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Gold Box SSI's Gold Box Series Thread

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Saxon1974, Dec 3, 2007.

?

What are your favorite Gold Box games?

  1. Pool of Radiance

  2. Curse of the Azure Bonds

  3. Secret of the Silver Blades

  4. Pools of Darkness

  5. Champions of Krynn

  6. Death Knights of Krynn

  7. The Dark Queen of Krynn

  8. Gateway to the Savage Frontier

  9. Treasures of the Savage Frontier

  10. Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

  11. Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed

  12. Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures (FRUA)

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. ProphetSword Arcane Developer

    ProphetSword
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    Any particular reason you went with a four person party instead of a six person party?
     
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  2. Denim Destroyer Educated

    Denim Destroyer
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    I figured it would be easier to manage four people instead of six but having another fighter and mage seems like it would be more beneficial to me so I might just go ahead and do that.
     
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  3. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    Even better, you can have eight in the party with extra hirelings.
     
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  4. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Cael
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    You divide up the XP amongst the number of people in the party. Of course, most GB games have so much XP that it doesn't matter, but that is one reason to have a smaller party.
     
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  5. Barabus Learned Patron

    Barabus
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    who bish dis is
     
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  6. Old Hans Cipher

    Old Hans
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    I remember the party size effects the random encounter size. 6 party gives you full random encounter, but a 5 party cuts it down by a massive amount
     
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  7. Null Null Arbiter

    Null Null
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    Your first three (sometimes four) characters wind up in the front lines on most combats, so below a certain size your characters all take frontline hits.

    F, F/T, C, M is probably reasonable, though as a new player I'd add that extra fighter and mage in. I'd probably add cleric/fighter and fighter/mage if you're not planning to bring the party into other games. If you want to play Curse change the fighter/cleric to a second fighter, if you want to play Secret or later make the fighter/thief a fighter/mage/thief and change the fighter/mage to a fighter.

    You can beat the game with fewer characters, it's just harder. I wouldn't recommend it for other games, those don't scale their enemy party sizes.
     
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  8. Denim Destroyer Educated

    Denim Destroyer
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    That is what I ended up doing. Went with 2 fighters, a F/T, C, and 2 magic users. I did almost immediately notice the change in encounter size but the extra few party members helped balance things out a little, well except when I get ambushed by 20 goblins.
     
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  9. DavidBVal 4 Dimension Games Patron Developer

    DavidBVal
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    The problem with barely multiclassing at all is, by the time you hit mid game, your party will have reached max level. It makes progression a bit boring, imho. A F/MU or a F/C will pretty much max out when it should, by the time you are ready for Valjeevo Castle.
     
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  10. newtmonkey Arcane

    newtmonkey
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    Curse of the Azure Bonds
    After what seems like ages, I decided to resume my playthrough. I had brought my winning Pool of Radiance party into this (and even took my dwarf fighter/thief through the Hillsfar game to give him a slight boost!), and had got two of the bonds removed but sort of lost interest once I got to Yulash and the Pit of Moander. Upon resuming my quest, I realized why I had put this aside for so long—that area is pretty annoying. You get locked in there until you complete it (including a back-to-back boss fight, some unskippable battles, and then one more boss encounter before you can leave) and can't really rest reliably while inside the pit. It seemed impossible, but that's because I forgot all about prebuffing in the months since I last played this lol. The killer combo of Haste/Prayer/Bless/Enlarge got me through the boss encounters without much trouble, and I had my third bond removed.

    I do like this game, but feel that it's a step down from Pool of Radiance. CotAB does allow you to choose the order in which you'll tackle the locations, but there seems to be a certain general order in which you're supposed to do them. I also miss how the objectives varied from area to area in PoR; in this game, it seems like you are just exploring an area, fighting a boss, then moving to the next area and boss, etc. Finally, the lack of a real wilderness to explore is disappointing.

    It's still good though. Instead of going straight to take care of the fourth bond, I'll probably explore some of the (optional?) dungeons you can find by searching around towns.
     
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  11. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    Yulash is in war mode and infiltrated by Zhentil (buffed) terror teams, so it makes sense to get through as quickly as possible without resting, and not walk around with a huge Search on. Enlarge is the superior lvl 1 spell in such a scenario.
    To me the most dreaded enemy was the Giant Slug, which could so massive damage if unlucky.
     
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  12. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    Hope you encounter the Mulmaster Beholder Corps!
     
