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Gold Box SSI's Gold Box Series Thread

What are your favorite Gold Box games?

  • Pool of Radiance

  • Curse of the Azure Bonds

  • Secret of the Silver Blades

  • Pools of Darkness

  • Champions of Krynn

  • Death Knights of Krynn

  • The Dark Queen of Krynn

  • Gateway to the Savage Frontier

  • Treasures of the Savage Frontier

  • Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

  • Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed

  • Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (FRUA)


Results are only viewable after voting.

Jaesun

Fabulous Moderator
Joined
May 14, 2004
Messages
36,920
Location
Seattle, WA USA
Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
Recently finished Secret. All active classes had reached level 15 before the party entered the Castle.

The (DEX 18) Paladin had a 100% success rate in taking care of all of the party's thieving needs. Oh the irony.


Are you saying trap checks and such (thieving skills), for some reason were only checking Dexterity, and he would pass it?
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Are you saying trap checks and such (thieving skills), for some reason were only checking Dexterity, and he would pass it?

I was thinking more in the way of implying that a high DEX might be part of the equation. I certainly didn't do an empirical study on the issue, but only some quick tests when in the Castle.

- DEX 18 level 15 Magic-Users failed regularly (EDIT: a pity, since they were the ones who could still benefit from the XP gain)
- DEX 18 level 15 Ranger never failed (tried perhaps 3-5 times)

The Paladin was in the top spot in the party list, so she was my first choice for the thieving stuff. I'm lazy, sometimes. She never failed a thieving skill check (Secret has many) throughout the whole game. But she wasn't level 15 throughout the whole game.

So it might be a thing of [class, class level, ability score(s)].

The point is, you can pass all thieving skill checks in Secret without having a Thief in the party, or the need of an item that emulates thieving skills like Gauntlets of Dexterity or Gauntlets of Thievery, which both aren't available in Secret.
 
Last edited:

Jaesun

Fabulous Moderator
Joined
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Messages
36,920
Location
Seattle, WA USA
Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
Well that is odd, perhaps they broke the skill checks in Secret? :lol:

They work fine in FRUA though, it does actually check the thief's skills if you put in a thief skill check.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
The crpgaddict in a posting about Secret:
The frequent copy protection is annoying. You have to answer a question from the adventurer's journal every time you start the game, and periodically it demands an answer from the rule book before you save.
(Source)

It might have been mentioned before or elsewhere, but [EDIT: self-censored - removed link, because it might break the Forum's rules].

Unfortunatley, this doesn't get rid of the answer-me-this-before-you-may-save that some of the Gold Boxes (CoK and Secret come to mind) feature, but it's still an improvement.
 
Last edited:

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Sorry, I was unsure and therefore self-censored my previous posting right before the Edit-timer countdown ran out.

Let's try it this way. If someone who had previously spent money for e.g. Champions of Krynn was to google for "Roberto's Library", he might be pleasantly surprised to find out that the game can be improved to be more user friendly with the help of a simple hex editor.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Just got reminded the hard way that Death Spell is not a party friendly spell. 150 HP and AC -14 just obfuscate the fact that active class level 4 is still only level 4...
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Typing start.exe Hoop Gem for Secret of the Silver Blades removes the copy protection. :M

Doesn't this also enable Debug Mode for the game? I'm already struggling not to accidentally hit the wrong keyboard shortcuts as it is ;)

In Pools, I just stumbled upon a random caravan in the wilderness. The merchants sold all kinds of +2 ranged weapons and ammunition. And Fine Long Bows for only 10K platinum.

Now I feel foolish hoarding +1 arrows and all kinds of ranged weapons in Secret. Well, the weapons sold for 10 times their value in Pools. And I was able to outfit my whole party with one of the key items to beat the final battles, right from the start. Kinda weird.
 

Jaesun

Fabulous Moderator
Joined
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Messages
36,920
Location
Seattle, WA USA
Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
Typing start.exe Hoop Gem for Secret of the Silver Blades removes the copy protection. :M

Doesn't this also enable Debug Mode for the game? I'm already struggling not to accidentally hit the wrong keyboard shortcuts as it is ;)

Yes, that does disable the copy protection, and opens a kind-of debug mode. The exact particulars of what it does, I do not honestly know. I don't believe it effects anything gameplay wise.

I briefly played Pools of Radiance with it's copy protection removal mode (start.exe STING), and did not notice anything game-changing.

Though someone here who is more knowledgeable about this mode might know more?
 

Kersey

Educated
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
74
Though someone here who is more knowledgeable about this mode might know more?

