockpick ability.
  • Power Word: Fear: Another spell that I just acquired. It works, but why would I make an enemy afraid rather than stunning him?
My illusionist has a lot of spells to go: "Confuse," "Image" (works like D&D "Mirror Image"), "Phantasm" (an advanced fear spell), "Power Word: Futility" (forces enemies to surrender), "Mass Invisibility," "The Ball" (some kind of offensive spell where you can control the movement path), "Chaos," "Power Word: Die," "Prismatic Globe," and "Astral Plane." Of the last one, the manual says, "When all hope is lost, an illusionist has one option still remaining...." I look forward to seeing what it actually does.
Priest Spells:
  • Searing Hands: Excellent combat spell, capable of instantly killing enemies at higher levels. You have to be right up next to foes to cast it, but my priest does pretty well with armor and hit points, so that's not a problem. This is my go-to offensive spell for the priest.
The priest fries a low-level mook.
  • Bind Blood: Stops allies from bleeding during combat. Like all the other healing spells, it's useful to keep everyone on their feet. I've been using it more now that my priest is capable of casting multiple spells per round. She can run around healing people as they take damage.
  • Bind Wounds: A generic healing spell that targets a specific body part and heals according to how many points you put into it. Indispensable.
  • Turn Undead: Does what it says but often fails. I'd rather blast them with "Searing Hands" instead.
  • Create Food and Create Water: Does what's indicated, but my version of the game has a bug by which food and water never deplete. I take that as compensation for the 1,000 experience points I was supposed to get.
  • Consciousness: Arouses an ally knocked unconscious by a powerful attack.
  • Clear Head: Counters stun, bemusement, and bewilderment. So far, I've only fallen victim to the first. Useful for when it happens.
Spells I haven't acquired yet include "Cleanse Blood" (cure poison),  "Split" (heal broken bones), "Stone to Flesh," "Cause Blindness," "Unparalyze," "Devastate," "Transport," "Banish Demon," "Plague" (this would help with the living trees), "Flamestrike," "Resurrection," and "Wrath of God." I'm particularly interested in "Tranport" because the manual doesn't indicate what it does except "move your party to the desired destination." I hope it allows me to city-hop and thus take less time to cross the continent.

Mage Spells:
  • Magic Bolt:  A generic "blast" for mages, capable of killing creatures in one hit at high levels. No one seems to be immune. My go-to spell for the mage character.
  • Magic Shield: One of the more useful spells to come out of this session. I often use my mage in melee combat, just to ensure she gets experience points, so this is a good defensive spell for such occasions.
  • Light of Day: I can't figure out for the life of me what it's supposed to do. "Brings forth a brilliant flare that travels with the party, illuminating potential foes." You can't see foes in the environment, so that description doesn't make a lot of sense. Maybe it protects against surprise attacks?
  • Compass: Useless spell that just tells you the way you're facing. The auto-map already takes care of that for you. Maybe later there will be a dungeon where the auto-map doesn't work.
  • Knock: Could be useful, but my thief is able to pick most locks that don't require keys.
  • Invisibility: Theoretically useful to keep a character out of combat; I need to experiment more.
  • Find Traps: Anyone with high "perception" skill renders this moot.
  • Mystical Beasts: Ack! I should have read the description in the manual much earlier on this one. I thought it conjured an ally. Instead, it conjures steeds for the party to use when traveling overland, reducing travel time. If I run out of time in the game, you can all accuse me of failure to RTFM carefully.
  • Wall of Fire: Helps shape the battlefield by turning a square into fire, burning enemies that walk into it. If enemies weren't scattered randomly when combat begins, this would be more useful.
  • Fireball: Works like its Gold Box counterpart, but on the entire visible screen, and doesn't do quite as much damage. A great way to weaken a large number of enemies, but rarely kills them outright even at maximum power.
  • Annihilation: Saps life from a single foe. "Magic Bolt" works better.
  • Sprint: Decent spell that doubles movement speed but not number of attacks. I find it useful in outdoor combats when enemies start pretty far away, and half the battle is just getting to them.
  • Lightning Bolt: Acts like the D&D version of the spell, frying a line of enemies. I just got it, and my first castings have been very promising. You just have to  make sure no allies are in the way.
I've yet to acquire "Slow," "Time Stop," "DeathStrike," "Lead to Gold," "IceStorm," "Destruction," and "Zap." They all sound pretty powerful, but because of the intelligence issue, I don't think I'll ever get them.


