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D&D General Demetrios1453 Plays the Gold Box Games

Pool of Radiance (Part 53): Valhingen Graveyard (Part 3)

Having wandered around the zombie area for awhile, we start to head towards the exit. As you can see, the party just walking around to ensure there are no more random encounters results in a much more well-explored map than usual.

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We head out the gates.

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And head to the boat.

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Since we haven't cleared the area, there's no need to go to the City Clerk, so we go right to the inn to heal up and memorize spells.

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Two fireballs. A lovely sight to see.

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And our magic-users' new spell lists:

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Off to the store to get rid of some of the loot.

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As I've said before, we just have way too many restoration scrolls by this point. Even though we're going into a section of the graveyard with a particularly large amount of level-draining undead, it's useless to carry around so many. This is what Brother Baltor's inventory looks like - and a couple of other characters are carrying some spare scrolls for him!

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Time to sell a few - Bragir doesn't need to be carrying all these extras!

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After we've cleared out our inventory a bit like this, here are our current funds.

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Weird, we had a lot more PP the last time we looked - maybe I hit an overflow and it got knocked down to 0 or something? It's no big deal since everyone has fine longbows by now, and I've got plenty gems and jewelry, but it's a bit odd.

Back to the boat we go...

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We re-enter the graveyard.

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Despite clearing well over half of the zone, it's apparently as creepy as ever.

A quick check of the zombie-making spectre room shows that it hasn't respawned, so we're definitely good to go to the wight zone.

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The wight zone is in two separate sections leading from different areas of the zombie zone. We'll go to the smaller area in the east of the graveyard first.

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Our first goal is to go around that corner and get to the entrance to the building to the right.

Only a few steps in, and we're already meeting some wights. Luckily we've surprised them.

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Only four wights, thankfully, but they have some zombie friends, apparently. Brother Baltor is, thankfully, first in initiative.

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He gets quite a few zombies, but the wights remain unmoved, and unturned.

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But the wights remain lined up. Time to get a bit risky. I'll move Brin out to their side...

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And equip a fun, but so far unused, item.

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It's aimed at the first wight, continues on, bounces off the wall, and starts going back through them again, although only one of wights actually got hit twice (which did take it out). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a good shot of the lightning animation.

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Well, that certainly is annoying. Couldn't the lightning have done just 1 more point of damage?

Since my ranged weapons won't damage the wights, time to break out the melee weapon for Bragir!

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Buffy, on the other hand, just uses her bow to take out the remaining zombies. Oh, and look, there are a couple of ghouls hanging out in the back to get rid of as well. Sneaky them, having the same 10 HP as zombies on the GBC map so I didn't notice them at first! We'll need to get rid of them quickly, as they can paralyze, which can lead to insta-kills if we're not careful. As Bant takes out a wight, you can see one of the ghouls in the upper left corner.

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And since Bant has two attacks every other round, he follows up by taking out the last wight immediately afterwards.

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Wights gone, we now concentrate on the ghouls.

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Luckily, they aren't immune to non-magical weapons.

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Soon all that is left are a few zombies...

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And then the battle is over.

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We continue to head north, to get to the entrance of the building to our east. But right before we get to the door...

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Well, at least they are surprised again. And, again, they have a lot of zombies with them, and a couple of ghoul friends.

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Time to turn again...

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He gets a fair number of the zombies. But again, the wights and ghouls aren't affected.

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But again, our wight foes are nicely lined up. Bragir has one of those nifty wands too, so it's his turn to give it a try.

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(The screenshot cut it off before it got all of "electricity" on screen)

Only the wounded one went down, so Brin goes up and repeats the wand strategy...

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(Again, poor screenhsot timing as the first wight has just been zapped to death)

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Now it's just the ghouls and the remaining zombies to deal with. Let's get rid of those ghouls first!

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And then the zombies...

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And then the battle is over.

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The door is just ahead to the right, but the party maneuvers a bit so they come upon the door straight on. The undead here have had a habit of coming out of doors as we approach, so this positioning will put us in a better tactical advantage.

