Sunday, January 31, 2021

Spelljammer: Shipwreck

I believe this is the beginning of the main quest.
Let's pick up the story where I left off. The crew of the Meandering Beast was building fame, experience, and wealth doing a bunch of fetch quests, but they were having trouble with melee combat, such that as this session began, I gave up the pirate quest and went back to hustling people and goods around the solar system. But after a few more cargo missions--a couple of which lost me money because of taxes that exceeded the reward--I was ready to try again. On Anadia, I met an ex-trader named Quall D'ord, whose mutinous first mate, Eloom Blackleaf, had made off with his ship and cargo. The ship was bound for Karpri, and Quall wanted me to intercept it. I buzzed around Karpri until I encountered the ship, then closed and grappled.
Bit by bit, I make my fortune.
Instead of pirates, the ship was full of undead, including skeletons, specters, and mummies. The problem was, mummies and specters only respond to magic weapons, and I didn't have any. Their levels were too high for my clerics to turn (and see my note about turning), and collectively my mages didn't have enough spells to destroy them that way.
Unfortunately, I can't really do anything to mummies.
We were also attacked by some Neogi. These creatures apparently keep umber hulks as pets, and the umber hulks tore through us without stopping. From these two battles, I became convinced that my crew's problem was a lack of good gear. I specifically needed magic weapons in the hands of at least a few party members.
Before I could make the purchases, another galleon attacked me in wildspace. This one had regular human fighters on board, and I'm pleased to say that we were at last victorious. The galleon had 6,266 gold pieces and enough cargo to get us another 4,000. The morale boost was more important.
About to win my first victory.
During this session, I met several friendly ships in space. When you hail them, you have several dialogue options, most of which are just generically friendly. If the other captain doesn't respond, that's a good sign the ship is hostile. If he does, there's a decent chance that he gives you a rumor. These rumors seem to be drawn from the same database as the ones you can hear in bars. I've been keeping track of them:
  • There is an asteroid field near H'Cathha made of pieces of glass. Sailors call it "Shredder" because it will tear your ship to pieces.
  • There is an item that disguises your ship on Garden. Clive's said to have it.
  • Don't trust ships that don't respond to your attempts to hail them.
  • There sure have been a lot of Neogi attacks lately.
  • Mind flayers are offering top dollar for sharp-minded boys like you. Ha! ha!
  • We were sitting by the aft rail looking at the stars when the biggest ship I've ever seen showed up. Twas like a giant bat and moved like we were standing still.
I did a few other random quests while looking for shops that sold magic gear. During the process, Woodes gained another level. This must have triggered something, because when we arrived at the next port, we were met by a government agent named Count Eldacar. He said the combined governments of Waterdeep, Hissta, and Umbergad were concerned about the number of Neogi in the system lately. Usually belligerent to each other, they have lately unified and seem to be operating out of a large, mobile base that disappears every time someone sees it. He promised 100,000 gold if I could find and destroy this base.
I wasn't sure where to even start, but I got some help on that front. Not long out of port, a mysterious ship hailed us. We responded, and the captain of the other ship invited me to his cabin. He represented Clive the Fearsome, ruler of the planet Garden, who wanted to see us. We made our way to Garden.
The dread pirate Clive.
Clive knew about the quest we'd been given by the Council of Lords' agent. Clive--who is clearly some kind of gangster--also wanted the Neogi out of the system. He gave us a map that supposedly led to the treasure trove of Drach Barrachas, a dwarven pirate who had a magic device that would disguise his ship to appear any way he wanted.
I still hadn't found any magic gear, but I seemed to remember a magic shop on Toril, so I headed back. On the way, we were attacked by another pirate, and I accidentally destroyed his ship in ship-to-ship combat mode. I still don't fully get it--particularly what "Target" does--but you basically point at the enemy and fire your ballistae, arrows, and other heavy weapons with a single click. Then there's a cool down as they reload. Weapons both damage enemy ships and kill or injure crew. There are also buttons to "shear" and "ram," but my vessel is too flimsy for such maneuvers.
Firing at an enemy ship in space.
Eventually I got to Toril and managed to buy +1 or +2 weapons for everyone except my mages; there were no magic staves or daggers. Here, I discovered something annoying about the interface: there's a command to "pool" all gold to a single character, but none to distribute it. This means that when you're purchasing expensive items, one character has to do all the buying and then trade the items to the intended recipients. Why, by 1992, is gold still being assigned to individual characters? Has that ever made sense?
Woodes distributes purchased weapons to the party.
We lifted off from Toril and made our way to the ruined dwarven fortress ship, which showed up on our "special places" map. Soon we found the behemoth lurking dead in space. There was no one living on board firing weapons at us, so we didn't fire anything at it as we approached and grappled.
The dwarven fortress is a ghost ship, drifting in wildspace.
