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Party transfer tips & recommendations for RPG series

Rincewind

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Let's collect all recommendations, tips and gotchas regarding party transfers in RPG series! This is only about objective, tangible differences that affect gameplay -— people who like to "roleplay" would of course want to keep the same characters throughout a series whenever possible. Let's try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. Information about this most likely already exists in those 300+ page mega-threads, but who's gonna find that when they need it... Plus it makes for an interesting discussion :)

Here's my attempt at coming up with a set of criteria for categorisation. Of course, for many games these criteria could overlap somewhat.
  • Game series where transferring the party is rewarding, resulting in a superior experience, thus highly recommended (e.g. a victorious party is recognised by NPCs, pathways that can only be unlocked with items found in earlier instalments, overarching C&C, etc.)

  • Games where party transfers are necessary (or at least recommended) because subsequent games expect a sufficiently levelled-up party (e.g. Secret of Silver Blades to Pools of Darkness)

  • Games where transfers are viable, but you need to exercise caution because it's possible to seriously gimp your progress in unexpected ways (e.g. aging mechanic in Phantasie games, picking a merry band of demi-humans in Pool of Radiance with the intent of taking them through the whole series)

  • Games where transferring the party is not recommended because it either lessens the experience (e.g. by making the game too easy), is outright buggy, or the way it's implemented is just "meh" in general

I will keep updating this list as new recommendations are coming in:


Alternate Reality

The City → The Dungeon
  • There are almost no benefit to importing as you are basically "reborn".

Baldur’s Gate

I → II
  • Baldur's Gate transfer is a good example of how to do character transfer well, but sadly, one of the last series to do so, as for some reason most games decided to stop doing that at the start of the century. You start out a few levels higher in BG2, but will quickly make that up with a new party. You also get to keep a few good items from the first game, but only some of them and nothing too overpowering. Importing gives you an advantage, but not too much of one

Banner Saga, The

I → II → III


Bard’s Tale, The

I → II → III
I → III

Can also import from:
  • Wizardry I, II, III
  • Ultima III
Tips
  • I → II: Definitely not recommended since it makes the game too easy. And the beginner dungeon is the best one in II. Also, Spectre Snare, best sword in the game, gets transferred too, which makes the game laughable.

Centauri Alliance

Apple II version can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I, II, III
  • Wizardry I, II, III
  • Ultima III
  • Might & Magic I
C64 version can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I, II, III
  • Ultima III

Dark Designs

I → II → III
IV → V → VI


Dark Sun

I → II
  • Transferring allows you to have two El's Drinkers.

Deathlord

Apple II version can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I
  • Wizardry I
  • Ultima III
C64 version can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I
  • Ultima III

Dragon Wars

Apple II & C64 versions can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I, II, III
Amiga & DOS versions can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I, II
Tips
  • Importing is not recommended

Dungeon Master

Dungeon Master → Chaos Strikes Back
  • No equipment or other items are transferred with characters imported from Dungeon Master, and the new pre-generated champions available in Chaos Strikes Back have better stats than your imported characters (unless, perhaps, you have engaged in a great deal of grinding that is completely unnecessary to win the earlier game). Nonetheless, it's entirely possible to win Chaos Strikes Back using the same characters with which you completed Dungeon Master, so I recommend importing them for role-playing reasons (and because their portraits look better than the new characters, anyway).

Dragon Age

Origins → II
  • Dragon Age: Origins has some decent modules that come with it that are worth playing. Your character from the main campaign is exported to play those, works like NWN. Leliana's Song is one of them, which is meant to be played before the main campaign.


Eternal Dagger, The

Can import from Wizard’s Crown


Eye of the Beholder

I → II → III
  • I → II: Importing all the overpowered +4/+5 items from EoB I nullifies the excitement of finding upgrades in the second instalment, therefore not recommended. Alternatively, you can drop these items at the start in the entrance hall of the temple, and then pick them up before making a final save at the end if you wish to transfer them to EoB III to make the combat less tedious.

