Saturday, August 15, 2015

Death Knights of Krynn: Undead on Arrival

For the first time in a Gold Box game, the party fights multiple vampires.

It didn't occur to me until late in this session, but I've been playing Death Knights of Krynn the way I might play a modern "open world" game like Skyrim or Fallout 3. In those games, I try to strike a balance between my quest list and free-roaming exploration. I might, for instance, aim for the next city in the quest thread, but force myself to stop at any unexplored ruins that pop up along the way. 

In the case of Death Knights of Krynn, those "unexplored ruins that pop up along the way" are mostly places that I would eventually have to visit anyway, and I'm just there prematurely, throwing the main quest line out of whack. Mostly. I've encountered a few locations that may have never become part of the main quest. This isn't a "first"; we've seen side-dungeons before in games like Phantasie, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Legend of Faerghail. But they're far from the norm, and the existence of more than a few in Death Knights suggests that we're not far away from the days in which unplanned "exploration" of the game map is truly rewarding for its own sake.

Roaming the game map gave me a random hint from a party passing by.
My journeys in this session were prompted by a couple of comments on the first post, from Nathan and Wingnut, that it pays to wander around a bit. I soon realized that Death Knights isn't like Champions, where the outdoor map may as well have just been a menu, with no surprises between listed towns. There are many hidden areas to discover. Fearful of missing any, I retraced my steps to Gargath and began exploring in a somewhat systematic manner, in north-south rows (at least, as much as was possible given the mountains), with the intention of ultimately making my way over to Vingaard for the next step in the main quest. It was several hours, and the end of the session, before I finally got there.

As I recount these adventures, it's interesting to note the proliferation of undead in this game. Pool of Radiance had a lot of undead, culminating in a memorable series of quests at Valhingen Graveyard, but aside from a couple of skeletal dragons and one lich, undead have been absent from Curse of the Azure Bonds, Secret of the Silver Blades, and Champions of Krynn. Death Knights seems to make up for that absence all at once. It's a rare battle here that doesn't feature undead, including wraiths, ghasts, ghouls, wights, vampires, liches, specters, zombie versions of animals, undead dragons, and of course the omnipresent skeleton warriors. (Immune to magic and highly resistant to physical damage, these guys have been responsible for three full-party deaths.) This isn't a complaint--they actually make sense given the game's plot--but it's a rare map in which at least one character isn't drained.

A typical combat in this game with wights, ghasts, priests, and of course skeleton warriors. The wights and ghasts will all be turned; the priests will die quickly; and I'll end up spending 20 minutes whittling down the skeleton warriors a few hit points at a time.
Leveling progress has been quite slow because of it. As you may recall, level-draining can be countered with a "restoration" scroll (or visit to a temple), but it only restores you to the minimum number of experience points for your level. So Midsummer might have 420,000 experience points, right on the cusp of Level 8 (or worse, even crossed over into Level 9 but not trained yet) when a specter comes along and busts her down to Level 5. When she gets restored, she gets restored to the minimum for Level 7: 200,000 points. That's a lot to lose from one unlucky die roll. I suspect most players reload in such cases, but I've been trying to be good, with the result that my two knights, both imported from Champions, still have about the same experience as a freshly-created character in Death Knights would have.

Entering the first side-dungeon.

The first area I came across in my new exploration pattern was a shipwreck on the north coast, where the game alerted me that "along with the stench of decay, you sense the presence of great evil." I entered the old pirate ship anyway and soon found myself in combat with a bunch of zombie giants, wraiths, and undead rats, all of whom were pleasingly susceptible to both turning and "Fireball."

Wraiths and rats.

By the time I finished clearing out the undead and exploring the small maps, I had a new mace +4, long sword +3, and banded mail +3, all of which found places in my party members' active inventories.

This guy somehow reminds me of Yorick from Quest for Glory.
A few columns of exploration later (with many battles with wandering undead; "flee" hardly ever works), I found myself outside a "strange-looking house." Inside, a "fancifully-dressed dwarf" introduced himself as Gluten and said I'd get a reward for making it through his "maze." This turned out to be about four rooms with a series of riddles.

  • What runs but never walks, sings, but never talks? (WATER)
  • What do you use to slay a foe, hoe a row, wring with woe? (HANDS)
  • A bell shares it, a hand wears it. (RING)

It was refreshing that I hadn't heard any of them before. I got the first one wrong. I still don't think the actual answer really "sings," and to me a CLOCK was a better answer. Anyway, I had to fight a tough combat with undead for that one. After the third riddle, Gluten said I needed to fight a couple of battles, one against some easy specters and wraiths and such, and one against a lich. This is the second time I've faced a lich in this game, and I have to say, Death Knights of Krynn liches are pathetic. They don't cast spells; they don't level-drain; they don't charm. They just stand there and take a beating, really.

