D&D General Demetrios1453 Plays the Gold Box Games

Once again, really enjoying the trip down memory lane with these. Curse is one of my favorite Gold Box games, but I always hated how rail-roaded the first section is, especially compared to how open ended its predecessor was.

At least you get some agency once we're out of Tilverton, although it's far more limited than what PoR offered. At least it's not SotSB-level railroading.

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Yes agreed! It’s fun to run around the Dalelands. Silverblades might be one of my personal least favorite Gold Box games

Curse of the Azure Bonds (Part 7): Tilverton Sewers (Part 2) - Tilverton Sewers completed!

Now that we've completed the otyugh quest, let's see what our reward is!

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Not bad. And with that, we take our leave of our dancing flith-spheres, will head back to the other room and rest up.

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We continue south, and enter the third section of the sewers (meaning we pop back up to the top again on the map)

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Moander's symbol. We've seen signs of his cultists all around, but have yet to meet any.

We head through the door on the left, and are immediately attacked by its inhabitants!

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Four trolls, and lots of crocodiles!

But since they're all nicely grouped up, you know what that means...

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A 33 point fireball means lots of dead crocs, since even if they make their save, they're dead.

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Repeat with Bragir.

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And suddenly, the battlefield is much more in our favor!

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The trolls begin to flee, so we cut them down from behind. And the battle is soon won.

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That's a pretty significant amount of XP. We need to be on the lookout for some magical treasure.

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Some very interesting stuff there!

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The bracers will go to Buffy, who will get a massive upgrade to AC from her leather armor. The flail will go to Brother Baltor, and so will the girdle, as it will upgrade his CON and give him more HP (well, once we fix a bug that is, see below); he's in the front line and is barely staying ahead of the thief in HP! The girdle will also lower his CHA, but luckily, the ioun stone is the one that raises CHA!

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Buffy's AC drops to 0, on par with the other two in the back line.

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Brother Baltor receives his trove of treasures...

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But once he equips the girdle, his HP actually goes down! Yes, he does have a 19 CON now, but the item is bugged for any character imported from PoR.

The ioun stone is hardly better. Yes, it should raise his CHA by a point, but the girdle overrides that, rendering is useless in offsetting the effect.

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17 CHA isn't a big deal, but those HP he's been cheated out of need to fixed. Time to pull up the editor.

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After a bit trying to figure out the exact HP he should get as a multi-classed character, the character sheet is edited, and he's at a nicer 90 HP.

So, in lieu of the ioun stone working for Brother Baltor, I'll throw it over to Bant, who has a 17 CHA, and raise the stat for him.

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And rest up we do! We're only missing a few HP and spells, but why not?

After resting, we continue to explore the sewer.

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Interesting. Let's investigate!

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Aha! We go through.

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The Hidden Chambers! Sounds intriguing and mysterious!

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Nah, we have GBC for that. Now if we didn't have GBC, we'd be glad of the offer, since it's been awhile since we would have been able to train.

Also, kind of a weird location for a training hall, out here in the middle of the sewers. Perhaps this is the backup safehouse for the Thieves Guild, and they've retreated here?

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Uh, OK, if we need to, we will!

We head out and move ever onward to the south.

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Oh, so someone else is fighting the Fire Knives! The Knights of Myth Drannor are a renowned group of heroic and good adventurers who fight off evil in the Dalelands, especially around the eponymous Myth Drannor, a long-ruined, monster-infested elven city that was once the capital of a large and long-lived empire. The princess is rumored to have joined the group.

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We'll respond "Princess Nacacia".

Also, "accursed flamed one?" Hmmmm.....

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Interesting, so there's a cleric attempting a rescue as well. We'll be on the outlook for him.

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And, we reach the end of the sewers, at the door to the Fire Knife Hideout. Hopefully we'll find the princess (and her would-be rescuer) within, and maybe some information on our mysterious bonds as well! We'll start there in the next post!

(Maps of the Sewers)

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Curse of the Azure Bonds (Part 8): Fire Knife Hideout (Part 1)

We enter the Fire Knife Hideout.

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The game feels the need to tell us that, apparently.

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Looks like the cleric we've been told about has been doing a good job of clearing the way for us! We follow the piles of bodies to see if we can find him.

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The cleric has apparently cast a blade barrier spell. I can only assume they put the option to "enter the blades" for the lolz to see if anyone would to it, because if you do, you take damage. We wisely choose "wait".

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I can only imagine that would be rather... messy.