    Platform restrictions: I to II party transfer is not implemented in the Amiga AGA version (probably works with the original floppy and non-AGA WHDLoad versions, haven't tried). There's no Amiga to PC savegame transfer tool either, so only the DOS version is viable for a run through the whole series.

  • II → III: Great idea, because some levelcaps in the third part were lower than in the second.

Gold Box

PoR → CotAB → SotSB → PoD
CoK → DKoK → DQoK
GttSF → TotSS
Hillsfar → CotAB
CotAB → Hillsfar
PoR → Hillsfar
Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday → Matrix Cubed
  • Pools: Some reorganisation is needed in Curse when transferring a party through the series. Multi-Class Elves rule in PoR, but soon become obsolete in CotAB. You don't need minmaxed characters in Pools of Darkness. It's enough to have 18 Dex to get Initiative.
  • GttSF → TotSS: Treasures of the Savage Frontier refers to the imported party as the Heroes of Ascore, the characters who finished Gateway.
  • CotAB ↔ Hillsfar: It was possible to transfer a character from the C64 version of with an ion stone of dexterity equipped. This would keep the +1 dexterity increase for Hillsfar, but there were no such items in Hillsfar so the fact it was granted by the ion stone was ignored. When you transferred the character back into Curse, it would keep the dexterity boost, but put the ion stone bonus back on as well. You could keep importing back and forth until the character's dexterity hit 24.

Ishar

I → II → III
  • II: Transferring your characters makes the beginning of the game easier. But it's not very satisfying because the psychology system is even more annoying than in the first game. The fact that your characters have faced countless dangers together in the first game should logically make them a united team in the sequel, but it's absolutely not the case: they'll engage in so much infighting that it'll be better to fire half of them and replace them with more compatible newcomers.

Legend of Faerghail

Amiga version can import from:
  • Bard’s Tale I, II
  • Phantasie I, III

Knights of the Old Republic

I → II
  • (Participation award): You can "import" your KOTOR 1 character's gender and LS/DS alignment via a conversation early on, which affects a few events throughout the game.

Mass Effect

I → II


Magic Candle

I → The Keys to Maramon → II → III


Might & Magic

I → II
  • II assumes an imported party; even the first town is really too brutal for a new party.
  • IV and V: Not only could you transfer from the end of one game to the other, the games combine to allow crossing back and forth, simultaneously playing both adventures. Darkside content will eventually render Clouds as very easy.
  • III, VI, VII and VIII are completely standalone, and so is the fan-made Swords of Xeen

Neverwinter Nights
  • The main campaign and expansion campaigns for NWN1 were structured around either creating a new character for each chapter or importing a character exported from the previous chapter.

Phantasie

I → II → III
I → III
  • Like Wizardy, later games acknowledge victorious characters, and as long as you use the right races and/or don't waste too much time (use Vision spell to explore, cast Transportation to avoid too much overland travel, and rest at Inns as little as possible) it should be doable without having to retire characters. And the extra HP from an extra level will help a lot at the start of II and III.

Pillars of Eternity

I → II
  • By importing the saves from the original game and the White March DLC all of your previous choices will be included into the new storyline.
  • Alternatively, you can select predefined plot outcomes from the first game.

Ravenloft

I → II
Menzoberranzan → II
  • I: For best results, run a two man party. You get more experience with two people. Running with full four party splits the experience; that and also the companions from the first game can't get imported.
  • I → II: Transferring the party is not recommended as it makes the second game too easy. Only the original two characters you created can be imported. So it's not really worth it to use companions in the first game. Additionally, special items such as Symbol of Ravenkind, or Bags of Holding, don't get carried over. Plus you'll be robbing yourself of that cool gypsy character creator in each game.