Gluten congratulated me when I won the combat and gave me my prize: a Girdle of Frost Giant Strength and a magic user scroll. The Girdle is pretty awesome, of course. I've given it to one of my knights, but I may transfer it to one of my thieves for more effective backstabs. (To anyone tempted to comment about how I can use the character-export trick to replicate the girdle as many times as I want: begone. You are weak and unworthy to comment on this blog.)

I guess the house is now Gluten-free.

Cerberus wasn't a hidden area, but it was on the way, so I thought I'd visit anyway. The map layout was the same as Dulcimer, where I defeated the first lich in the last posting. Anyway, nothing was happening there--just messages about townsfolk living their normal lives. I suspect I'll have to return later when something happens, but good work on the developers' part to anticipate an early visit and not let the plot get out of order. 

His friendliness makes me suspicious.

Similarly, Cerberus Graveyard had nothing going on--I ran all over the place and didn't discover a thing.

Nearby Dargaard Keep, I suspect, is going to be Lord Soth's stronghold, but I couldn't get in because I didn't have a password.

I was wrong about something in the last post: in addition to Gargath outpost, the city of Throtl also makes a reappearance in Death Knights. It even uses the same map, minus a huge chunk of the northeast. It had been taken over by Soth's forces, led by a priest named Lessiter.

More knights should follow this example.
That I was here too early was evident from the difficulty of combat, but I rather enjoyed the challenge. The somewhat linear map had me chasing Lessiter from place to place and fighting packs of priests and undead.

Including undead dragons, which thankfully don't have a breath attack.

At one point, I met a text-only NPC (she didn't appear in my party or on combat screens) named Sarah, who was looking for her companion Sir Michael. We found him when we cornered Lessiter. After a rousing final battle against undead and priests, we killed Lessiter, and Sarah went off with the healed Michael. Lots of experience on this map, but the only decent treasure was a composite long bow +2.

Before the final battle in Throtl.
My penultimate adventure during this session was an ill-advised trip to a dwarf village called Turef. Soth's forces had taken it over and somehow brainwashed most of the hill dwarf residents. As I entered, the hill dwarves were assaulting a visiting mountain dwarf named Skomp; I rescued him and he joined my party, asking me to keep an eye out for the boar he'd rode into town on.

These days, "skomp" is slang for, "crush up Adderall and snort it," but it probably wasn't in the 1990s.
The village had a complex in its center where the dwarves and their allies had arranged an ambush. The game gave me the option to retreat and avoid it, but I couldn't find any way to circumvent it, so I tried taking it head-on. Bad mistake. Multiple packs of mages and clerics decimated my party with "Hold" spells and magic missiles before I could launch enough "Fireballs" to suppress their spellcasting. (Spellcasters who take damage can't cast for the rest of the round, but that only helps if you go first.) My party was wiped out both times in two tries.

I prepare to damage one of the groups with a "Fireball." Unfortunately, the other is going to get to attack first.
Re-circling the other buildings in town, I found the solution, which involved bringing a book back to a librarian, getting a hint about a secret door in the tavern; getting the key number to the door from the bartender, and getting the appropriate key form a locksmith. Entering the complex this way, I came into a room where "soldiers [were loading] Karl's cursed relics onto three blue dragons." 

The blue dragons should feel free to use this distraction to take off with the relics. Just fly off, please. No? Oh, well...
I killed the wave of soldiers, mages, and undead without any problem, but then the game put me against three blue dragons with no time to stop and rest or cast spells in between the two battles. As I indicated last time, blue dragons suck. There's nothing so far in the game to protect against lightning bolts, each one of which can easily kill a character, especially if it bounces off a wall and hits him twice.

I tried to use a wall to hide the party and draw them out, but it only partially worked. Within a few rounds, two of the dragons were dead, but so were two of my characters. Two others were unconscious. Only my mage/thief, Squirrel, remained.

Amidst the corpses of her comrades, Squirrel damages the dragon with her "Fire Shield."
The dragon was out of breath attacks by this time. Squirrel had cast "Fire Shield" on herself, so every time the dragon hit her in melee combat, he took damage in return. I had Squirrel cast "Magic Missile" on him each round, and managed to kill him when Squirrel was down to 17 hit points.

