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A person realizes just how long they've been gaming when they are able to recall playing one of the original games to introduce Dungeons & Dragons to the PC, Pool of Radiance. Released in 1988 by SSI, the game was revolutionary for its time and offered a means for D&D enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite pastime without the need to gather a group of friends. And now, almost fourteen years later, we are about to see a rebirth of this classic in the form of Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor.
With RoMD, Stormfront introduces us to the first D&D PC game that incorporates many of the recently released 3rd edition rules. In addition to many of the standard D&D character classes and races, character creation in PoR offers the choice of the Barbarian, Monk, and Sorcerer classes, as well as the Half-Orc race. For more creation choices, all races now have the option to become any class, contrary to the restrictions in 2nd edition. Each character is presented with a point system for optimizing their attributes, removing the need to spend a considerable amount of time rolling them until you're happy with the outcome.
After each character is created, you can begin adding them to a party of up to four characters, with two slots available for NPCs later in the game. Each character is able to advance to a maximum of sixteenth level, but can attain the level cap in more than one class, allowing the possibility of a powerful multi-class character such as a level 16-16 Rogue/Sorcerer. With theadherence to the 3rd edition rules, literally any class combinations are allowed, contrary to the limited multiclassing of 2nd edition AD&D games.
As characters advance, they will acquire skills and feats, which are both new to D&D with the 3rd edition rules. Skills allow a character to do things like search for hidden doors and traps, or bandage a wounded party member. Obviously, some skills will be easier for certain character classes, but every class is at least somewhat proficient with most of them. Feats offer some sort of powerful advantage to the character, and are specific to each class. Fighters, for instance, gain a feat called "Cleave" which allows them to follow through on a powerful swing to attack more than one adjacent opponent in a single combat turn. Sorcerers, on the other hand, gain feats like "Toughness", which grants an additional three hit points to help them endure the many battles in the game.
Along with the previous gains, which are based on a character's level, you're bound to find an abundance of magical items that will further enhance your characters' abilities and ultimately increase your party's longevity. Equipping a character with a new trinket is done through an inventory screen similar to the one in Blizzard's Diablo or its sequel. You simply click and drag the newfound item onto the character's revolving avatar and they will equip it (assuming their race and class allow it). For those of you who like to give your characters a unique look, you'll be happy to hear that Pool of Radiance will adjust your character's adventuring graphic to reflect what he or she is wearing. Thus, if you want to wear leather armor, red boots, and wield a scimitar... well, that's exactly how you'll look.
Your adventure first begins in Myth Drannor, the once spectacular elven city that has since fallen into ruin. Here you'll discover that the band of heroes previously sent by Elminster have met their fate, leaving your party to continue their quest in finding and destroying the reawakened Pool of Radiance in New Phlan. Your investigations will bring you to many areas of the Forgotten Realms and put you up against some of Faerun's greatest foes, including the scarred mages from the organization called the Cult of the Dragon.
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