Quest for Glory

I → II → III → IV → V
  • If you want the true zero-to-hero experience, you really do need to start with I and take him all the way through the series, possibly even 3-4 times if you're a completionist (4th time is for the paladin class introduced in II). The games have different unique areas for each class, and would give references to previous games.
  • Your skills and attributes will probably start out higher than making a new character (but might actually be lower since it's a level by use system), but, more importantly, it's the only way to keep certain attributes, such as having certain spells as a non-wizard with magic or starting as a paladin in III-V.

Realms of Arkania

I → II → III


Temple of Apshai

Temple of Apshai → Upper Reaches of Apshai
Temple of Apshai → Curse of Ra


Ultima

IV → V → VI
IV → VI


Warrior of Ras

I → II → III → IV


Witcher, The
  • II → III (participation award): Rather than import data from a save file, The Witcher 3 allows you to alter the world according to the decisions you made in the preceding game by having you answer a series of questions.

Wizardry

I → II → III
I → III
VI → VII → VIII
  • II, III: Could not be started without transferring the party (at least in the DOS version).
  • III: Later games acknowledge victorious characters, but in III stats will be capped at 15 (you start getting bonuses at 16, so 4 and 15 is in practise the same), so a new party may actually be easier in that game, which is very hard in the beginning. This is especially true for the DOS port, as any stat below 18 has a 33% chance of dropping on level up. Generating a new party is highly recommended, or alternatively, boosting the core ability scores for each class to 18.
  • VII → VIII: Characters are reset to Level 5. And if you did a lot of class changing in Crusaders, you probably settled on a party composition to stick with throughout Wizardry 8. Of course, there is a special incentive for a player who takes characters through the entire Cosmic Forge trilogy.
 
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octavius

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The Bard's Tale: Definitely not recommended since it makes it too easy. And the beginner dungeon is the best one in BT2.

Wizardry 1-3, 5: Later games acknowledge victorious characters, but in 3 stats will be capped at 15 (you start getting bonuses at 16, so 4 and 15 is in practise the same), so a new party may actually be easier in that game, which is very hard in the beginning.

Gold Box: I like to transfer characters, but some reorganiztion will be needed in Curse. Multi-Class Elves rule in PoR, but soon become obsolete in CoaB.
You don't need minmaxed characters in Pools of Darkness. It's enough to have 18 Dex to get Initiative.

Phantasie: Like Wizardy later games acknowledge victorious characters, and as long as you use the right races and/or don't waste too much time (use Vision spell to explore, cast Transportation to avoid too much overland travel, and rest at Inns as little as possible) it should be doable without having to retire characters. And the extra HP from an extra level will help a lot at the start of P2 and P3.

Might&Magic 1-2. MM2 assumes an imported party; even the first town is really too brutal for a new party.
 

Ladonna

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C64 Curse of Azure Bonds to Gateway to the Savage Frontier. Not recommended unless you want to steamroll the game. I don't know if this transfer is possible on other computer versions.
 

newtmonkey

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Wizardry 1-3, 5: Later games acknowledge victorious characters, but in 3 stats will be capped at 15 (you start getting bonuses at 16, so 4 and 15 is in practise the same), so a new party may actually be easier in that game, which is very hard in the beginning.

This is especially true in the DOS port, as any stat below 18 has a 33% chance of dropping on level up. Playing through DOS Wiz 3 with an imported party can be quite a nightmare. If I ever played through Wiz 3 again (doubtful), I'd either generate a new party, or transfer my party and use a character editor to boost the core ability scores for each class to 18.
 

Rincewind

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Wizardry 1-3, 5: Later games acknowledge victorious characters, but in 3 stats will be capped at 15 (you start getting bonuses at 16, so 4 and 15 is in practise the same), so a new party may actually be easier in that game, which is very hard in the beginning.

This is especially true in the DOS port, as any stat below 18 has a 33% chance of dropping on level up. Playing through DOS Wiz 3 with an imported party can be quite a nightmare. If I ever played through Wiz 3 again (doubtful), I'd either generate a new party, or transfer my party and use a character editor to boost the core ability scores for each class to 18.