This is what we call a "Pyrrhic victory."

To be honest, I was planning to reload, but I thought it would be more in the spirit of role-playing to honor Squirrel's single-handed victory by reviving my unconscious characters and dragging the dead ones back to a temple for resurrection. This would mean sucking up a 1-point constitution loss, but I was willing to do it. Unfortunately, I forgot that elves can't be resurrected, and one of the dead characters was my elf cleric/mage, Atmos. I wasn't willing to lose him. Even more unfortunately, I had saved over my last save from Turef--my next earlier save was from before I had even completed Throtl. I sighed and reloaded. I'll go back later, preferably when I have a Dragonlance.

The last place I found before going to Vingaard, where I was supposed to be, was a forest where a "swarm of faeries" begged me to help "the Father of Trees." The tree was only a small map, with only a few combats, but I could neither use magic nor leave the map and return. Without the ability to heal, my characters got winnowed down fast by mages, some kind of weird tentacle creature, and other enemies. I went into the final battle with one character unconscious and the others with a fraction of their hit points.

I won with a couple of characters to spare and got a Periapt of Proof vs. Poison and Boots of Speed for my troubles. A "periapt," by the way, turns out to be a charm or amulet. I always thought of it as some kind of scroll or book.

Three of us are barely alive, but at least we feel enriched.

At last, I hauled my broken bodies and exhausted party to the city of Vingaard, where I ended the game. I can tell that I'm going to have to map this one. Hopefully, by next time I'll be back on the main quest and I can tell you about the dream guy.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • The game probably uses the same copy protection frequency as Champions, but it feels much more annoying here. You have to type a word from a journal entry every time you reload a game, and then every once in a while (maybe 1 in 8 times), you have to type a word from the separate game manual when you go to save a game. I don't mind the first one so much, but the second one really breaks the flow.

  • I feel like my characters miss a lot more, and do less damage, than comparably-leveled characters in the Forgotten Realms series.
  • The image for a wraith in this game is a riot. This blue, bald-haired guy dances around with his arms in the air like a 1970s guy at a disco. I meant to get a GIF capture but I forgot.

Just imagine him snapping his fingers and swaying his hips.

  • I still haven't found a single store that sells anything worth buying. So far, they just have non-magical starting goods.
  • This freaking guy keeps popping up everywhere. I have no idea what his deal is, where he comes from, how he keeps appearing and disappearing. 

Lots of fun so far, made the more challenging by my wanderlust.

Time so far: 7 hours
Reload count: 6


  1. C'mon...who doesn't love a disco-dancing wraith?

    1. The more I think about it, the more I can hear him singing in Barry Gibb's voice:

      "I-I-I-I'm Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive..."

  2. I remember Dreadwolves from a Planescape tablwtop game with some friends years and years ago. Dark, unsettling monsters is what those are, one of the most memorable I've seen in pen and paper RPGs. Looking forward to seeing how well this game handles them.

  3. The Lich at Dulcimer has thrown fireballs at me before, but he and his fellows are not up the caliber of the Dreadlord. This game should be a Ravenloft title rather than a Krynn.

    Congratulations on saving Tureff. I find it is the one town that I can never make progress in.

    The skeleton warrior has to be one of the most effective enemies I have faced in a gold box game. Their immunity to most spells ( I once hit one with ray of enfeeblement) They really give a tactical challenge, but are not so overwhelming. I cannot say the same for undead beasts. I hate them.

    My party went Gargath, Dulcimer, Kalaman, Vingraad, and now Clerist Tower. Unlike Tower records, I do not like this tower.

    1. It's been quite long when I last played DKK, but I don't remember the Lich of being able to cast spells. He had a paralyze-on-touch attack just like ghasts and ghouls. Maybe you're mixed the Lich with the Death Knight, which indeed can throw one Fireball on their first attack (like Sir Lebaum in COK).

    2. Liches are undead magic-users. Dreadlord in Secret of the Silver Blades cast lightening bolts. The Lich at Dulcimer cast fireball. Usually I have the initiative and can keep that Lich from casting. Such was not the case with Dreadlord who had a globe up.

    3. They should be, yes. The dreadlord in Secret actually was able to cast spells. But the one in DKK didn't, I'm pretty sure about this. But as said, it's been a pretty long time, when I last played DKK. I just remember the paralysis attack.

    4. It's not an immunity per se; the Skel Warriors have 90% magic resistance at 11th level, modified by 5% up or down per level of the enemy caster, so your guys will never do better than 75% chance (14th level) in this game.