The ship turned out to be two large levels full of undead, including skeletons, zombies, revenants, and a lich. I ended up fighting this battle five times and felt pretty good about my combat mastery by the time it was over. The first time, I actually won. The lich was surprisingly docile, refusing to cast any spells or even make melee attacks. The second, third, and fourth times, however, he came busting out with "Cloud Kill" and wiped out half the party. The fifth, I won again, but it was a lot harder than the first time because the enemies were harder. Every time you reload, the game re-stocks enemy ships, and on this fifth run, there were much more revenants as opposed to skeletons and zombies.
I'll cover why I had to win twice in a minute, but let's talk more about the combat. I said last time that it was recognizably rooted in the Gold Box, but with additional features and more intricate environments. In fact, with enemy and ally "stacks," it essentially bridges Gold Box tactical combat and strategy game combat. 
This battle begins on the rear deck of the ship. There are three doors from here.
Battles are a lot longer than Gold Box battles. The dwarven fortress took up to two hours per combat. Mage spells exhaust relatively quickly, so fighters take on a prominence here that they never held in the Gold Box. So does in-combat healing.
My long experience with this one fight revealed a lot of quirks about Spelljammer's approach to combat--some good, some annoying, some just confusing. Here are the highlights:
  • As I noted last time, the combat maps are much more detailed, taking place in large areas with lots of doors. Sometimes, these doors are locked. You have options to smash or pick them open. ("Knock" might also be an option, but I didn't memorize that.) The annoying thing is, the door doesn't remain smashed open after the character succeeds. The next character has to try to pass through the door by making his own smash/unlock roll. I was often trying to bring multiple characters through a door only to have the first make it through and the trailing ones get hung up by a weaker character who couldn't open it.
  • Enemies can't target or hit you in doorways! They act like you're not even there. This was true of Knights of Legend, too, which this game often reminds me of. Thus, a good strategy is to smash open a door and stand there in the doorway, attacking anyone on the other side with impunity.
Two characters stand safely in doorways and take turns attacking a stack of zombies.
  • But if you do this, only that one character can attack. Other characters cannot shoot or cast spells through doorways even if another character is holding it open. (This is true if the doorway has a door, at least. It may not be true if the doorway is open.)
  • If you realize you're inevitably going to lose, you can't quit combat and reload. You have to kill the emulator.
  • The AI on your random crew is pretty poor. The dwarven fortress started us on a balcony and required us to penetrate deep into the fortress. None of the enlisted members of the crew managed to find their way through more than one door.
  • The spellcaster who pilots the ship has all his magic power converted into movement. There's no point in having him memorize spells because he just forgets them. This means that, functionally, I have only one cleric.
  • Clerics are extra important, too, because healed characters will stand up in combat and continue to fight, unlike the Gold Box where you had to wait until the end of combat to revive them.
  • As for spells in general, there is no "rest" mechanic. You simply pull up the spellbook and "learn" the ones that you want. Unfortunately, there's no quick way to re-learn the spells you've already cast. And there's no way to cast spells outside of combat except for healing.
  • There are thus no opportunities to buff before combat. You have to do your best at the beginning of the battle. For me, that usually means holding everyone in the starting area with the "Wait" command until my cleric's turn comes up and I can cast "Prayer."
My cleric casts "Prayer" around the party at the beginning of combat.
  • "Bless" now only applies to individuals, not the entire party. "Prayer" seems to be the "group Bless" spell. I don't think stacking them does anything.
  • Sometimes characters act on their own in combat even if you didn't set them to computer control.
  • "Turn Undead" doesn't make them flee or destroy them. It just sort of puts them out of commission for about four rounds. You can only turn a single stack of foes per round.
In the end, I have mixed feelings on whether I think it's better or worse than Gold Box combat. It has most of the same strengths--in particular, the creators have done a good job implementing the D&D spells (at least, the ones that I have cast). It is far more tactical with its terrain. Instead of accommodating four warriors abreast, the narrowest corridors here just allow for one enemy, meaning you have to be careful with who leads the exploration and where you allow yourself to get pressed into melee combat. Enemy AI is smart, and enemies will attack weak characters, so you can't stick your mages or low-health characters into the fringes of combat and hope the AI ignores them. "Bandaging" fallen characters takes on new importance, because you can't trust that the battle will be over before the fallen character bleeds out. You also have to be immediately adjacent to him (a nod to realism that I don't mind, I guess), meaning you rarely want individual characters out there exploring alone. Either way, you probably want everyone carrying a healing potion, which I hardly ever used in the Gold Box. These are all mostly good things.