Any experience with the C64/C128 or Apple II versions?
 

mediocrepoet

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Codex 2012 MCA Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
I'm not sure this is really what you're looking for, but since it's in the OP...

Honorable mention:
Quest for Glory

Highly recommended. Your skills and attributes will probably start out higher than making a new character (but might actually be lower since it's a level by use system), but more importantly it's the only way to keep certain attributes, such as having certain spells as a non-wizard with magic or starting as a paladin in 3-5.

Besides, if you want the true zero to hero experience, you really do need to start with QfG1 and take him all the way through the series, possibly even 3-4 times if you're a completionist. ;)
 

KeighnMcDeath

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I swore I read somewhere about transferring Wizardry characters to the first Bardstale on the AppleII version. There might even have been mention of Ultima characters.

Transferring endless loop could be possible for Pool of Radiance to Hillsfar to Azure bonds then back to Hillsfar again. I don't recall if I had actually done this. I did transfer from Pool to Hills and play there and finish with each party member but I just can't recall if they successfully transferred to Azure Bonds and got to keep the HP bonus or whatever else was granted from the wishes (I think it was a ring of wishes or just a boost to hp).

Dark Designs had a transfer on DOS from 1-2 I believe.

I'd be hard pressed if any NES RPG with a code system had a trasfer (tbh... any console rpg I just don't recall). Warriors of the eternal sun had a code but no sequel).

There is Wizard's Crown to Eternal Dagger of Course.

I want to say Magic Candle had the option but I never finished the game and didn't have the sequels until DOS.

The Magic Candle is a series of old school RPGs developed by Mindcraft much like Ultima. You control a party of adventurers in a top-down perspective environment. You can explore towns, fight monsters, talk to people, manage your inventory and even get someone of your party to work for a while in order to gain some money.
Mindcraft also developed two strategy games set in the Magic Candle universe: Siege and Ambush at Sorinor.
The games in the series are:

I tried to get into Ambush at Sorinor on the Amiga but lost interest.

Ah!
Bringing Characters from Other Games You may have played other Mindcraft games in the past, with heroes whom you have grown fond of. You don 't have to consign them to history: you can bring them into "The Magic Candle II" from either "The Magic Candle-Volume 1" or "The Keys to Maramon." Or both. When you select "Bring'' on the title screen, a new game will begin, with old familiar characters. You'll have to tell the game where to find your old friends (disk and directory), and you may have to confirm your heroes' full names and nicknames.

Bringing Characters from Magic Candle II
You may have played Magic Candle II, with heroes whome you have grown fond of. You Don't have to consign them to history: you can bring them into The Magic Candle III.

When you select "Bring" on the title screen, a new game will begin, with old familiar characrters. You'll have to tell the game where to find your old friends (disk and directory).


Review by Underdogs (2012-12-20)

Ambush at Sorinor is an improved sequel to Siege with a lot of needed improvements such as campaign mode and better unit variety. Athough it's just a string of all missions played in consecutive order, the campaign mode is interesting and actually tells a coherent fantasy story.

Gameplay is still limited to tactical combat, where you are either a defender or an attacker. Instead of commanding a set number of units as in Siege, here you hire a number of mercenaries with your available funds and deploy them on the map. The type of mercenary available for hire depends on the type of mission taken, thereby ensuring that each mission will be refreshing and require different tactics to succeed.

There are wildly differing combatants in the game (nearly 100 types), each with their own prices, ratings (speed, attack, defense, weapons, armor) and abilities. In addition to traditional fantasy units e.g. orcs, goblins, etc., there are humorous units you can use, including battle cattle, defense lawyers, mermans and war chickens(!) Some units have special abilities you can exploit, although most of them are just different ranged attacks. A few, such as wraithes who can blend in with their surroundings, are unique and are therefore very valuable. A nice addition to the Siege engine is the ability to buy and place traps at the start of every mission.