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  13. newtmonkey Arcane

    newtmonkey
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    Dorateen
    I found the dungeon but didn't explore it. :)
     
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  14. Fluent Scholar Patron The Real Fanboy

    Fluent
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    if you're a fan of the Gold Box games, u really have to play FRUA, but mainly Ray Dyer's "The Realm" series. It is based on meticulous handcrafting of classic pen and paper modules, such as The Secret Of Saltmarsh, Temple Of Elemental Evil and so on. I've completed Saltmarsh and a couple others and am currently going thru ToEE, and it is fan-freaking-tastic. :) Sooo many scripted encounters, deep environmental storytelling, plenty of dialogue and awesome, tuned combat encounters. In short it's simply a must-play if you like Gold Box. I am 20 Youtube videos deep and still am only on the 2nd floor of the ToEE. :) It's massive and great!
     
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  15. Fluent Scholar Patron The Real Fanboy

    Fluent
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    Sorry, I can't edit older posts, so let me add just a little more information about Ray's "The Realm" series.

    - Features lower levels of loot. Magical items are harder to come by, small upgrades in weaponry make a big difference, and u certainly aren't drowning in magical items.
    - Restrictions for race and class have been lifted, so any race can be any class and level it to past 20. No more getting capped at level 7 or what have u.
    - Painstakingly made to be almost exact to the tabletop versions. Only differences are encounters that couldnt be added due to the FRUA engine. Everything else from the tabletop modules have made it to Ray's designs.
    - You can take one of three paths through "The Realm" - East, West or North. It is all on a giant map, and eventually you end up in the North, which is the higher level content. But u can take any path u want to get there, as well as skip modules or replace them with another one of your choice.
    - Goes beyond level 20! (eventually, u start at level 1 of course.)

    Hope that helps. I'd add it to my previous post but I can't seem to edit it now. Check out this FRUA content, though, it's really very, very good.
     
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  16. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    I've played through the West and East campaigns, and I don't entirely agree with Fluent.

    Eventually you amass too much magical gear and things get too easy.
    Also, I don't think the combat encounters were scaled for computer gaming. Same with many town maps; they are just too big and empty for a CRPG and could just as well have been menu towns.

    So were I to play them again, I would skip some of the weaker modules, alternatively split the modules into more campaigns. Another thing I've considered is to just drop most or all of you magic items between the adventures, to make it more challenging. Personally I tend to lose interest once things get too easy.

    On the bright side I like how resting is restricted, and it gives you the chance to try out all those classic modules. But as mentioned they are really balanced for pen&paper play, and too faithful of a conversion is perhaps not the optimal approach. I think Ben Sanderfer's (ProphetSword) best modules are better, since they are designed for computer play, and feel more like the Gold Box games.

    But, I was getting a bit tired of FRUA once I reached The Realm, so I would probably have been quite a bit more enthusiastic if they were the first FRUA modules I played.

    EDIT: FWIW, my favourite The Realm module I've played is Keep on the Borderlands. Least favourite is Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan.
     
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  17. Arrowgrab Arbiter

    Arrowgrab
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    Can you ally with the denizens of the Caves of Chaos to raid human caravans? Or slowly clean ot the caves, level up, and then decide to take a face-heel turn and sack the Keep? Like some people suggest the module was intended to be run back in the day? :)
     
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  18. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    If it was, I didn't discover how.

    Incidentally, here's my review of the module:
    Show Spoiler
    Excellent combat focused module.

    I especially liked all the new encounters on the forest road as you progressed in your career as vermin exterminator.
    The random encounters could get pretty annoying, especially coupled with frequent "snake eyes" when using bows (the dice are loaded) and with Sweeping (one the coolest low level abilities in CRPG history) disabled for Goblins and Kobolds. But I was very happy with random encounters decreasing as you killed the various chieftains.

    There are some balancing issues. The party was too powerful at the end thanks to too much treasure, and the penultimated boss fight came to an abrupt end when he was overcome by a Sleep spell. I've mentioned it before, but I think the encounters should have been souped up a bit for the computer conversion. But of course, that's easy to say in hindsight. The most difficult battle turned out to be the three Griffons you meet quite early.

    With no Resurrection spells, my party decided not to take on the Green Dragon. But when I fought him "unofficially" (since I couldn't find the Cave of Chaos at first and though the Dragon was the final boss), my party was very confident thinking it was just a hatchling. Well, this hatchling has -1 AC and a whopping 91 HP. In addition he was immune to Stinking Cloud, the traditional Dragon disabler. He still has poor Saving Throws, so he succumbed to a Wand of Paralyze.