Tight corridors make missile weapons and spells extra important.
On the other hand, you have the poor friendly AI. All those miscellaneous fighters I'm paying for aren't very useful if they just crowd around the starting area. They often block doors, too, which hasn't put me in an unwinnable situation yet, but I could see it happening. I'm not a huge fan of very long battles because I don't like re-fighting them when things go wrong.
That brings us back to the dwarven fortress. The reason I didn't accept victory on the first try is that the game crashed. When a battle is over, the main character appears on the map alone, free to wander around if you want to. There are three options: "Heal," "Flee," and "Loot." The first two don't make any sense to me. You can heal more thoroughly out of combat, so why do it here? As for "Flee," why flee after you've won? Anyway, "Loot" is the only sensible option to choose after winning the dwarven fortress, and for me, it crashes the game. I've won twice now, investing over five hours in both won and lost battles in this one location alone.
Thinking my game might be corrupt, and wanting to try some other things anyway, I downloaded a fresh install of the game and created a new captain. I figured if only the lead character ever advances, I'd make it a mage, and thus get to try some advanced mage spells. I create a female half-elf mage named Hortense--don't ask me where the name came from; it was completely random.
I used a spreadsheet to track what I had and what I needed.
The game must have decided that because I created a female character, I must want an entire female party, because that's what I got: two clerics, three additional mages, a fighter, a paladin, a ranger, and a thief. This time, I paid a lot closer attention to each character's selection of weapons and armor and made incremental upgrades every time I could afford it. My clerics, for instance, both started with nothing but robes, even though they're capable of wearing plate mail. A lot of my characters capable of wearing shields and helms started with none. I even bought better boots and cloaks for those characters who started with none or inferior ones, even though I don't think those items do anything.
I started with the usual fetch missions, but once I had everyone but the mages upgraded to magic weapons, I felt comfortable taking on a quest to destroy a "ghost ship." I found it in the space above Coliar and engaged in a short battle with zombies and mummies. Victory was swift. But then the game crashed when I went to loot the ship. I tried again with a new installation of DOSBox and it still crashed after this battle.
This battle was relatively easy because I could stick a character in the doorway choke point.
I also identified these other bugs during play:
  • There's a mission where a man says he wants to go to Glyth, but you don't get the reward if you take him to Glyth. He really wants to go to Waterdeep.
  • Mages can equip short bows. I haven't tested to see if they can actually fire them.
  • Characters sometimes unequip their weapons in the middle of combat.
  • The game sometimes forget that you already know the properties of a magic item. So a longsword +3 mysteriously just becomes a "longsword" in the character's inventory, and you have to identify it again.
  • After one battle, the game shouted that my second helmsman was dead. She wasn't.
My second helmsman was not dead.
  • Enemies who don't exist sometimes take action on the battle screen. For instance, the game might say, "Zombie, who was guarding, attacks," even though there aren't any more zombies.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'll take them. If you have a copy of the game for which you never had this problem with crashing after combat, please send it along. Otherwise, I think I may have to mark this one as unwinnable and move on.