      However, in Dark Queen of Krynn your guys can get into the thirties, and you will be able to fireball Skel Warriors.

    5. Basty is right. Neither lich in this game, for whatever reason, has been interested in casting spells even though liches normally do so.

    6. I think he can; thing is, they didn't bother to make him immune to magic like the lich in Secret, so it's very easy to just hit him every round to keep him from casting spells.

      Enemy human wizards are wimpy for this reason...until Dark Queen of Krynn. ;)

    7. Wait, undead in Ravenloft should be more scary-- it is a scary Gothic horror setting!

  4. Blue Dragons are the most annoying of the dragons IMO, since they nearly always use their breath attack (other dragons often waste their turn casting relatively harmless spells), and their range (unlike other dragons' breath attacks) seems to be unlimited.
    But dragons have one weakness (in addition to being Dragonlance targets): low saving throws. Hold Monster and Stinking Cloud are very effective spells against Blue Dragon. Wands of Paralyzation should also be effective if there are any in DKK. Later in the game Power Word: Stun can also be more useful than Delayed Blast Fireball when facing dragons.

    1. Yes, I would add "Confusion", "Charm Monsters" and "Mass Charm" to the list. If you're lucky you have some new allies which only breath on each other. ;-)
      Another thing that works is moving out of close ranged combat range. The dragon gets one free attack from behind, but can't act the remaining round anymore and therefore not use his breathing weapon.
      This trick also works for spell casters in order to prevent them casting this round, unless they have readied either darts, bows or crossbows.

    2. Oh, forgot to add, even if the spell caster already has begun casting, you will interrupt the casting by moving out of closed combat range, the free atrack replaces the (CASTING) status.

    3. That's neither clever nor a tactic, it's cheating.

    4. I agree that it's barely a clever tactic, but I don't consider it's cheating, because it also can flip back to you.
      For example, it is NOT a good idea to use this when you have to move away from level draining enemies. You have to think twice in order to determine if it's more harmful to you than not doing it.
      It is also not a good idea when you are moving a spell caster, since, if the character got hit from an attack from behind, spells can't be cast anymore for this round.

    5. But I see your issue.
      Extra attack by moving away is pretty poorly implemented in the Gold Box game engine. Monsters should get an extra attack with all abilities, instead just of a melee strike. I don't see, if a dragon can melee attack from behind, why he shouldn't breath from behind instead.
      It's even so poorly implemented that the same creature can attack infinite times per combat round. Move away and get hit, move towards and away again, again get attacked in the same combat round.
      When movement points are exhausted, press right mouse or UNDO. You have back all your movement points, but the damage you took is still here.

    6. Yeah, i just had a battle with 4 of them, and "Hold Monster," "Stinking Cloud," "Charm Monster," and Wand of Paralyzation were all a no-go. These things might end up on my "most annoying" list.

      I'm not sure why monsters lose their normal attack when they get to swipe at you while fleeing. Characters don't lose theirs in the same circumstances.

  5. I was waiting for the "gluten" joke. Bravo on hiding it in a caption...subtle. :-)

  6. "It was refreshing that I hadn't heard any of them before. I got the first one wrong. I still don't think the actual answer really "sings," and to me a CLOCK was a better answer."

    My first thought was RIVER, as a "singing river" is a very common poetical conceit. Obviously where the actual answer came from, but it is a bit of a tenuous connection.

  7. Skeletal warriors are indeed very strong and annoying in DKK. You probably noticed already, but you do half damage with swords if you attack them, you should use maces or flails. In my party, i used to equip every attacking character with a mace as well. You need magical maces, normal ones are ineffective. Fortunately every random encouter with clerics (like the Partiarches and evil fighters type) has maces +1 in the loot.

    About restoration, if i'm not mistaken you have to cast it twice to restore to full experience points.

    1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If that actually works, I'm going to ragequit this entire project.

    2. I think the way Restoration (scrolls at least) works is that it only restores one level. Some monsters drain only one level, while other drain two (or possibly more).
      If you have a "round" number of XP after Restoration, that indicates your character is not fully restored.

    3. If I remember correctly, there were some special items which did full damage to skeletal warriors in Dark Queen of Krynn. But I don't remember, if this works in DKK, too.
      Regarding Restoration. One cast restores one level. Some monsters like vampires drain two level at once, so you have to cast two spells. But others like wights only drain one level, so casting it once is enough.