Overall, Ambush at Sorinor is a big improvement from Siege, although it still suffers from poor AI and cumbersome interface. A well-written fantasy plot, a wide variety of battle terrain (from forests to deserts), and additional gameplay features are a welcome change, though. The built-in scenario editor has also been improved and is now much easier to use. Arguably the best game in Mindcraft's tactical combat series, and well worth a try for all budding fantasy generals and anyone who likes this genre but doesn't have a lot of free time to invest in complex games.
 
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octavius

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Magic Candle had some recurring characters, but I can't remember if they (except for the PC) retained their stats if doing a transfer? I remember you had to re-recruit them, though.
 

Ol' Willy

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Dark Sun man
 

Rincewind

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KeighnMcDeath

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AH! How could I forget the manual way to transfer characters from Temple of Apshai to each level 1-4, Upper Reaches of Apshai, Curse of Ra, Hellfire Warrior, Keys to Acheron, and Danger in Drindisti.

A few quick notes on transfers we've all mentioned more or less:
Atari Age talk
CRPG Addict on the transfer
Narkive Narrative Archive on Transfers
Old manual AppleII/c64
"T" to T(ransfer) characters to a Character disk from a Wizardry character backup disk or an Ultima III player disk. At the prompt type W for Wizardry or U for Ultima III. If you are transferring characters with a Wizardry character backup disk, type 1 for Wizardry I and II characters and 2 for Wizardry III characters. Follow the prompts as they appear.
NOTE: Character data will not be changed in any way on. your Wizardry or Ultima III disks. Just to be safe, though, you may wish to write-protect those disks before using the Transfer command. (NOTE: 'T' COMMAND only applies to Apple version).
 
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KeighnMcDeath

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To a much lesser extent Nintendo and the Pokemon franchise had pedometers that you could tack up walking watts and gamble and Transfer into one of the pokemon games (maybe it was yellow or some other one).

Pretty dorky of me to say but in Adventure Construction set you can transfer your characters to any module if on the same platform. One suggestion is to actually have a character Disk for backups. You finish Rivers of Light or Land of Adventuria and go onto something someone created (pity most archives are gone except what I put together).
 

Zed Duke of Banville

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Dungeon Master ⇒ Chaos Strikes Back

No equipment or other items are transferred with characters imported from Dungeon Master, and the new pre-generated champions available in Chaos Strikes Back have better stats than your imported characters (unless, perhaps, you have engaged in a great deal of grinding that is completely unnecessary to win the earlier game). Nonetheless, it's entirely possible to win Chaos Strikes Back using the same characters with which you completed Dungeon Master, so I recommend importing them for role-playing reasons (and because their portraits look better than the new characters, anyway). :M
 
Self-Ejected

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I'm very into cock and ball torture
Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession -> Ravenloft: Stone Prophet.
From the manual:
PeQftBl.png

khAwgWu.png

For best results. Run a two man party in Strahd's Possession. You get more experience with two people. Running with full four party splits the experience; that and also the companions from the first game can't get imported. Only the original two characters you created can be imported. So it's not really worth it to use companions in the first game. I think you can reach about level 10-11 in the first game? Don't remember. I *do* remember that the campaign is relatively low level. Stone Prophet on the other hand is high level. Even without importing, my party was still able to reach level 20 or so - they weren't multclassed though. I don't really recommend it because the games aren't that difficult. Additionally, special items such as Symbol of Ravenkind, or Bags of Holding, don't get carried over. Plus you'll be robbing yourself of that cool gypsy character creator in each game.