Parameter 1 set to Hoop
  • Skips the title screen
  • Allows turning on/off of the debugging
  • Allows player affect dumping
Parameter 2 set to Gem
  • Skips the copy protection
  • Allows ‘The Gods intervene!”, via alt-x
  • Allows area view in all locations
  • The code has support for ‘Turning on/off free training, via J in training menu’ but as the menu’s no longer use keyboard short-cuts, so I can’t see how to activate it
Source:http://simeonpilgrim.com/blog/2010/07/21/secerts-of-the-silver-blade-cheat-codes/
http://simeonpilgrim.com/blog/2010/07/21/secerts-of-the-silver-blade-cheat-codes/
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Occasionally, I get no sound effects in Pools, using Sound Blaster. Music works fine. Adding a "pause" after the line that's supposed to load the game's memory resident sound driver in START.BAT, gives one the opportunity to read the output:

Code:
C:\snd
Unable to install Sound Driver interupt vector
I guess it's a timing issue with Dosbox, perhaps related to CPU cycles.

I'm using a customized START.BAT as a workaround:

Code:
startup
if exist snd.com snd
pause
if exist snd.com snd
game
if exist snd.com snd U
startup

Since Dosbox lacks a builtin "sleep", "pause" has to step in, which unfortunately requires a manual keystroke. If the sound driver didn't load on the first try, it will load after the keystroke. Works reliable so far. I replaced the "control %1 %2 %3 %4" line of the original START.BAT with a simple "game", which skips the intro, but doesn't reset the DOS video mode when the game is quit. That's what the "startup" in the last line takes care of.

Line by line explanation:

  1. startup --- seems to do nothing but displaying the "TANDY 1000 Users" line, but ... (see last line)
  2. if exist snd.com snd --- load the sound driver if it exists
  3. pause --- wait for a keystroke, and give slow humans time to read the output from the previous line
  4. if exist snd.com snd --- if it failed before, try again
  5. game --- start the game, skip the intro
  6. if exist snd.com snd U --- unload the sound driver
  7. startup --- resets the DOS video mode (try starting game.exe manually, then exit the game, then you know why this line is here :) )
[EDIT (about 2 1/2 years later)]
Don't use this when the game's going to play a "movie" next, because it'll crash. Had to win the PoD final battle once more because of this...
[/EDIT]

Slightly unrelated to this, the game's intro and finale can both be viewed from the DOS prompt, using the "vace" command:

Code:
vace 4 intro 0 1
vace 4 final 0 1

"vace /?" explains parameters.
 
Last edited:

Hitoshura

Educated
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
54
Spoilers for Pool of Radiance ahead!

As the party enters the tower repurposed as a courtyard, a Pool of Radiance enhanced bronze dragon appears. It dispatch its close guard to fight off the invasion of its territory. The party deals with that situation with good old fashioned mass Hold Person and the ever so deadly darts from the Magic Users while the Fighters takes the beating. As the guards lay down dead, the dragon waits patiently as the Clerics outfit their newly acquired Plate Mail +2. The NPCs are also happy with their new Two Handed Swords +2.

Then the dressing contest is over, it's time to take down the dragon. A sprinkle of the Dust of Disappearance made the dragon completely powerless while the party hacked and slashed it to death. When it was dead, the party had to flee the scene, 'cause bug happened and this ended up disbanding the NPC as well.

That was a very unepic ending! Dungeon masters in '88 were probably wondering if the coming that game would make them irrelevant, and the answer is pretty obvious. Still it's a great game despite the long list of known flaws. At the end of the day, it's a good adventure, something that newer games have problem to do in the first place. Can't wait to import in Curse but one of the Clerics is probably not going to make the trip, I think I will create a Paladin instead.

I don't know what will happen in the next games gear wise, I already have a Long Sword +5, it's hard to get a better non campaign specific weapon than that in the D&D universe. I also got 2 Gauntlets of Ogre Power, that's also very noteworthy as it makes non-Fighter quite good at physical attacks.

Seeing the demo of Curse, I can see a cleric using a staff sling, something I didn't see in Pool. That's going to fix my lack of range weapons for clerics. However, the AI tries to take down a black dragon with it...
:shredder:

The game tries often to be too close to the source material and it ends in ridiculous situations. The whole "helpless + any physical attack = OHKO" is one of them. The other is to award XP for treasure, it's usually good as finding set treasure by the designers is good XP wise so you don't have to endure endless random encounters to level up. However, you end up with questionable situations where random encounters in the castle were giving 3.5K XP while the final boss gave something like 700. Again it's following the rules blindly too much, yeah, Ettins (or whatever giant they were) might have a lot of riches but if they are on patrol duty, they are probably not carrying 1K+ gold pieces on them... which ends up massively booting the XP awards at the end of the fight that is trivial to deal with 2 Fireballs in the first place.