  1. Nice post. Makes we want to give it another go, in which case your spell list will be very useful. But I'm wary of the anti-piracy measures that may ruin it after spending weeks playing it.
    The version I downloaded (probably from Abandonia) is 1.013 in which you start with 1000 XP.
    Fat chance of it appearing on GOG. Doing a Google search narrowed down to the domain I got only one hit.

  2. As far as the combat and characters go, this game sounds like a better version of the Gold Box engine. If it had more focus on narrative, and maybe less difficulty- it would surely have been a well-remembered classic.

    1. I'll save a full analysis for the final post, but right now, I'm thinking the combat engine in DOS is better than Gold Box, and I've given superlative praise to the Gold Box engine. Gold Box may have a slight edge on spells, just because of the greater variety and the fact that you can cast more in a single combat session, making them a more important part of gameplay.

  3. The patch notes for version 1.05 (which also repaired the food/water system) has the line:
    "You can now cast Nature's Mask. This illusionist spell must be cast while encamped"
    Of course I don't know how true the patch notes are.

    According to the READ.ME file automapping was introduced late in the development (after the manual was produced). This might have made the spell "Compass" useless.

  4. Did you test the scaling of the various spells? I wonder if a spell like Annihilate that sounds good but seems to underperform Magic Bolt would actually work better at high magic expenditure. Like, Magic Bolt is better from 0-20 points and then Annihilate is better from 21+.

    1. I generally tested them at max power. "Annihilate" is probably a better spell in the long-run, but enemies resist it a lot, whereas "Magic Bolt" always works. There's nothing more frustrating than pouring all your power into a spell like "Annihilate" and then watching an enemy shrug it off.

  5. he sent me on a series of herb-gathering quests, including the same two damned herbs that Delinor had asked me for. I could have saved myself a lot of walking if I'd just picked up two plants on the first visits.

    LOL. That'll teach you to hoard things! Even more than you already do!

    so perhaps I should focus on overthrowing the kingdom rather than solving Krigg's quests

    Aw, come on, do the evil guy's quests!

    Clear Head: Counters stun, bemusement, and bewilderment.


    Combat engine better than Goldbox? For real? That's a bold statement. Maybe I need to check this game out. We're moving into "underappreciated classic" territory here.

    1. "Bemusement": You know, I was just typing directly from the manual and didn't stop to think about how weird that was. That's what it says, though.

      "Underappreciated classic." I'm trying to be cautious, because the game could completely fall apart before the end, but so far I'd have to say that DOS vies with The Dark Heart of Uukrul for king of this title.

    2. I just get this image in my mind of a bunch of Orcs shouting Monty Python's "the funniest joke in the world" in Common at a party of adventurers.

      I mean, you're the one in a position to know. If you say the combat's better than Goldbox then I probably need to download and play it sometime soon. Goldbox's movement was pretty tight, though. Move with the keypad and run into enemies to use your readied weapon. Cast spells, backstab, etc. It was a breeze to manipulate. How's DoS compare? Sword of Aragon was as about as clunky as I could tolerate for what a good game it was.

    3. Harland, are you perhaps conflating bemusement with amusement? Bemusement means more confusion, (though, confusingly, it can be an amused confusion). Amusement has to do with being entertained or laughing. On the other hand, if they also have bewilderment effects in the game (bewilderment also means confusion), I'm not sure how it's different from bemusement.

    4. Also, Uukrul was game 76, played in late 2012. So, a mere 129 games and 3 years later, we get a second contender for a lost gem? Sorry, I'm probably not helping anything by pointing this out. On the other hand, I suppose 1% maybe isn't a surprising rate for good games that don't get the credit they deserve. Sadly, that's probably one tenth the rate of bad games that get too much credit.

    5. In my experience, "bemusement" is usually used to mean "tolerant amusement" in modern English. That's probably how Chet and Harland have seen it used too.

    6. As I do with "podium," I hold to the traditional definition of the word, but I've always understood its connotation to mean more like "momentarily distracted" than "absolutely enraptured." It just doesn't sound like a spell effect. But I suppose in its original meaning--"taken by the muses"--it did have a stronger implication, like "ensorcelled" or something.

      Quirkz, keep in mind that "finding hidden gems" isn't really the primary goal of my project. It's nice when it happens, but my primary goals are to 1) have fun, and 2) document the history of RPGs. For #1, I just want good games, whether they're hidden or everyone knows about them already. From that perspective, it doesn't depress me that it's been so long between such titles.