    4. They should be, yes. The dreadlord in Secret actually was able to cast spells. But the one in DKK didn't, I'm pretty sure about this. But as said, it's been a pretty long time, when I last played DKK. I just remember the paralysis attack.

    5. Right. "Restoration" only restores one level, and some of the creatures are capable of a double-level drain. This screwed me up early in the game. But regardless, no restoration spell restores you to full experience points. It only ever restores you to the minimum number of XP for the level you were on. I tried.

    6. In the later games, Restoration restores your lost XP (Pools of Darkness comes to mind).

    7. Typical Gold Box games, constantly changing the rules in subtle ways...

  8. There is a Greater Restoration spell, but I can't recall if it was in this particular game or not.
    These Gold Box entries really take me back, can't wait for you to hit some specific games in the near future.

  9. I hadn't read any of the Dragonlance books back when you were covering Champions of Krynn, but earlier this year I read the six core novels. Compared to the games, some things surprised me...

    * Dragons aren't all that powerful. The heroes kill or defeat five of them in the first two books before they even get their hands on any Dragonlances. In one of those cases, a dragon is driven off by a pair of elven archers using normal bows and arrows, with one of the shots piercing its wing membrane and causing enormous pain.

    * Undead, on the other hand, are presented as being virtually invincible. Skeleton warriors are too strong for any fighter to have a chance against. Only the mightiest mages and clerics might overcome them, and only the gods or Raistlin can beat Lord Soth.

    * Some of the setting elements that the games use to make Dragonlance distinct from Forgotten Realms come up rarely or not at all. Steel coins. Moon phases. Draconian types.

    1. I just read the Chronicles and Legends trilogies last month.

      There are very few dragons before the Dragonlances show up in the original trilogy, and one of them is used to kill another one. Every single one is presented as an enormous threat, and it is only through the use of the Dragon Orbs that they are driven off.

    2. It's been a while, but IIRC, Chronicles was partly based on a group's (including the books' authors) pen and paper sessions of the Dragonlance modules they were releasing / going to release, and I think the party at the time (at least during the first book) was relatively weak -- probably of levels similar to Champions of Krynn, if even that. For much of the first novel, the spells Raistlin casts are nothing more than Magic Missile, Sleep or Web -- all level 1 spells. He supposedly learns Fireball much later from Fizban, but we never see him use it in Chronicles, only much later in Legends.

      Any death knight (Soth being the only one ever mentioned), for instance, could wipe the floor with the entire Heroes of the Lance, even late in the novels (excluding Raistlin after he changes robes).

      And I don't remember dragons as being so weak; none of them is ever killed by the heroes a "normal" fight (like they constantly are in these games). Skeleton warriors exist (a group of them serves Soth), but we never see a character fight one.

    3. Goldmoon kills a black dragon with the blue crystal staff at Xak Tsaroth.

      One of the red dragons at Pax Tharkas whimpers and cowers from Tanis as children beg him not to hurt it. That red and another end up killing each other due to the heroes' actions.

      Raistlin beats a green dragon at Silvanesti.

      And Laurana and Gilthanas wound and drive off a white dragon with bows and arrorws when they arrive at Southern Ergoth.

      Heroes: 5, Dragons: 0, and the heroes didn't use any dragonlances or dragon orbs.

      And you say there are very few dragons before dragonlances show up in the original trilogy? Hundreds of dragons are in the army that attacks Tarsis while the heroes are there, so if you consider hundereds to be very few, yeah, there are very few.

    4. Considering the circumstances, the blue crystal staff victory is basically Divine Intervention, and not a normal fight.

      Two dragons killing each other is not "taken down by normal fighters".

      "Wound and drive off" still isn't kill, and aren't white dragons the wussiest evil type?

      I don't remember what happened with Raistlin and the green dragon so can't comment on that one.

    5. (As I recall this was an encounter glossed over in the original books? Trying to websearch says that Raistlin, with you-know-who's aid behind him, broke the green dragon's control over Lorac and the dragon left Silvanesti. It was definitely not killed.)

    6. And I definitely said "killed or defeated" in my comment. It comes down to three dragons killed and two who turn tail and fly for their lives, before Theros forges any dragonlances.

      Websearch, c'mon. You really should look at the novel. The green dragon wasn't controlling Lorac, the dragon orb was. The dragon orb sends Cyan Bloodbane - said to be the second-biggest dragon on Krynn - against Raistlin. The dragon orb has Cyan Bloodbane cheese it when Raistlin turns out to be stronger.