We continue to follow the bodies...

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Good ol' hold person. We could just kill them all, but a bit of interrogation never hurt in these situations, right?

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Oh no! The cleric has been taken captive! However, the info that the leader's room is in the southern end of the complex is a useful tidbit of knowledge.

We continue forward.

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Sucks to be in group B.

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I imagine they're recovering from the cleric's assault. We continue into the next room.

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They only captured him a few rooms back, and they've already got him to the torture equipment. They must work really quickly!

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I mean, obviously, we attack.

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Only six of them, and they're likely surprised, so they should go down pretty quickly. Time to break out the spells!

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(Brother Baltor starts his spell while Bragir is in the middle of casting his).

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That will kill any who fail their saves, but thief-types are good at making saves for this type of spell. Brother Baltor has already run down to cast hold person on survivors.

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Two are held, and the other two are badly injured, before they've had much of a chance to do much of anything. I believe a dagger or two was thrown, but with little effect. Within a short time, they're all dead.

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With that done, we release the cleric from the torture equipment.

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Again, they must have worked very fast, since we actually saw one of his blade barriers reach the end of its duration, and they don't last particularly long (1 turn back in 1e if I'm not mistaken, so just 10 minutes).

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What, no NPC joining to help us out? Don't worry, we'll have plenty doing so later in the game.

(Although it's not stated in-game at this time, this cleric is Gharri of Gond, who was mentioned as having run off with the princess back in Journal Entry 1, which is a few posts back at the very start of the game).

Leaving him be at his own insistence, we continue onward.

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Intriguing! We go through the door.

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It doesn't seem like much at first, but this area is a secret corridor that the Fire Knives haven't discovered yet. From supplementary material, apparently they have only just moved in and haven't noticed it yet, which seems odd, as finding secret corridors would seem to be right up the alley of an organization of thieves. But, we'll take what we can get, as we'll be able to move around to different areas of the hideout without bumping into any patrols (frankly, we're lucky that we haven't done so already). As further thing to notice is that the ceilings for the secret area are red, which let you know if you're in or out of the safe zone.

We don't need to camp right yet, so let's explore a bit more before we do. We take the corridor to the southeastern portion of the hideout.

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(Notice the ceiling is now white, showing we've left the secret area)

We go through the door on the left and enter a finely-furnished apartment.

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Let's do a quick search.

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If you played PoR, it's bluntly telling you that this mysterious symbol is that of Tyranthraxus. So our old buddy is seeking revenge, apparently.

Beyond that, we've found some cool stuff!

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That's a substantial amount of money right there. But wait! There's more!

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Well, meh. This particular treasure is randomly determined, and we didn't get much of interest, which is particularly annoying given how few magic items we currently have. You would think that pure chance would have given us another +1 weapon, (heavy) armor, or shield at least.

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Yeah, the leather armor is of no use since Buffy has the bracers. The bastard sword (which can only be wielded two-handed in this game), can at least be used by one of the magic users in lieu of their current non-magical two-handed swords, but as it will do less damage, it's only an upgrade because it's magical.

We go through the door on the southern wall of the office.

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Oh, I do hope that's barbecue!

We continue on to the south.

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The game doesn't even allow you to use the "search" option here. It just flat-out says "nope, nothing here."

We head back to the hallway and take the door to the west.

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So, not barbecue after all. We take a look at the paper.

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Again, telling you the obvious for anyone who has played PoR. Apparently Tyranthraxus himself paid this fellow a visit and decided to kill him and burn it all down.

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Well, we had been doing very well, avoiding random patrols, but our luck was going to run out sooner or later.

As we're nearing the image limit, we'll start up with this battle in the next post!

Curse of the Azure Bonds (Part 9): Fire Knife Hideout (Part 2)

The battle commences!

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While Baroness Bella and Bant run up to melee, Bragir begins with his usual opening salvo...

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That quickly takes most of them down, and the melee take out the one next to them quickly. Unfortunately, the remaining one tries to run away...

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But Brother Baltor runs up and takes him down, even with a chair in the way.

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After the battle, we peek into the room through the doorway on the left, but it's just a destroyed laboratory with nothing of interest.

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With nothing much else to find here, we quickly retreat back to the secret rooms to rest up for the final push.

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Ready to go, we move forward, but then we overhear something interesting.

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Well, our unlucky wizard whose body we found must have been this Kybor. I guess it's lucky for the princess (assuming that the prisoner mentioned is her) that he met such a fiery fate.