See:


I love that shit. The theme. The mysterious woman. The cards. All good stuff. Love Ravenloft so much!
:love:
 

Fowyr

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Wizardry 2, at least DOS version, could not be started without Wiz1 party.
Dark Sun transfer allows you to have two El's Drinkers.
Bard's Tale 2 transfer made game laughable, because Spectre Snare, best sword in the game, was transferred too.
Might and Magic 1 -> M&M2 is a very bad idea. You lose exp, money and stats.
Bard's Tale -> Dragon Wars - bad idea as well.
Eye of the Beholder 2 into Eye of the Beholder 3 - great idea, because some levelcaps in the third part were lower than in the second.
Also you forgot Baldur's Gate. Dunno how classic it is.
 

octavius

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Might and Magic 1 -> M&M2 is a very bad idea. You lose exp, money and stats.

Huh?
Imported characters start as lvl 7 instead of as lvl 1 characters in a town scaled for lvl 7 characters. And IIRC you start with 1,000 gold.
 

Dorateen

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Wizardry 7 to Wizardry 8: Characters are reset to Level 5. And if you did a lot of class changing in Crusaders, you probably settled on a party composition to stick with throughout Wizardry 8. Of course, there is a special incentive for a player who takes characters through the entire Cosmic Forge trilogy.

Within the Gold Box series, Treasures of the Savage Frontier is written to refer to the party as the Heroes of Ascore, the characters who finished Gateway.

Honorable Mention for Might & Magic IV and V? Not only could you transfer from the end of one game to the other, the games combine to allow crossing back and forth, simultaneously playing both adventures. Darkside content will eventually render Clouds as very easy.
 

Fowyr

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Might and Magic 1 -> M&M2 is a very bad idea. You lose exp, money and stats.

Huh?
Imported characters start as lvl 7 instead of as lvl 1 characters in a town scaled for lvl 7 characters. And IIRC you start with 1,000 gold.
Interesting! I remember that transferred party was worse in some regard. Maybe my memory plays tricks with me.
 

Viata

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Might and Magic 1 -> M&M2 is a very bad idea. You lose exp, money and stats.

Huh?
Imported characters start as lvl 7 instead of as lvl 1 characters in a town scaled for lvl 7 characters. And IIRC you start with 1,000 gold.
Interesting! I remember that transferred party was worse in some regard. Maybe my memory plays tricks with me.
I didn't know that you could transfer from Bard's Tale to Dragon Wars(since I never played this one), maybe you mixed these two for the "not a good idea".
 

mondblut

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And, for bonus points: how about esoteric inter-series transfers, has anyone ever attempted any of the below?

Once upon the time, Grimoire was supposed to support character import from a number of classic series. Wasn't implemented in the end.
 

mondblut

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C64 Curse of Azure Bonds to Gateway to the Savage Frontier. Not recommended unless you want to steamroll the game. I don't know if this transfer is possible on other computer versions.

I did a cross-series transfer on PC. Can't remember which went where, but in terms of years and engine this sounds the most plausible route. One thing I remember vividly is that some weapon has become "Sword of Tyr of Tempus".

Similarly undocumented semi-feature, you can import characters from Menzoberranzan to Ravenloft 2.
 

mondblut

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the companions from the first game can't get imported. Only the original two characters you created can be imported. So it's not really worth it to use companions in the first game.

You can hex edit a single byte in a saved game to turn an NPC into a PC and make him importable. I run through both Ravenlofts with disguised Strahd as fulltime party member :) That was in a buggy/poorly cracked version of RL1 where most NPCs quit the party whenever you entered the village, though. That edit was the only way to keep them around.
 

Fowyr

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even the first town is really too brutal for a new party.
Hm, I just grinded level or two just in the inn. Skeleton closet was very useful too.
I didn't know that you could transfer from Bard's Tale to Dragon Wars(since I never played this one), maybe you mixed these two for the "not a good idea".
I think I tried to transfer party using my old BT1 party, attributes were worse, and, most importantly, number of skill points was meh.
I'm pretty sure that it had several options to transfer. One moment, I'll try to run it.
EDIT:
Just run dwtran.com
WUDTqL8R_o.png
 
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