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Default Is Pool of Radiance just unfair, or am I doing something wrong?

December 11th, 2016, 17:33
I once watched an LP of this game and the LPer actually explained how to tweak the random encounter difficulty (quantity of enemies, their toughness, etc). Basically it depends on the initial stats of your party, so if the game throws crowds of orcs at you, your stats are the problem.

Here, I found the video for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8u1…84757A&index=2
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December 11th, 2016, 18:39
Such an awesome game. They just don't make them like this anymore, sadly.
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December 11th, 2016, 23:07
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
I once watched an LP of this game and the LPer actually explained how to tweak the random encounter difficulty (quantity of enemies, their toughness, etc). Basically it depends on the initial stats of your party, so if the game throws crowds of orcs at you, your stats are the problem.

Here, I found the video for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8u1…84757A&index=2
So the game throws more enemies at you if your stats are high, that's probably the OP's issue since he said he altered the party's stats. Since I went by-the-rules, that's why I had no issues dealing with the encounters. In the video, author first created a party with minimum stats (3 in all), encounters had 1 enemy. Then he ran the same encounters with max normal stats (18 in all), encounter had 10 enemies. Then he ran with max max stats (25 in all), encounter had 25 enemies.
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November 25th, 2020, 02:22
I was looking for some information on playing the game, and got this thread.

I didn't read all posts, but for a first play I would suggest:
EDIT: Nothing special. I don't think anymore there's any need to max characters, not use any female PC, ignore Halfling and Gnome PC, more.

The point is just to learn manages the rests. Some examples among other you'll find yourself:
- Not abuse Search mode that will increase random encounters.
- There's systems similar to Might & Magic 3 (but a bit hidden unlike in MM3) with specific spawnings having each a source and if you kill it it ends this spawning type.
- Ensure you have reserve to retreat in previous area where there's a rest place.
- Identify rest places seems more easy than in many games using rest.
- Character fallen isn't such a big deal, it's not end game.
Last edited by Dasale; November 30th, 2020 at 05:04.
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November 30th, 2020, 04:50
I tried Amiga version that is very accessible thanks to modern emulator. It's from far the best looking, and with the most sophisticated interface including both the DOS keyboard only interface, and an extended mouse support.

Still at end from Mouse UI point of view it is far behind Mac version. Some examples:
- For lists the Mac version is coherent. For example ready or unready an item is a simple double click. On Amiga you select (with the mouse) the item, then either use keyboard key to ready the item, either the mouse need move totally out of the list to click on the Label command.
- Still for lists, Mac version is coherent with a classic scrolling and even a scroll bar. On Amiga they give up and it's Next/Prev commands for page up/down.
- For shop it's even worse, the Amiga version try invent a system that only end not be clear of click again on selected element to buy.
- To view a character detail, double click on Mac. On Amiga it's again the same incoherency, select then move out to click on command label.
- Another good example on how much better is the UI design from a functional point of view. On Amiga you can use the mouse to move the party or during combats. It's integrated to play window, up area to move forward, right side to turn right and so on. It's cute but so less practical than the Mac version allowing have a UI concentrating moves and exit current mode in a small window you can put anywhere. Much less cute but quick small mouse movements instead of pointless mouse moves.
- Saves, like DOS the boredom limited slots. On Mac you save a file, name it and put it where you want, the location is reminded during the play session. One save one file on Mac, on Amiga I had troubles so looked at the save folder and it's a garbage of a ton of files for one save.
- Fonts used, very clear and functional on Mac, on Amiga a font with a lot of spirals and stuff up to make it hard to read, looking special but harder to read.
- Selling stuff requires sell and confirm. On Mac you can chain the click if you want because the buttons are place coherently at same position, and the game manage next select item coherently. On Amiga the "button" are the command labels, that change their positions constantly so this selling with a mouse is suddenly much less cool.

I tried stick anyway to amiga version despite my Mac play has progressed, for two reason, more patches and more cute. It had more patches than the Mac version not sure I even have all the patches for Mac and none can be find now. It's still helping me a lot that there's a lot of mouse support unlike DOS version. And it is really cute compared to PC and Mac versions (only B&W unlike later in the series, I played the series B&W but more graphic finesse to compensate).