We continue down the corridor and enter a room on the left.

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Apparently the survivors of Gharri's attack. I guess they're better off than the ones marked to not resurrect we saw earlier.

The survivors that fled "through the west wall" intrigue us...

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There's no door to be seen, but the map does show one. They must have fled through a hidden door!

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If it's important enough to point out, of course we open it!

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A nice combination of items! Let's see exactly what they are...

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Bracers AC 10 are a cursed item, so we'll just keep 'em around to see if we can dupe some gullible storekeep somewhere. Baroness Bella will get that very nice frost brand...

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The elfin chain is a downgrade for everyone, as nice as it is. Even Buffy loses a point of AC when wearing it.

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It will undoubtedly sell for quite a bit, though. And Buffy is compensated nicely with the flame tongue and the necklace of missiles. Brother Baltor will upgrade to +2 from his current flail +1. I'll give the mace to Bant, but change it to a battleaxe for flavor reasons. It's a bit of cheat, but it's a very minor change damage-wise (and these games are very stingy at handing out battleaxes).

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We move to leave the room, and...

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Well, we're bloodying our cool new weapons very quickly, I see...

Brother Baltor runs up to take a few out...

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And Brin will rain fire on the rest...

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And quickly the battle is over.

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With nothing of further interest in this room, we head out back to the main corridor.

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A soon-to-be ex-checkpoint, that is...

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LOL. Of course not.

Time to for Brother Baltor to take out a few again...

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And he's immediately hit by a thrown dagger, losing the spell...

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As they're all bunched up in a corner, making spellcasting problematic without friendly fire, we'll just take them down the old-fashioned way, with sword and bow...

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Soon, they're fleeing in panic, but as they're boxed in, they have nowhere to go. And soon another battle is won.

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We reach the door at the end of the corridor just beyond the checkpoint, to the south.

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They must have been guarding something important, so it's time for our first real pre-boss buffing session! We don't have too much now, but in later games, we'll have a dozen or more buffs to cast before the big battles.

Brother Baltor casts bless, prayer, and protection from evil, 10' radius.

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Bragir casts enlarge... And suddenly there's an issue I was unaware of in CotAB. I've used enlarge in the later games without issue, but hadn't really tried it in this game just due to limited spell slots and lesser effectiveness. At level 8, it will give the target 20 STR, although at higher levels it maxes out a very nice 22 STR.

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(Quick screenshot from an online strategy guide, as this info isn't put into a nice chart in game material).

So, Bragir casts it on Baroness Bella... and it says she's unaffected?!

I spent way too much time experimenting on this, but the only character that it affects is Buffy, who is the only one with below 18 STR.

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I played around with the editor, and any character with 18 STR (even those without extraordinary percentile 18 strength scores) are unaffected. Only 17 STR or below gain the buff.

Weirdly enough, when I created a character in CotAB and then had the spell cast on him, it worked perfectly, even with 18/00 STR. I thought it might be a result of using the editor to change stats, but when I did it after editing the stats for this new character, it worked fine. So, I guess enlarge only works on characters created in CotAB, or in characters imported from PoR but only if they have 17 STR or below. Which, while annoying, isn't a huge loss, as I only used it for special buffing situations like this, and it's not that much of gap in power. Well, enlarge, I'm sorry to say you're getting dropped from memorized spells until SotSB!

Anyway, we continue with the buffing. Both mages cast mirror image (which really helps when enemies target them for attacks - they just lose an image instead of spell!), and Bragir casts fire shield (cold), which helps against fire attacks (Brin was supposed to do so as well, but I forgot after the upcoming debate about the next spell).

And then we come to this...

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Should I or shouldn't I? Yeah, it will help with initiative and give me lots of extra attacks for the melee, but (spoiler) this won't be too terribly hard of a fight, and, as it's the 1e version of the spell, it will age everyone 1 year. But, conversely, the only one that will cause any problem with is Baroness Bella, as my sole human. Eh, there are elixirs of youth in later games she can take of advantage of and regain those lost years - so cast it we will!

Now fully buffed up (other than Brin forgetting to cast fire shield), here is what the group looks like:

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And through the door we go...

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Well, that certainly is convenient of the princess. But I guess slipping those bonds when there wasn't a heavily-armed group of adventurers there to deal with the guards wouldn't have worked very well.

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Quite a bit more than usual, backed up with magic this time. But being hasted and with fireballs ready to shoot, it shouldn't be too tough.

As we're nearing the image limit, we'll pick up here in the next post!

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