Time so far: 14 hours, but only about 7 "preserved."


  1. Are you using an abandonware version or original? There's a patch on this page for original at the bottom of the page:

    I don't know if it works because I was planning to start playing the game myself.

    1. At the beginning of the game, I mean. I had the problem with the patch already installed.

    2. Did you also try it without the patch? Maybe it breaks stuff also?

  2. Maybe you can just "flee" and see if the game will give you the quest item. If it does, maybe it'll be better to forfeit any random loot and continue the story.

    And if remember correctly, you can switch random crewmen fighters to manual control to bring them closer to action or target specific enemies.

  3. The game is notoriously buggy even on real hardware. It's very hard to finish due to all the crashes, broken quest triggers and softlocks.

    1. Yeah, I was just about to post that. This game was a commercial flop both for the setting few had familiarity with and for the bugs, which made the game nearly unplayable.

      Amusing excerpt from the Wikipedia article for Spelljamer:

      Development took a little over a year. The first six months of work was done in Escudero's kitchen. Then SSI called up and said they were coming up to visit. Since Escudero didn't want to look like a low budget outfit he quickly rented a small office, where development was finished.

      It sounds like it was (mostly?) programmed on someone's kitchen counter.

    2. I mean I've been getting some sweet programing done on my kitchen counter in 2020...

    3. The Wikipedia article reads like it was written on someone's kitchen counter, too.

    4. Since you can edit Wikipedia, feel free to fix that on your own kitchen counter :D

  4. I bought the game at the time and was EXTREMELY disappointed with it. (Think I threw it in the trash)
    I'm 99% sure it was because of bugs.
    It is very unlikely that I had access to a patch so I hoped you would have a better time with it.
    No such luck obviously.

    Found this review at (a reincarnation of) home of the Underdogs.
    Doesn't even mention bugs ...

    Googling (with duckduckgo) for 'spelljammer pirates bugs' turns up this nugget:
    "The game crashes....frequently when completing a combat scenario which is annoying.
    You can avoid it by not boarding but if you "Need" to board a ship for storyline purposes you are hosed"

    1. It really is frustrating that this was as broken as the 00s era Pool of Radiance reboot. D&D deserved better.

    2. Sadly there is 1 plot battle you have to board for looting, and it is the one they are stuck on. The rest can be done in ship to ship.

    3. Could you get back to the ship if you flee or are you walking dead then if you don't pick up or trigger the right mark?

  5. Blackleaf is a character from the infamous Dark Dungeons "comic" by Jack Chick... that's probably an intentional reference.

    I am surprised by your description of Turn Undead and Bless, because I thought game companies were under contract by TSR to follow the D&D rules (and by D&D rules, Bless is an area spell that stacks with Prayer, and Turn Undead does make them flee). I'm pretty sure that the pilot should still be able to do things (because he'll be one of the players in a TRPG, and having him sit out every combat is boring).

    By the way, giving gold to individual party members is the logical thing to do in a tabletop RPG, and many CRPG designers are TRPG players.

    Doors not staying smashed sounds like another bug to me, though. Was this game rushed for a christmas release, or something? According to Wikipedia, the development "team" on this game was largely one guy working in his basement, so that explains a lot.

    1. I might be wrong, but I think a lot of Spelljammer tables had the ship's helmsman also be an NPC, precisely because running the ship left them drained of spells. PC casters could serve in a pinch, but 2e in particular didn't give them much ability without spell slots.

    2. When Chet reaches Strahd's Possession you're see an implementation of Turn Undead that literally makes them turn in place. Some enemies in the game are so vicious that the only way to survive is to chop away while they pirouette like ballerinas.