    Overall a very enjoyable module.
    It should be interesting to compare this version of KotBL with the ToEE conversion of the same some day!


    And for The Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan:
    Show Spoiler
    This module broke my will to play FRUA for over a year, with a non-saveable party wipe out trap that made me rage quit. I was already pretty tired of FRUA at that point, though.
    But after replaying Icewind Dale for the fourth time I felt a craving for more AD&D, so I decided to restart this module and take a slightly different path.

    I still don't like it; it has some of the design qualities I most detest in CRPGs, like the slowly whittling away of Hit Points through events and unavoidable traps instead of through combat, the combat that there was was pitifully easy and no challenge whatsovers, and there were at least two party death traps.
    So unlike Nol Drek I don't recommend this module, unless you actually enjoy the things I mentioned above.

    On the bright side it has a more original setting than usual, and the artwork is pretty good (except for the supposedly naked woman); I like the use of colour.

    Overall the least enjoyable of the Realm modules I've played so far.
    I think it would have made a much better level for some first person game like Thief, Dungeon Master or Legend of Grimrock. Too much tell instead of show is a weakness of the FRUA engine.
     
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  19. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Although it wasn't unusual for early AD&D adventure modules to be adaptations of existing tournament adventures, C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan was strange in that the purpose was simply to escape, with many normal elements of play being discouraged. The tournament scoring system was largely dependent on the timing of character deaths and the number of characters escaping, and there were a number of additional minor scoring penalties for acts such as mapping the dungeon or engaging in unnecessary exploration or combat.

    On the plus side, the module includes a classic Erol Otus drawing of a gibbering mouther:

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. ProphetSword Arcane Developer

    ProphetSword
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    As I always tell people, there's more to FRUA than "The Realm." That's not an attempt to say anything bad about "The Realm," but I often feel some of the best modules that FRUA has to offer always get overlooked; because people outside the community always focus on "The Realm" and pass on some amazing and original adventures that weren't based upon pre-written AD&D modules. So, I often feel it's my duty to point out that "The Realm" represents only one tiny fraction of the fun you can have with FRUA, especially if you love the Gold-Box games in general.
     
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  21. Fluent Scholar Patron The Real Fanboy

    Fluent
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    Sorry, Prophet. I didn't mean to neglect or downplay your work or anyone else's from the community. I actually haven't experienced those designs yet, so i can't really comment on them (even though i'm sure they're also great.) As u know i joined the FRUA community awhile back and was sharing my progress, didn't get super far before being distracted by other games but I will return, and once I've completed more of "The Realm", I will work on checking out all your guys' content for FRUA. i know this much is true - there are some 600+ designs for FRUA from the community, and i've heard a lot of them are very good. so if u like FRUA and gold box, follow ProphetSword 's advice and check out other work besides Ray's as well. Cheers! :) <3
     
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  22. pjs Literate

    pjs
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    I found some useful gold nuggets from the previous heated debate here on party selection in Gold Box games. So I thought I would do a write-up for what it's worth of a max-difficulty playthrough of the Krynn series.

    I played with Champion difficulty and no cheating (and no GBC) or item duplication. I used stat/HP max modifying and cluebook. I completed all the sidequests and looted every cache (except for some in DQK Hawkbluff keep). In total this resulted in roughly 7M xp gained, but single class characters lost 2-3M due to inability to train frequently enough (especially in the DQK tower of flame/abyss). In DKK a single class mage also exceeded the level cap and when transferring to DQK close to 1M xp was lost.

    I had played Champions of Krynn two times and DQK 2-3 times on easier difficulty levels, never DKK. Champions of Krynn and DKK both took about one full day to complete, DQK about three-four days. There were no major issues in first two games, but DQK required a lot of work with this difficulty level (easier ones, especially novice, are laughably easy in contrast; max difficulty enemies have 3x HP compared to the novice and it seems like also other advantages). More of this below.

    I chose the following characters (all male panel due to stat rules):
    - Human knight (IIRC switched to sword in DKK, switched to rose at the end of DQK), L 20 at the end.
    - S-Elf red robe mage, L29
    - Q-Elf ranger/majere cleric, L17/19
    - Q-Elf Fighter/white mage/paladine cleric, L14*/16/16
    - Q-Elf Fighter/white mage/mishakal cleric, L14*/16/16
    - Q-Elf Fighter/red mage/thief, L14*/17/19

    The motivation for this party composition came from having sufficient offensive magic potential combined with fighting capability for basic tasks and in cases magic would not work. Clerics, especially the dual-class majere cleric, was also useful for turning undead in DKK. I did not want to waste a slot for a single class cleric (as I had done in previous playthroughs). I could have also lived without 1/3 thief if necessary. DQK would have been easier with a second single-class mage to be able to punch through magic resistance of enchanted draconians and deliver more destructive DBFs and cone of colds.