Still, having encounters that can be bypassed with proper behavior (parlay, wait, etc...), having opponents surrenders or flee when the battle is not in their flavor are all things that should be in RPGs nowadays but it simply isn't. That the random encounters that stops after a while or an event is deal with is also cool. I also like the having to find a training hall to gain a level, it put more pressure on your cash reserves (at the beginning of the game at least) but this is done better in Might & Magic where the training cost is proportional to your level and each hall has a level limit so you must find better one in your explorations.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
I can't remember; do wands work in the no-spells-areas in Dave's Challenge (Pools of Darkness)?

Is there a point in keeping wands? The party's carrying almost a dozen, and inventory space is an issue. I was thinking to store them as soon as I get access to the vault, but don't really know as to why. With 4 Magic-Users, I rarely run out of spells, and against enemies with MR wands are really useless.

Also, thanks for the tip with Death Spell vs. Drow Clerics, works reasonably well.
 

Hitoshura

Educated
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
54
Wands and potions to do not work in the Lizardmen's Keep, a no magic zone in Pool. Well the NPC AI can still cast stuff but... AI... yeah, whatever.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
I don't know what will happen in the next games gear wise,

Prepare to be surprised...

I already have a Long Sword +5, it's hard to get a better non campaign specific weapon than that in the D&D universe. I also got 2 Gauntlets of Ogre Power, that's also very noteworthy as it makes non-Fighter quite good at physical attacks.

...the follow-up games will take care of the issue for you. :cool:
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Is there a point in keeping wands?

Not if you're never gonna use them.

That's... Not the kind of reply I was hoping for, but oh well. Hoarding consumables and never using (or needing) them happens a lot to me when playing those kind of games.

I'm at the portal leading to Thorne's Dimension. Just got the Pools version of the "Scroll of Prot Dragon Breath", while still carrying the two from Secret, which are now obsolete. I did a quick check of how often the Pools version can be used, and stopped counting after 100. I'd say it has either unlimited or roughly 255 uses.

Should be enough uses for any encounter with lots of Dracoliches and/or Blue Bane Minions. :cool:

Do Cloaks of Displacement offer any benefit over using a Cloak of Protection +2? In Pools, both types don't stack with armor regarding AC, but the CoP +2 should offer a bonus to saving throws.
 

octavius

Arcane
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
16,979
Location
Bjørgvin
Cloaks of Displacement should stack with magical armour. In addition the first attack against the wearer should be an automatic miss. I don't recall it not working in Pools.
But overall the best combo is Bracers + Cloaks of Protection.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
4/6 of my party haven't been wearing armor since Secret. Currently in Pools, only one PC still uses armor. She wouldn't if I had taken a detour through TSF after Secret.

Just completed Thorne. The Thief(18) got his Ranger(17) abilities back, the Cleric(16) still needs two levels until she's also a Paladin(17) again.

I really like the travelling-through-dimensions-naked-thing, although the one-dungeon-dimension that is Throne's Cave seems lame.

I think I'll deliberately leave all my items back in the vault - even the stuff that survives travelling through Limbo - for the added challenge / fun in finding new stuff for the Tanetal and Kalistes parts. The over-optimized party I'm running made things very easy so far, almost to the point of making me regret my decision.
 

Null Null

Arbiter
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
542
Addenda:

In my experience, sound tends to shut off in Pools somewhere between speed=9000 and 12000 (it's inconsistent). Try not speeding your game up so much. Why this would be, I have no idea.

Wands are in fact useful in Pools of Darkness in one particular area.

The final fight in Dave's Challenge deletes all spells from memory, but does not disable the Use command. So stocking up on wands is a great idea to spam multiple enemies. You can buy Wands of Ice Storm in New Phlan after winning the game, but holding onto all those wands you picked up in Secret gives you more variety.
 

Null Null

Arbiter
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
542
Spoilers for Pool of Radiance ahead!

As the party enters the tower repurposed as a courtyard, a Pool of Radiance enhanced bronze dragon appears. It dispatch its close guard to fight off the invasion of its territory. The party deals with that situation with good old fashioned mass Hold Person and the ever so deadly darts from the Magic Users while the Fighters takes the beating. As the guards lay down dead, the dragon waits patiently as the Clerics outfit their newly acquired Plate Mail +2. The NPCs are also happy with their new Two Handed Swords +2.