    3. Honestly even in tabletop I'm pretty sure I've played more games with pooled gold vs individual gold. I'd say it's come up that people had different ideas on how to spend the party's gold in maybe a handful out of 100s of games I've played. It's also much easier to just have the DM track and update gold vs each member of the party having to do it.

    4. Also, I'm not sure of the development process here. Was TSR actually doing QA testing to make sure that every game engine was a 1:1 match for the tabletop rules? I could imagine a smaller change like stacking Bless/Prayer slipping through pretty easily, especially in a game as buggy as this.

    5. That's a good question. Knowing TSR, they probably enforced it contractually (with fines if you don't comply, something like that; TSR was BIG on fining people). While I'm sure no D&D CRPG is a 1:1 match, you have to admit the various developers were rather meticulous about it.

      A funny detail is that Planescape Torment went out of its way to use spells from obscure sourcebooks (rather than the standard Gold Box fare) and even renamed some, but still everything in the game seems to be an official spell. By contrast, Lands of Lore went out of its way to NOT use anything vaguely resembling D&D spells (that's the team behind EOB/EOB2, that got kicked out and did not make EOB3).

    6. My impression from reading something lately--was it Jimmy Maher's coverage?--is that TSR was strict about adherence to AD&D rules with Pool of Radiance but slowly grew more lax as time went on. You can see some relaxation of rules in the later Gold Box games, so it doesn't surprise me that the didn't micromanage this one.

    7. For the record, I've checked and it's indeed a rule that the pilot basically cannot fight. That is, moving the ship negates your spellcasting until your next night's sleep.

  6. The game is on GOG's wishlist of games that need to be sold there. Multiple commenters mention bugs, one explicitly mentions "a crash leaving turn based boarding battles" that would need to be fixed by GOG's team.

    I guess that means there's no patch that fixes all bugs. It's not clear if the bugs are truly game breaking, maybe Vladimir's suggestion to flee works. But I fear this game is one in the category "more fun to read about than to play yourself".

    1. So maybe put this on the finish-later list and do it when the gog release comes

    2. And how exactly they can fix it? It will require disassembling entire game's code somehow. GOG does not know any magical tricks to fixing games. They just bundle the DOS games with pre-configured DOSBox and add some libraries/wrappers to Win games.

    3. Yes; I'd say this will only get fixed if a hardcore fan steps up. Fan patches exist for Planescape Torment and several Ultima games (not for crashes, mind you; mainly for lore improvement), but those games are massively more popular than this one.

      Heck, the entire Spelljammer setting was never all that popular; it has very few sourcebooks compared to other TSR settings. Which is a shame because it's a pretty cool concept.

    4. Radiant. Agreed. I loved the D&D in the cosmos settings, but could never find Spelljammer or (most) planescape boxed sets for sale. Even FR rulebooks were tough to get in my small town in the mid 90s. In contrast, Dragonlance was everywhere.

    5. GOG does on occasion reverse engineer when necessary. Though I suspect this doesn't happen often. Ideally they get the source code as part of their agreement and patch it themselves.

    6. SNEG has released 'Spelljammer' now for modern Windows systems via DOSbox, as well as a bunch of other D&D games from that era (Dragonstrike, Fantasy Empires, Deathkeep, Silver Box Classics compilation), see e.g.

      Unfortunately, initial feedback on gog and Steam doesn't sound as if they ironed out the bugs.

  7. "Why, by 1992, is gold still being assigned to individual characters? Has that ever made sense?" - it makes sense in games where gold has weight, and encumbrance has some effect beyond just limiting inventory space.

    1. If the game sets up looting as an after combat action, presumably you're hauling it all back to your ship where you store it anyway. Why not just have it assigned to a group pool?

      Even if you wanted to capture having to figure out how to haul out large amounts of heavy treasure while being attacked, your purchasing/selling and inventory management systems have no reason to track amounts individually.

    2. You'd think the ship itself would be a better place to store the lion's share ld your gold, rather than keeping it all on individual persons.

