There is this another pen&paper roleplaying system beside D&D most of us at Coreplay spent time with in the 90s: Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) which most gamers outside of Germany may actually know mostly for the computer games based on it. The first trilogy of DSA computer games (that were heavily influenced by the Gold Box games from SSI) were released as Realms of Arkania in English. The first of them called Blade of Destiny (Die Schicksalsklinge) was first released in 1992 (and then in the US in 1993) for Amiga and PC. One thing that might be worth noting for you CRPG addicts is that the game was designed by Guido Henkel who also produced probably one of the best CRPGs of all time: Planescape: Torment.
What was cool about the game was that it was also very open in its design. You had to find a legendary sword and to find that sword you had to put together a map that would reveal its location on the world map. The map pieces were randomized so you might find one trading with a merchant on the road or as a reward for solving a quest that might otherwise only reward you with some gold.
This design didnít only give the game a lot of replay value it also made travelling the world a big part of the game. Quests would often lead you form one city to another and you would have to travel for several days and set up camp for the night on your journey.
Most of the other games we mentioned before have similar elements. We did highlight Ultima for the exploration of Britannia alone, remember? And our fondest memories of Phantasie include the random encounters that would make each journey an adventure. And remember that first time in Pool of Radiance you started moving that little horse around? Suddenly everything seemed possible!