But Amiga version has a weird problem. When you move the cursor in combats and it moves on a party character, it takes the pause to show information at speed you setup, so stop cursor move, lol. But at fastest speed it's borderline impossible to quote when a character get damages or did damages. Very weird design bug I didn't quote in Mac version. Not sure yet if I can do with that. But there's no match, overall, all considered, Amiga version is the best from far.
Last edited by Dasale; November 30th, 2020 at 05:08.
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December 2nd, 2020, 12:18
The British Retro Games magazine recently had a nice article on the game (and a far bigger one on Monkey Island)
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December 2nd, 2020, 14:00
Ahhh and the music on the amiga version..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31GB36YtBT8
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December 7th, 2020, 14:43
Originally Posted by vidder View Post
Ahhh and the music on the amiga version..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31GB36YtBT8
Finally, I picked the Mac version for my "first play 30 years later". But when I played the Amiga version during first parts, to decide which version to use, I ended quickly cut the sound because it's the only way I found to not have to listen again and again the same few seconds of music. The music could be cool but it's quickly repetitive.

In fact, even sounds of Amiga version are better, it's not just graphics and the few music. But for sure it's only few sounds. It's unfortunate Gog can't sell and maintain this version.

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
The British Retro Games magazine recently had a nice article on the game (and a far bigger one on Monkey Island)
I had put in back the game and series, but I was still reminding how great it's been, and that PoR was for me the best of the series, eventually I didn't played the last (4rth), I can't remind. I thought during decades it was a large part of nostalgia even if then I was 30 or a bit less/more.

But that replay 30 years after, but with Mac version (could have work with Amiga version but certainly not DOS version I never played and will never play), is a smash.

Woo the game was really that great, hard to believe. Eventually now I see better various flaws or some weird designs, but so many elements very well done and hardly find in any modern RPG.

I also realized how PoR was a strong influence of Temple of Elemental Evil, ToEE has much better combats, but it's so far in term of global quality.

On many aspects quite great in PoR, most are probably just impossible to reproduce/redo well in a modern context.

Moreover on multiple aspects the difficulty is based on weird if not bad rules, for example:
  • Levels leech, which means between 50% to 75% xp removed, is a weird design. You have some tools to manage it, silver arrows, henchmen, few restoration scrolls, but this isn't well tuned. And even if lost 50% to 75% xp is manageable for one character in a party, it's still a dumb design.
  • Poison, I could not know some tricks, but to manage it's Elf, Slower Poison and pay 1K GP anyway, again eventually henchmen, long range but you can't just have long range, absurd resurection price in case you screwed up with Slower Poison. Overall it's still a dumb design.
  • Get stolen in bars is absurdly harsh, it's more like a last minute addition never tuned properly. It's possible I don't know a trick here like a rogue with leather armor in party as a protection tool.
  • Areas without any automap, weak design, they could have find a better trick.
  • Identification cost is absurdly high, really a pointless weird design aspect.
  • Instant take down of a character disabled is a weird design for player side, fine for enemies seeing the amount they are.
  • No tools to identify cursed item, weak design, even if it seems there's very few of them.
  • Backstabbing is stupidly complex and requires a precise coordination of 3 characters, that's dumb and as far I know it's not following the rules.

The problem is even if all those points are very weird design, and many are obviously plain bad or lacking a better tuning, you can't just remove them without mostly destroy the game and its difficulty feeling. And replace them with more coherent designs, and still build a fairly good difficulty feeling. . . this is a wide topic.

For the positive side, you can't find in modern RPG, there's a big list, some example:
  • Despite combats definitely suffer of too many enemies for too many combats and the game should have implement simultaneous enemies turn like in ToEE. Despite combats rules are mostly basic, and the number of spells and special actions quite limited. Combats still build a quite good level of fun in a category of combats types, those more focused on static and positions, something you can't find in modern games, or most of them.
  • For the "squares areas", the non linearity, the filling density of stuff not related to combats, and a real structured design not close to arena or corridor, this is quite an humiliation for any modern RPG.
  • The outdoor implementation is quite good, so many modern RPG are filled a lot too much with trash combats and limited tourism value. But clearly for modern RPG it's at a totally different level of challenge when designing and building an area is at least 20 times longer.
  • The story telling could not be advanced writing quality like a very few modern RPG have, but it's still very dense and providing a quite good feeling of non linearity. Obviously this aspect won't concern cartoons and movies generations, but for players like me, it show how much superior is text to tell a story than graphics and voice acting. Moreover if some modern RPG tried reinsert such aspect in modern RPG designs, at end they are far to achieve it as well. First reason is too much effort on text quality and not enough on text efficiency and shortness that is suiting much better a video game. Second reason, it's a lot harder to merge text and advanced graphics, and it pushes RPG to be more tourism simulators than real story telling.
  • The rumors, omg, even if some more modern games did a serious work on it like BG series, they are so far behind on that aspect.
  • Even if the tricks are on the easy side for most, the amount and the amount involving graphics just make wonder why most modern RPG are so limited in that matter, and I include the DOS series, that is on that aspect widely ahead any other modern RPG or mostly.
Last edited by Dasale; December 7th, 2020 at 14:53.
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