Then the dressing contest is over, it's time to take down the dragon. A sprinkle of the Dust of Disappearance made the dragon completely powerless while the party hacked and slashed it to death. When it was dead, the party had to flee the scene, 'cause bug happened and this ended up disbanding the NPC as well.

That was a very unepic ending! Dungeon masters in '88 were probably wondering if the coming that game would make them irrelevant, and the answer is pretty obvious. Still it's a great game despite the long list of known flaws. At the end of the day, it's a good adventure, something that newer games have problem to do in the first place. Can't wait to import in Curse but one of the Clerics is probably not going to make the trip, I think I will create a Paladin instead.

I don't know what will happen in the next games gear wise, I already have a Long Sword +5, it's hard to get a better non campaign specific weapon than that in the D&D universe. I also got 2 Gauntlets of Ogre Power, that's also very noteworthy as it makes non-Fighter quite good at physical attacks.

Seeing the demo of Curse, I can see a cleric using a staff sling, something I didn't see in Pool. That's going to fix my lack of range weapons for clerics. However, the AI tries to take down a black dragon with it...
:shredder:

The game tries often to be too close to the source material and it ends in ridiculous situations. The whole "helpless + any physical attack = OHKO" is one of them. The other is to award XP for treasure, it's usually good as finding set treasure by the designers is good XP wise so you don't have to endure endless random encounters to level up. However, you end up with questionable situations where random encounters in the castle were giving 3.5K XP while the final boss gave something like 700. Again it's following the rules blindly too much, yeah, Ettins (or whatever giant they were) might have a lot of riches but if they are on patrol duty, they are probably not carrying 1K+ gold pieces on them... which ends up massively booting the XP awards at the end of the fight that is trivial to deal with 2 Fireballs in the first place.

Still, having encounters that can be bypassed with proper behavior (parlay, wait, etc...), having opponents surrenders or flee when the battle is not in their flavor are all things that should be in RPGs nowadays but it simply isn't. That the random encounters that stops after a while or an event is deal with is also cool. I also like the having to find a training hall to gain a level, it put more pressure on your cash reserves (at the beginning of the game at least) but this is done better in Might & Magic where the training cost is proportional to your level and each hall has a level limit so you must find better one in your explorations.


You'll get another use of that dust in Curse. Hold onto it for one of the optional fights--that fight can be beaten only by using the Dust.
 

octavius

Arcane
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
16,979
Location
Bjørgvin
I don't recall a Dust in Pool. Where do you find it?
And you don't require a Dust against the MBC; it's doable if you are patient and exploit the piss poor AI of the GB games.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
Addenda:

In my experience, sound tends to shut off in Pools somewhere between speed=9000 and 12000 (it's inconsistent). Try not speeding your game up so much. Why this would be, I have no idea.

I thought as much as that the sound issue might be related to CPU cycles. I've a config with CPU cycles fixed at 12.000 that usually works fine with games from that era. Compared to other Gold Box games, the engine iteration they used for DQK was the one that felt really sluggish with the default of 3.000 cycles.

Since I also was looking for a way to get rid of the intro in Pools, I thought maybe someone else might be able to profit from the stuff I described above.

I just don't like to use the debug mode approach that many people prefer to get rid of the copy protection, and prefer the hex-edit method instead.

For a quick WTF moment, try starting Pools with "game 1".

Wands are in fact useful in Pools of Darkness in one particular area.

The final fight in Dave's Challenge deletes all spells from memory, but does not disable the Use command. So stocking up on wands is a great idea to spam multiple enemies. You can buy Wands of Ice Storm in New Phlan after winning the game, but holding onto all those wands you picked up in Secret gives you more variety.

:bro:

Thanks! That was exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for.

Luckily, I kept all the Wands of Fireball/Ice Storm so far, and left them in the vault. Wands of Lightning and Necklaces of Missiles I dropped due to lack of free inventory slots, a pity. Should've dropped all the arrows instead.
 

Ruhfuss

Savant
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
143
Location
Pool of Murkiness
You'll get another use of that dust in Curse. Hold onto it for one of the optional fights--that fight can be beaten only by using the Dust.
And you don't require a Dust against the MBC; it's doable if you are patient and exploit the piss poor AI of the GB games.

I'm still curious if anybody was able to beat that particular optional fight in the FRUA conversion of Curse?
 

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