    The mage and triple-classed chars had about 80-90 HP at the end, the knight about 150 and ranger/cleric 120. A major downside of dual and especially triple multiclassing is that when obtaining levels, the max hit points per level are rounded down (e.g. F/M/C can get at most 4 HP for fighter [except dwarf], 2 HP for mage and 3 HP for Cleric). So throughout the levels in total you lose at dozens of HPs to this rounding down. With so low max HPs, in Champion difficulty, you have to be really careful (and reload often) especially in DQK where e.g. dragon breaths can hit you with 120-130 HP of damage and enemy DBFs can lead to a disaster.

    By the end of DQK, triple/dual characters had barely exceeded the fighter level caps. DQK might have been a bit easier if I had obtained L14 fighter (two attacks per round) earlier. My motivation for ranger/cleric was to avoid fighter level cap, but it would actually have been better to use a fighter because then I could have obtained L14 and two attacks per round (ranger requires L16) before the game ended.

    In DQK the most difficult regular enemies were magic resistant or protected enemies, ie. dark/thenol wizards, enchanted draconeans (sivak and bozak caused most of work) and to some degree beholders; vampire mages were also a bit of nuisance. In addition to 3x HP, the difficulty level also gives enemies other bonuses such as saving throw advantages. Most of the difficult enemies resist or are completely protected from fire, so DBF is very ineffective. In easier difficulty, I have the recollection that dark wizards went down very easily, but now DBFs didn't work at all. To take down a single wizard with magic I had to use 2-3 lower level cone of colds or multiple meteor swarms. Likewise with enchanted bozaks. On easier difficulty levels, hacking through lower-HP opponents with fire shields was an easy option because you could sustain the double damage to yourself. Now in most cases (especially multiple sequential battles) the ranged weapons and single-class mage (to get through magic resistance) magic missiles etc. were the only possibility which increased difficulty and slowed down the game considerably. The single-class mage was the only one to have a major impact on the most difficult enchanted draconeans.

    The most difficult battle sequences were the DQK abyss anti-magic battle plus the chromatic dragon (almost gave up on the chromatic dragon: with no second haste spell at my disposal, I had to try at least 10-15 times until I was lucky with the initiatives and dragon breaths targeting the right guys and saving throws succeeding to avoid no one being killed) with no possibility to rest in between and I should have reserved for two haste spells) and the escape of Trandamere in Hawkbluff keep. So typically the scenarios with multiple difficult battles and no chance to recover in between. However I only used about 15-20 haste spells throughout the whole series, most of them in DQK. Much more liberal use of haste (especially when there was only one human in the party) would have made the game much easier, at every significant battle (and there were two unused elixirs of youth to play with in any case throughout the series).

    I suppose all in all the party worked out all right. As said, ranger/cleric could maybe have worked better as fighter/cleric. In DQK a second single-class mage would like have been a huge asset; I suppose I would have had to swap F/M/T for that. Except for one knight (you don't really need a second full class fighter if you have mixed fighters; in DKK you also have Durfey almost during the whole game), other single classes are not optimal for DQK due to all the experience lost. F/M and F/C could possibly have been easier (two attacks earlier) but might have resulted in a loss of overall magical potential. So I wonder if the following might make DQK a bit easier:
    - Human knight (crown until DKK, about level 8-9 at least so that you keep 3/2 attacks, then sword for healing magic potential, upgrade to rose only after the tower of flame)
    - Q-Elf F/C (Majere for turning undead)
    - Q-Elf F/C (Mishakal or paladine)?
    - Q-Elf F/M (red probably better)
    - human or elf white mage
    - human or elf red mage (elves preferred for dex 19 and for liberal use of haste spells)

    I'm wondering of doing another run in POR-COTAB-SSB-POD setting. Multiclassing won't work there at all, so you would have to dual class. I think this would be a major problem if trying to run the whole series with the same party, because for optimal results you should probably run all-fighter/ranger/paladin party until some point in SSB (to get to two attacks per round) and then switch to mages, clerics, etc. This would probably be very difficult especially if you play with the higher difficulty levels before and after the switch. The idea of not being able to use magic in POR and COTAB is not very appealing, but at least the experience would be quite different. Alternatively, some chars could switch classes when they reach 3/2 attacks. When I last played POD (with new characters), I think I chose a paladin (no switch), some fighters (switched to cleric) and at least three rangers (switched to mages; IIRC rangers could keep their armor even when casting mage spells).
     