Sure enough, as we get to the door...

We run out of upload space! To be continued in my next post, coming right up!

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Pool of Radiance (Part 54): Valhingen Graveyard (Part 4)

Picking up right at the cliffhanger of the last post...

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We'll take the third option, where you die. Again.

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As we said, no.

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What a surprise! Being in the wight zone and all.

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(The reason I moved in from the north as I mentioned last post should be clear here - if I had moved in from the west, they would have been all lined up against the wall, spread out far to each side. They're much more compact and manageable this way).

Four wights again, with their typical zombie friends. But wait, what are those 24 HP creatures in the back?

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Juju zombies! Well, their immunity to non-magical damage will be annoying, but not as worrisome as the ghouls' paralyzation attacks.

Well, with them all grouped up like this, it's time for fire to rain down on them...

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Meh, just 16 HP, pretty under-strength for a 6d6 fireball.

(For those who don't know, you didn't need to cast a spell with a higher spell slot to get it to do more damage in 1e - the spells leveled up with you. So fireball (and lightning bolt) will do 1d6 damage per level of the caster; so it does 6d6 damage here. And unlike in 2e, where this damage was capped at, usually, 10 dice, 1e let it go up as high as the caster had levels. So in Pools of Darkness, be prepared to see Brin and Bragir lobbing 25d6 fireballs around. Or maybe 30d6 if we manage to get enough XP - magic-user XP, especially multiclassed, will unfortunately slow to a crawl at high levels. Although in reality, they'll be lobbing around 30d6+30 delayed blast fireballs more often at that point.)

In any case, with the sub-par damage, one of the zombies even makes its saving throw and stays up. And the wights and juju zombies in the radius definitely aren't taken out.

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Well, Brother Baltor can deal with any remaining standing zombies...

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Well, a disappointing two of them.

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With his fireball being not as effective as he would have wanted, Bragir tries a different tactic.

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(Since magic missiles then, as now, gain extra dice every other level, it's going to do 3d4+3 damage. And for some reason in the Gold Box games, you can't divide missiles between different targets, even though that was possible in 1e rules, like it is now - so they will all go to just one target. Spells like hold person can choose multiple targets in these games, so I'm not sure why magic missile was unable to be designed to do so as well).

Bragir targets the last wight standing, and gets an excellent damage roll on the spell, taking it down.

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With just the juju zombies left, the battle is soon over.

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The guardians cleared out of the way, we enter the door to the building. There's nothing much in the first room, but as we go through the next door...

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Again, we'll take the third option of this wraith doing the suffering. Although we probably shouldn't be so flippant - wraiths can do some pretty nasty damage!

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With wraiths immune to non-magical attacks, Brin decides to shoot off some magic missiles of her own...

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Brother Baltor gives turning a try, although it will be tough to succeed at his level.

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He doesn't succeed, but our firepower is enough to take it down before it does any damage to anyone. Baroness Bella gets in the killing blow...

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I wonder what was the deal with this paladin it was blathering on about?

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Well, that answers that question. And yes we do!

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Weird items for a paladin. (Some guides suggest that a different treasure with more appropriate items that we'll encounter soon was supposed to be here).

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We all know by now what's on that cleric scroll. I'll have my magic-users look over that scroll. As nice as a +3 weapon is, a hammer, with its 1d4 damage, is basically useless in 1e, and I don't think I'll have much use for that sling.

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Wow, pretty useful scroll, as Bragir has none of those spells and Brin only the last. There will be some scribing soon!

Having cleared this building, we've finished up in this section of the wight zone. We backtrack and head to the other area of the wight zone, in the north central portion of the graveyard.

We move forward, and shortly afterwards, we're under attack by a random patrol

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Except... this group has a mummy with them. And I have two characters fail their fear save.

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Two insta-kills later, I reload from my last save (which is only a few steps back since I'm saving liberally in this section).

We head back in, and meet with another wight group one step before the failed encounter.