    7. The writers of the novels played the book through with pen and paper, getting ideas and figuring out how things should be. The fights were sometimes lost, including the black dragon fight which was particularly difficult as the characters were low level. They just played again until they won. I don't remember if the black dragon win was divine intervention or if the blue crystal staff was just used to defeat it. I haven't read those books in a few years, they're fun.

    8. man of stone: you appeared to be replying to:

      >none of them is ever killed by the heroes a "normal" fight

      by listing those five occurrences. None of which is, in fact, a bunch of low-level RPG characters killing a dragon in a normal fight.

      The blue crystal staff is a macguffin, it's a kill with a special one-time-only magic item which then returned to the hands of the goddess, after teleporting/resurrecting Goldmoon.

      I did a websearch because there have been a LOT of books published since the original trilogy and I wanted to check that they hadn't retconned the details. In the original books we have no idea what happened between Raistlin and the dragon, only that the dragon disappears and Raistlin vaguely says that the orb sent it away. Since everyone was in a dreamscape at the time, someone reading only that book may not even be sure that there actually was a dragon, Raistlin not being the most trustworthy of sources. We're vaguely aware that Fistandantilus was probably involved.

    9. White dragons are the weakest of all true dragons.

      The types of Draconians comes up a lot more in the novels and short stories about Kang and his draconian engineering brigade.

  10. It's been a long time since I've read the books but that one particular red at the mines was extremely old and more then a bit batty, even her battle cry was "not my children" or something in that vein.

    The green dragon was Cyan Bloodbane but I can only remember the name and that it had enthralled the elven king Lorac after he failed to use the dragon orb to control the dragon.

    Can remember what exactly went with the black dragon except that the aftermath wasn't pretty and white aren't really known for their ferocity in combat.

  11. "whittling down skeleton warriors a few hitpoints at a time" - Uhm, you do know that you should use blunt weapons against skeletons?

    Bonus in Dragonlance: they also don't get stuck by the draconians turning to stone. Blunt rules in DL!

    1. Yes, having played just about every D&D-derived game, I'm well aware that skeletons respond best to blunt weapons. The skeleton warriors still have 60 hit points and the blunt weapons maybe do 8-12 points of damage per hit; hence, "a few hitpoints at a time." The best weapons in the game, in the hands of enlarged, hastened characters, do not one-shot the skeleton warriors.

    2. OK, just checking :) I think the game had a Mace if Disruption somewhere for exactly this one-shotting but my memory is pretty hazy on the later gold box games where it all blurs together after >20 years... Damned I'm getting old.

  12. I hope I did not steer your wrong in mentioning that its fun to wander in DKK, I should have clarified that I use Power Word Reload when I get hosed on level drains.

    1. No, not at all. I really am enjoying that aspect of the game.

  13. Did you try out what happens in Dargaard Keep if you just choose "Nothing" and loiter around at gate.

    Looks perfect spot for Monty Python joke.

  14. At the risk of bringing down the ire of the Addict...

    GOG just added a number of Forgotten Realms games, including all both the Pool and Savage Frontier series and Eye of the Beholder. Unfortunately, they do not yet have the Krynn games, but perhaps those will come.

    I've been playing off an old CD-ROM set I bought used on eBay, but for those of you that haven't found a way to buy these games (and don't like to use abandonware sites), some of the finest role playing games made for the PC are finally available.

  15. Directly from within Excel by using the Slice Wizard.

  16. " "flee" hardly ever works" -> Apologies if this is clarified later, still (re-)reading up on older entries: in battles your ability to flee depends on your movement points (determined by your strength and encumbrance) as compared to the fastest enemy that can see you(r respective character). Also for this reason, but much more so for movement flexibility and range in battle itself, I tried to always keep my characters at 12 or at least 9 movement points in the Gold Box games - though that's a challenge without maxed strength stats and magical armour.

    Therefore, I wonder if the same rule applies to overland encounters before actually going into a fight, i.e. the situations Chet describes - which would require the game to already at that stage having determined the respective (type of) enemies you'd be encountering and using your slowest character as reference (a bit like your fleet on "Pirates!" whose speed is also determined by the slowest ship) comparing it to the slowest or fastest (?) enemy of the group? Or is it just a random roll or influenced by other factors?

    I am aware at this stage Chet has already played all the GB games (except FRUA) on this blog, but it might still be relevant or at least interesting to others playing or replaying them.


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3. NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. If you don't want to log in to Google to comment, either a) choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank, or b) sign your anonymous comment with a preferred user name in the text of the comment itself.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.