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  23. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Cael
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    You had a few problems that was due to you misunderstanding what was going on.

    The most obvious one is your idea that Dark Wizards are harder at higher difficulties. They are not (other than the extra HP). The issue with Dark Wizards is the Fireshield (Cold) that they have on (Enchanted Bozaks has the same), which makes any fire-based attack 90-99% ineffective even on the middle difficulty. This includes DBF and Meteor Swarm. You need to hit them with Power Word Kill or Cone of Cold. This has always been the case regardless of difficulty.

    The go-to option against Beholders has always been multiple arrows to the face. They are slow (speed 3), and their rays have limited range. It would be a go-to option against Fireshielded opponents as well, except those also tend to come with Protection From Normal Missiles as standard. You need to use magic arrows against those (Dark Wizards also have Mirror Image up; which is why Cone of Cold is a better option).

    The higher difficulties only increases the HP of the enemy. This HP bloat does make blasting spells noticeably less effective, which was one of the complaints against 3.x. If you are used to DBF clearing entire screens, then yes, you are in for a shock.

    Also, you can rest straight after you escaped from the Abyss. In fact, I believe the game actually tells you to. The egg only starts hatching when you examine it.

    Your other problem is that you did a run with way too many triple class characters. Unless you are willing to run through DKK multiple times to get enough XP to get all triple class characters to go to level 16, don't take any triple class characters. Dual class is absolute maximum. For a straight run with no repeats:
    Human Knight (Sword when you max out levels in COK and can convert without dropping levels; Rose when you can be level 18 Rose after changing)
    QElf Fighter/Cleric of Kiri-Jolith - Detect Magic (you can never have enough) and -1 THAC0 (coupled with elf -1 THAC0 bonus with swords and bows is massive in COK)
    QElf Fighter/Mage (Red) - Red Mages have a number of self-only buff spells that are paradoxically useful for Fighter types, not Mages
    QElf Fighter/Mage (Red)
    QElf Thief/Mage (Red) (only if you want to do Dave's Challenge in DKK; otherwise use Human Mage (White) or another QElf Fighter/Mage (Red))
    Human Mage (White) - Power Word Kill makes your life a whole lot easier; get it ASAP

    Remember that Turn Undead, while useful, lowers or completely eliminates the XP you get from the encounter. Don't bother unless absolutely necessary. This makes Majere clerics less appealing.

    Mishakal Clerics are neutered by the Fix command. The bonus spells are nothing spectacular. Don't bother.

    Ranger/Clerics are traps. I learnt that really early back in the 90s when I first started playing DQK. My very first DQK party had a Ranger/Cleric and I couldn't figure out why the damned thing never leveled up. Even the Rose Knight was leveling faster than him. Then, I looked at the XP tables and facepalmed.



    For your FR run:
    You can have a maximum of 3 Rangers in the party. I don't think this is actually documented anywhere, but the limit is there. Remember also that Ranger/Mage duals can cast spells in armour. I can't recall if this is mentioned anywhere either.

    You will need a Cleric for healing purposes. It is practically mandatory. While the Paladin can take over later with his spells, he won't be getting those until level 9 and it would take a lot longer before he gets enough to be useful, by which time you will be dualling him to mage or what have you.

    One way of playing is to use 1 Paladin, 3 Ranger, 1 Cleric, 1 Mage. Get to whatever level you are comfortable with and dual the Paladin and Rangers to Mages. The Mage and the Cleric should dual together or close together and exchange roles. That should keep you covered with firepower and healing at all times.
     
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  24. Erebus Arcane

    Erebus
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    Power Word Kill is normally the easiest way to kill a Dark Wizard (the main flaw of the spell is its very short range). But the spell won't work on enemies with too many HP. Are Dark Wizard (at full health) still vulnerable to it on max difficulty ?

    If they only had a Fireshield, Dark Wizards would be easy prey for arrows, Magic Missiles and quite a few other things. It's the fact that they're also protected by a Globe of Invulnerability, Mirror Image and Protection against Normal Missiles that makes them so annoying.
     
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  25. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Cael
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    Cone of Cold will bypass all Dark Wizard protection, and if they fail the save, wonderful things happen (like 400+ damage; this can also happen to Enchanted Bozaks).

    PWK works because Dark Wizard HP is garbage at any difficulty level. It has the advantage over Cone of Cold of being instant cast.
     
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