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This group, too, has a mummy with them. But thankfully, everyone makes their save this time.

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Since they've conveniently decided to group up...

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Sucks that I'll miss the mummy and only get two of the wights in the radius, but it will still clear things out considerably, I hope.

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19 points is better than before, but still not ideal. 6d6 fireballs should do 21 points average...

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That's a truly annoying amount of zombies that made their saves.

Well, my ranged will pick them off easily. After a few go down, Brother Baltor does his thing...

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Oh wow! He must have rolled very well! Even though I didn't get a screenshot of it, even the mummy was turned! In fact, he turned all remaining undead left on the board! Brother Baltor will get an extra mug of ale on me when we get back to the inn!

The fun part is that all those wights next to my melee will turn and run, causing the characters next to them to get free automatic attacks from behind...

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This murders them quite effectively, and, suddenly, the only remaining foe left is the mummy, which being turned has fled to a corner in the upper left.

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So as to not waste more spells, let's break out the other wands...

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And Baroness Bella runs up there to finish it off.

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With the battle over, the characters receive a very nice XP award...

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And Buffy is able to gain a level.

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We turn the corner in order to get to the door of the building to our right. When we reach the door, inevitably, it has some guardians...

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That's a lot of wights, but at least they don't have any surprise friends this time.

But... we've reached the image upload limit once again. We'll pick up here in the next post.
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It's a good thing combat is fun in this game as you barely take two steps before another mass of monsters appear, lol
I mean, sometimes you do, and sometimes you don't. After all, I'm only documenting the exciting bits, and not putting in pictures of long periods of not meeting anything. I'm pretty sure people wouldn't want to read entire posts of screenshots of "I didn't encounter anything at this point" lol.

Things are still a bit hairy, but we've managed to incapacitate quite a few.

Fond memories!

Haven't played these since they first came out, but remember stinking cloud, hold person, hold monster etc being go to spells throughout.

If I remember it was basically an auto kill after being paralyzed. I seem to remember doing this to multiple dragons and such in later games. Pop, pop, pop goes the multi attack fighter. Not sure why it seemed so effective even against higher level

Maybe I'm mis-remembering from BG1, but in these could you also do the dual class human thing? I would do level 7 Fighter to get the THAC0, armor (which you could cast in) and extra attacks and then dual class into Mage and you would catch up XP wise very quickly such that that level 7 fighter XP was nothing, almost free.

You can't dual-class in Pool of Radiance, but you can in the other Gold Box games. One strategy is to get a ranger up to a sufficiently high level and then dual-class over to magic-user since, once your ranger is high enough level to cast magic-user spells, the restriction on not being able to wear armor and cast spells is overridden. Unfortunately, the best time to do that is after rangers hit level 17 and attain two attacks per round, which meant you spent a good part of Pools of Darkness in the middle of dual classing, including a section where the ranger bonuses against giants would otherwise be very nice to have around and not blocked by the dual class in process.

Pool of Radiance (Part 55): Valhingen Graveyard (Part 5)

We pick back up at the start of the big wight fight.

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Well, they're nicely bunched up, so time for Brin to work her magic...

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While she's casting, Buffy's turn comes up. Wights can't be damaged by non-magical weapons, and she doesn't have any spells, so she can either run up to the front line and risk getting hit and level-drained, or just sit there and do nothing. It sucks that magical ranged weapons don't transmit their magic-ness to their ammo.


What if we had a magical ranged weapon that didn't have specified ammo?

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Slings don't have separate ammo in the game, so magic slings can directly damage creatures resistant to non-magical weapons. So we equip Buffy with the sling I had declared to be "useless" earlier, and she can merrily do damage safe behind the front line without any issues.

Meanwhile, Brin's spell is now ready to go off.

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What's with all these sub-par fireballs? Again, a 6d6 fireball should average 21 points of damage, and it seems we're usually below that.

As a result, all the wights are merely damaged and not outright killed.

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Well, let's let Brother Baltor do his thing.

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He manages to turn precisely zero undead. Well, this fight has gotten off to a frustrating start.