    3. Actually, I liked gold allocated to character. My bro and I took turn playing our groups in Bard's Tale, and sometimes we would "lend" for money characters or equipment to each other (in particular the Eye, because the monster which had it had a drain level attack and we never found out that you could restore level).

    4. I hated gold weight system in Albion (1995). I've just sold all my loot (I left most of it in the dungeon cuz encumbrace) and guess what? All my characters were overweigt and couldn't move! Gold is heavier than axes! I had two solutions: throw most of that gold (yeah right) or load save and first find some place to stash all my equipment before going to store. That was frustating!

  8. For a game this crash-prone I would suggest using a DOS Box version with savestates, so you can make a security backup save before the end of a battle.

    1. I was thinking the same: make a save state just before hitting that loot button. Reload until it succeeds.

    2. I have a suspicion that whatever bug is causing the game to crash is going to cause it to crash consistently, savestates or no.

    3. A savestate can let you pick another option than looting once you reload. The end result is that you won't have to fight the same fight over and over to try it out.

    4. You could also try combinations like checking if healing before looting is less likely to crash the game. Or does healing preclude looting?

    5. I don't want the power of a DOSBox version with save states. I frankly abuse them in just about every other emulator that has them. I'd rather keep my central PC gaming experience "pure."

      Anyway, I'm with Raifield. Save states save all the current conditions of the game. "Reloading" with a save state is just restoring all those conditions. I can't see where it wouldn't crash consistently in that scenario. Jarl and roberski are right that it would give me a few things to check, but if none of those worked, I'd still be in the same dlilema of having having to play the same battle multiple times to test different options.

    6. That's true, but save states are an easy way to (e.g.) test if clicking Heal first solves your issue, or if changing the CPU speed in the emulator makes a difference. They let you experiment without having to sit through an hour of battle again.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Combat's more engaging when there's 1-to-1 representation, so I generally dislike stacks and similar abstractions, like how Wizardry would show a single monster when you're supposed to be fighting five. That doesn't stop me from having fun with strategy games that use them, though, like the good installments of Heroes of Might and Magic or the King's Bounty reboot.

  10. Oddly enough I beat this game when I was younger, and didn't hit the crash bugs then. I think it might be an issue though with how it works on modern OS's as even at release the game didn't like most memory managers.

    Oh and it required over 600K of memory to work in DOS. A value that was really hard to get in the DOS days needless to say.

  11. Could it be an issue with the DOSBox? I ran across a game (and I know there are also some others) which crashed on v0.74 but it ran normally and was completable on v0.73.

  12. I'm shocked by the poor graphics in this one. It's quite a step down in quality even from the latter Gold Box games, and looks more reminiscent of amateur shareware games like Ancients 1: Death Watch.

    1. As some people have noted, this IS effectively an amateur shareware game, in that it was mostly written by one person in his own house. It boggles the mind how he got the license from notoriously strict TSR in the first place.

    2. It reminds me more of "Prophecy of the Shadow", especially the photos.

    3. The photos are very similar, but otherwise I’d take Prophecy of the Shadow over this for sure.

    4. Prophecy of the Shadow!. I was trying to remember what game had digitized pictures that reminded me of this.

      I had to look up what Ancients 1 was. I see that I covered it in 2017, but I have absolutely no memory of this game.

    5. I swear the combat is using Ultima VI NPC sprites. Did they cut a deal with Origin? It's uncanny.

    6. I love the idea that Al Escudero cribbed from Lord British twice.

  13. I appreciate all the suggestions for how to deal with the problem. So far, I have:

    1. Try an earlier verison of DOSBox
    2. Try a version of DOSBox with save states
    3. Try different sound settings in DOSBox
    4. Try a different emulator entirely
    5. Try fleeing and seeing if it gives you the treasure anyway
    6. Try a version of the game without the patch that is supposed to fix problems like this

    The problem with too many options is how long the necessary combat takes. I don't have the patience to try more than one thing, maybe two, before I get sick of wasting time on that battle. I'll try some combination of the above and let you know how it goes.