    7. I think it can be explained in this way...
      Amusement: LOL, ROTFL, LMFAO

  6. One of the problems I often have with spellcasting in games, is that they often make the spell descriptions sound far better than the spell effects, or that they have very limited usefulness or are easily rebuffed by enemies. D&D-based games seem to be bad for this in my experience, possibly because a set of spells that are designed for tabletop roleplaying aren't necessarily the best choices for a CRPG.

    1. Yeah, I like to throw my table-gaming parties into the forest at low levels when their druids are still rather ineffective then push them forward into dungeons when their druids start getting more powerful spells that can wreak havoc in natural environments.

  7. "Why does everyone want to help Constantium so much?"

    I ask myself that every time Preston sends me off to Abernathy Farm... raiders, kidnappers, ghouls, super mutants... I JUST GOT BACK FROM THERE, Lord Harvey!

    1. It annoyed me a bit that I was the GENERAL of the Minutemen but I kept getting orders from Preston and I had to do all of the soldiering myself. Of course, that's Bethesda standard, I guess. "Thanks for solving those two quests. You're now the king!! Next quest: go kill a couple of bandits."

    2. Yeah, man. And I could've sworn that I saw a few patrols of Minutemen along the routes already. Why the f-er... fallout did Preston not send THEM?

    3. Being the boss and still having to do most of the work if you want it done right sounds very much like the real world to me!

  8. "You'd think a ruler obsessed with order would wear a shirt."

    Well, he's already got, Constantinium, why would he need Ukraine? ;)

  9. While not everything is perfect in this game, I'm glad it found someone giving it a second look. That, at least, it deserved.

  10. Practical magic? That a favourite of yours (or Irene's)?

    1. That's funny. I was fishing around for a subtitle and when "tactical magic" floated through my brain, it sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. Now I know why. No, I've never seen the film and I don't think Irene has, either.

  11. I recently started playing "Might & Magic 3" in preparation for your blog getting there and boy is that a fun game, even though the opening is far too hard.

    1991 is shaping up to be a pretty good year for games.

    1. IMHO, I thought the starting part was the 2nd most enjoyable part of the game. The ending was pretty anti-climactic though.

  12. Light of day - maybe it works like AD&D Fearie Fire with giving you hit bonuses? Have you tried if it makes a difference for the hard to hit enemies? Alternative if it's daylight it might have special effect on undead?

    1. It doesn't make a noticeable difference, but that sort of thing is really hard to tell.

  13. Wait for the final battle. Man I hope you have a lot of allies. Mass army combat that reminded me of the end of dark queen of krynn

  14. Addict I so love the ganes you play on this blog, you reintroduced me to might and maguc, introduced me to the gold box games, and now I think you've found another gane to add to my list, awesome. Question though, what happens if you get a quest to deliver an item to a ruler you assassinated?

    1. I have no idea. It hasn't happened yet. That's certainly something worth exploring.

  15. "Serbia is a desert in the northern part of the continent."

    There's a sentence that won't rustle any southern slavic jimmies...

  16. I am planning to start playing this game and have got hold of version 1.013. Are there any known game breaking bugs that will stop me from completing the game ? (I don´t want to read CRPGAddicts articles in advance). There are some rumours out there....

    1. So long as you have definitely not installed a crack or a pre-cracked version you should enjoy a bug-free game. I also have installed, in my case reinstalled, this for a repeat play.

  17. I noticed Flesh To Stone on the list of spells. Any chance of casting that on the statues in the Medusa's lair?

    1. That would have been cool, but no, I just checked it out and you can only cast it on a party member.

    2. Flesh To Stone? The statues were already Stone to begin with, right? And why would you want to cast it on party members? Does it turn them into Stone Golems?

    3. Lame Brain meant "Stone to Flesh." That's the way it appears in the game.

  18. Chester I have visited your blog before but this Disciples of Steel play-through has delighted me. Several reasons, one of which is that you have reached similarly very positive conclusions about this game. Yeah, I like the guy who agrees with me, but since you are more famous, I agree with you :-P

    Also, this has prompted me to replay this game for the 4th time. To 'spice it up' a bit I am setting myself the target of completing the game via what is surely the most difficult means and one which I do not know of anyone having done. By this I mean #3 of -

    1. Killing the big bad in the final dungeon
    2. Winning the final overland defensive 'armageddon' battle that you are forced to fight when the end-date is reached
    3. Conquering Rathadon via overland battles

    I will needs lots of platinum. I am not even sure it is practically feasible . . .

    1. Glad to hear from a fellow fan! Let us know how your attempt goes. You should only have to follow the quest paths for a few of the cities (or even just one), right?

      I'm particularly curious if the ending is at all different when you go that route.


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