Well, still being lined up, Bragir will bust out one of his wands again...

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He takes out the three directly in front of him, but some in the back move down to take their place.

Meanwhile, the melee have been damaging the ones nest to them, leaving a frustratingly high number of almost-but-not-quite-dead wights still hanging around.

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Buffy is meanwhile picking them off with her newly-equipped sling.

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With her bow basically useless, Brin breaks out one of her wands...

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And Bragir just switches out to his melee weapon.

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Shortly thereafter, the last of the wights go down. Luckily, none of them landed a hit or caused a level drain!

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That many wights gave us quite an XP boost!

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Now, let's see what those wights were guarding behind the door.

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There's a chance to take electric damage here, but everyone made their saves.

Up the steps we go...

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Our third and final spectre. Once we take it out, the wight production will cease, as will production of new undead for the entire graveyard!

Since we caught it by surprise, it goes down as quickly as the previous two. Yet another kill for Buffy with her sling!

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Our spectre must have some decent treasure for that much XP!

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It's just money, but XP is still XP.

Now that the spectres have been removed, the main thing we need to do here is to find and defeat the master of all the undead in the graveyard. And the dragon we met in the mountains already told us its identity: a vampire!

Leaving the spectre building, we head to the west and approach yet another large building. As we head towards its door...

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Two spectres at a distance. We should do as much damage as possible before they can attack and reach us.

Well, since they're neatly lined up...

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(Finally got a good action shot of the lightning moving towards some foes!)

The lightning did some pretty decent damage.

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Brin will fire some magic missiles towards them.

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And that one goes down.

Baroness Bella moves up, and takes out the second one.

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With that danger past, we go into the door they were guarding.

After heading through a couple doors and stairwells, we reach a room with yet another sarcophagus...

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Well, that was certainly nice of it. Not only did the party not have to fight some sort of hideous undead, it politely lays its treasure at our feet!

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Definitely looks like some good gear. Other than the multiple restoration scrolls that we already have clogging our inventory.

(As you can see, this would match a paladin's treasure much more than the one in the previous post, so as I said there, it's been theorized that this treasure should have been over there. It's not a huge problem since it appears only a short time afterwards anyway).

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Another ring of fire resistance is always nice, as is magical plate. Brother Baltor will get both of those. As for the longsword and the shield, they won't be upgrades for anyone, so we'll put them aside to sell later.

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Brother Baltor trades his magical banded mail down to Bragir.

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Some ACs have gone down nicely as a result!

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We head out of this building to the northeastern corner of the graveyard. The first structure we explore is a huge cruciform building...

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Not ominous in the least.

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So this vampire was here before, and banished previously by adventurers. I guess it wasn't fully destroyed and eventually came back. For us to deal with, of course...

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Let's see what our options are...

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Let's examine it first...

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Why would they even give us the option to do so with that being the outcome? OK, let's sanctify it.

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Hopefully this will make things uncomfortable for our vampire friend should he need to return to his coffin.

This done, we head out of this building and continue our search. I'll pick up here in the next post.
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Pedantic Grognard
You can't dual-class in Pool of Radiance, but you can in the other Gold Box games. One strategy is to get a ranger up to a sufficiently high level and then dual-class over to magic-user since, once your ranger is high enough level to cast magic-user spells, the restriction on not being able to wear armor and cast spells is overridden. Unfortunately, the best time to do that is after rangers hit level 17 and attain two attacks per round, which meant you spent a good part of Pools of Darkness in the middle of dual classing, including a section where the ranger bonuses against giants would otherwise be very nice to have around and not blocked by the dual class in process.
In practice, I find "My back row is three magic-users who were originally 9th-level rangers, carrying fine long bows" is quite effective enough in Pools of Darkness. After all, arrows fire at 2/round anyway.

(The shop in Mulmaster sells fine long bows, so run ahead and visit the city early to buy 'em. Sometimes you'll meet a merchant caravan selling them, too. And they're non-magic, so they're never destroyed by Limbo.)

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