    1. Since the game was already infamous for bugs on native systems, it shouldn't make a difference which emulator or which version of the emulator you're using.

      Save states are the only clear time saver on this list.

    2. You might want to checkout this guy's playthroughs.

      He has a special episode dealing with bugs (episode 1.5). Maybe you can reach out to him somehow and see if he can give you tips. I saw him using GameWizard to tweak things.

    3. That looks promising. I'll watch it when I have a free hour.

    4. In that YouTube playthrough he did complete the game. In Part 1.5 he doesn't figure out why it keeps crashing on him during combat. In the beginning of Part 2 he talks about what he did to avoid the issue he was having with the game crashing during combat. (don't set spell casters to Quick Combat) Additionally he said that he edited Officer experience as they get stuck on level 5.

    5. Yeah, I almost finished watching the series. I think to be more accurate he learned not to leave your mages in quick combat at the end of the battle. It may be an issue of getting them out of quick combat before the end of combat, but it's probably safer to not have them in quick combat at all so you don't forget. In another episode, he made sure he removed the bugged spell count by subtracting the spells down to reasonable number down from 255 (computer overflow error) in the study spell menu (i.e. no game editing).

      Takeaways so far:
      1. Lightning spell is very useful
      2. Javelins of Lighting are bad in the hands of AI controlled crew - they tend to kill themselves and other crew members by using it in horrible situations.
      3. AI controlled can shoot arrows through some walls, but you can't with your controlled characters.
      4. This game is super buggy.
      5. Stinking Cloud doesn't make affected characters instant kill on first hit like regular Gold Box.
      6. This looks like a mash up of Pirates/Elite, Buck Rogers Gold Box Game, and D&D Gold Box gameplay wise.
      7. So many bad UI menu options.. do you really want to specify how many hit points to heal at the temple?
      8. The economy is so whacked. 70,000GP to restore levels but 700GP to raise from dead? Crummy rewards for some dangerous missions - 6000 GP to transport someone, okay but 6000 GP to get revenge on some dangerous slavers?? (Of course you get loot). The taxes are crazy stupid and make no sense.
      9. A lot of dead time in travel without separate program to speed it up. The LP'er says speeding up DOSBox doesn't work.
      10. This game was not really tested and must have been shipped out hastily for whatever dumb reason.

      I could list more, but I figured this is plenty :)

    6. And.. I will list one more after reading the entry. The "2nd Helmsman is dead" looks like a bug telling you that you possibly need to assign an officer to 2nd Helmsman. I saw this in the playthrough where the LP'er was getting that same message and he noticed the slot was unassigned.

    7. Note that Stinking Cloud making characters an insta-kill is an inaccuracy in Gold Box; by D&D rules, the spell doesn't do that.

    8. "Additionally he said that he edited Officer experience as they get stuck on level 5." I just assumed the game was deliberately designed to only allow the main character to level up.

    9. I gave it the good old college try to play this, and I can't get past any combat with undead so far. It always freezes as soon as an undead attacks one of my characters.

      I did notice that your officers do get experience, but it is inconsistent what they get. Mostly they get XP after combat with a very minimal increase like 15. I have noticed instances were one officer would get more, but no idea how or why and it only seems like combat is the way. My guess the experience is very bugged. Your character gets the lionshare of the experience, and I would have expected that officers would get more than they do if not as much as you. Kind of like Captain gets half and the rest is divied among the officers equally for instance.

      If this game wasn't so buggy, you could actually finish everything in 20-30 hours of play... possibly faster.

    10. I won it a couple of nights ago. Disabling the sound solved my crashing problem. It might in your case, too, since it could be crashing based on the undead attack sound.

      One of the other characters eventually leveled up once, but I agree something is broken in the leveling system.

  14. On the rumors the last one, about the giant ship shaped like a bat (should be a manta ray), is probably just Spelljammer lore. Given the size and speed, it's probably THE Spelljammer. A mysterious and ancient ship in the setting's lore, and the ultimate focus of the novels.


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