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With Solasta: Crown of the Magister live in Early Access, you might be curious about this D&D-based CRPG created by some of the people behind the Endless (Space, Legend, Dungeon) series. If that’s the case, you should check out the fairly positive early access preview below:
In other games, disadvantage would simply be streamlined into a lower hit percentage. But Solasta insists on including as much of the D&D rulebook as it can, even rules that my D&D group has long since hand-waved away, such as frequent random encounters while traveling, and encumbrance. Carrying capacity is annoyingly strict in Solasta, even for characters with decent strength, forcing me to constantly shuffle items and leave behind extra weapons and armor. It's a packrat's worst nightmare.
Outside of combat, Solasta unfortunately doesn't have much to offer in its Early Access form. The UI looks great in battle, but character sheets are oddly missing crucial information, like fighting styles and feats.
Character creation includes rolling dice for stats and selecting class-specific starting equipment, exactly as it's detailed in the D&D Player's Handbook. Solasta adds new personality traits, which are built from selecting a character's background and alignment. A chaotic neutral sellsword can select traits like Egoism, Greed, and Violence, while a lawful good Lawkeeper can choose Authority, Altruism, and Kindness.
So far Solasta: Crown of the Magister has set up an interesting world filled with history, and while the main cast get railroaded into the need to learn about the Cursed Crown it's still an interesting story hook to a multipart adventure. The gameplay issues were extremely frustrating, but when they worked it was just as expected from playing the true TTRPG. The use of vertical set pieces to create grandure in dungeons was a neat inclusion, and one that's quite different from the usual experience. At the moment this 10+ hour experience does a great job showing what is in store for Solasta and with more polish and shine should be a worthwhile adventure to go on.
IGN presents its preview as a list of things to expect. For example:
Tutorials for both Solasta and D&D Strategy
The opening of Solasta features the four characters you created in a Tavern telling stories to each other. These stories work as tutorials for different aspects of Solasta – like the aforementioned verticality and lighting – but also teach how to use readied actions, disengage, and more, to your advantage in combat.
On a standard turn, you'll be able to make an action, move with whatever movement speed you have, and interact with an object. Instead of using your action to attack in the moment, you can instead ready an action to trigger in response to an enemy. This can be used to trigger a melee attack against an enemy that is otherwise unreachable on your turn – like Flying Snakes hovering just out of reach – but you expect to approach during its turn.
You can also use your action to disengage, but that doesn’t mean you have no means of dealing damage. In the tutorial encounter I saw, the character disengaged in order to get away from an enemy without triggering its opportunity attack, but was still able to push a boulder off a ledge onto said enemy.
These tutorials seem to do a decent job at teaching players how to get creative with their turns, which is important if you want to find success in both the Dungeons and Dragons ruleset and Solasta's unique environmental mechanics.