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D&D General Solasta: Crown of the Magister Offers A Hidden Fifth Edition Computer Gem

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Seven years in, one would think there would be an official Fifth Edition video game by now.

There are plenty of ways to play D&D electronically, such as the upcoming Dark Alliance action brawler or mobile versions of classics like Baldur’s Gate. Computer versions have yet to completely scratch the itch of playing a game with a Dungeon Master who can react to unexpected plans and adjust storylines on the fly. But they can still tell great stories and help out the dry periods when you can’t get a group together for whatever logistical reason.

Solasta: Crown of the Magister seeks out the audience looking for a computer RPG that uses the 5e rules set to tell its story. Kickstarted in 2019, it recently came out of Early Steam access looking to hook people who love D&D 5e and either can’t get enough or can’t get any. They sent me a code to try out the game after I covered it for a previous article. And while there’s some rough stuff going on, the underlying experience was engaging.

The game uses the 5e OGL as the basis for its game engine. Anyone familiar with 5e will know how combat works and those who don’t will learn soon after an amusing tutorial level where members of your party are telling tales of their adventures about how they got to the tavern. Unfortunately, this also means the game is restricted to the content available in the OGL, which means six base classes and humans, elves, dwarves and halflings as character options. There are some unique choices like snow dwarves or marsh halflings, but the options are far more limited than the standard Player’s Handbook.

The game also is rough technically. The character models are not great up close, load times can be a bit long and there are occasional sound glitches. The voice acting ranges from bad to decent with everyone speaking in an accent best described as a solid Ren Faire English. An official D&D game would have a lot more polish in these areas and it can be a little distracting sometimes during cutscenes or other non-combat moments.

The combat, however, is great. Not only does it run on a smooth version of the 5e engine but the set piece battles offer great variety. There’s a vertical aspect to the dungeons that’s really stunning and it opens up encounters in a way that rarely happens in tabletop grid combats. The game encourages exploration and tactical thinking in a way that makes fights more dramatic than they would be with a more grind-focused setup. The game wants you to fly and rain down spells or find that rock that you can push down on some zombies. Dungeon Masters looking to make their home game battles more dynamic should take note.

Another dynamic element is the party construction. Rather than a main character and sidekicks, the dialogue choices come from the entire party. Their personality traits affect the choices but it’s fun talking with quest giving NPCs as a group rather than a main character. It made me feel a little like a film director choosing when my sarcastic fighter would say something or my noble paladin would step in to smooth over negotiations.

The game is also expanding. It plans on adding some classes as well as setting up a Dungeon Master mode where players can create and upload new campaigns beyond the first. As a nice touch the game offers notes on skill choices that won’t turn up often in the main campaign but might still be useful in future content.

Fans of 5e looking for battle action and a decent high fantasy storyline on their PC should check out Solasta: Crown of the Magister.
 

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Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland

dalisprime

Explorer
I would personally advise anyone against dropping money on it right now. It may be out of early access but the amount of bugs makes it feel like it's still in beta. The ending of the game also feels incredibly underwhelming considering what's at stake.
 



Larrin

Entropic Good
I've been enjoying it greatly.

One cool thing is they give a lot of rule freedom to you. Lots of check boxes for "max hp on level up" and "enforce empty hand needed for somatic spells" and %damage taken from monster sliders. You can make it easy if you just want fun, you can make it authentic if you just want fun, and you could make it really punishing if you just wanted "fun". Want to play with all 18's in your abilities. Go ahead. Want to roll until you get an array you like, can do. I can set the experience to what I want my game to be like.

The combat is also very satisfying. A good breadth of choices, good implementation of mechanics, meaty hits, annoying misses. It's D&D combat and it's fun.

The models and voice acting are a bit laughable, and I'm fine with that. I like the crunch of the game, and it's really what I wanted it to be.

Except the camera. It's NOT deal-breaker bad, but the camera fights with me. It tasks me. I don't know if it's my settings, my computer, or if it's the "cameras are hard" effect is showing up.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Apparently it's better than the official Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, produced by WotC. Which doesn't give me hope for a certain product I can't discuss (NDA) ;)
I think you are confusing the Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance HD port with Dark Alliance.
 


sevenbastard

Adventurer
I'm not a video game guy, but I love the idea that someday thus thing might be modified enough to work as my VT.

I dream of a day when I can use three dimensions easily, automate some of the monsters, and track spell durations and such with ease.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I'm not a video game guy, but I love the idea that someday thus thing might be modified enough to work as my VT.

I dream of a day when I can use three dimensions easily, automate some of the monsters, and track spell durations and such with ease.
The dungeon maker allows you to make a video game scenario.... Butt not really trip use it as a VTT.... I've posted on discord asking if anyone can think of how to make that work, but the comments were snarky at best.... So far, I don't see an easy way to make that work.... No 3D VTT is even close yet to what you want. I own several... And none are close.
 

jsaving

Adventurer
I think Solasta is best described as 2021's Neverwinter Nights. The engine is great and its dungeon creator mode offers a lot of soon-to-be-tapped potential. However the campaign that's actually included with the game is a bit of an afterthought quality-wise, not "bad" but nowhere near what you'd be expecting if you're used to classics like BG2, Kingmaker, Pillars, etc.
 

dalisprime

Explorer
To those of you praising the game I have a question: have you completed it? I ask because I can excuse the inaccuracy of DND rules (off hand attacks, Paladin aura range, spiritual weapon), the bugs (party stash locking up never to be opened again -let's hope you didn't put anything valuable in there!, Aid spell not working the way it should, items disappearing from your inventory, tome of clear thought being unusable), the shovelware nature of some spells (lesser restoration, restoration come to mind) or even not really delivering on its core principle of elevation control being a major aspect when the only spell that gives you elevation control is levitate. I was never able to select a point in the air with the fly spell, and spider climb doesn't allow you to pick a point on the wall to climb to.

But then you also get the stupidly linear end game where exploration is all but nonexistent; the factions don't actually do anything for you other than existing as vendors despite there being an indication they should come to your aid and the ending itself is.... Underwhelming is giving it praise. It seriously feels like they ran out of funds and cobbled together a semi functional ending because they'd piss off their backers otherwise. Just a very a major MEH.
 



I think Solasta is best described as 2021's Neverwinter Nights. The engine is great and its dungeon creator mode offers a lot of soon-to-be-tapped potential. However the campaign that's actually included with the game is a bit of an afterthought quality-wise, not "bad" but nowhere near what you'd be expecting if you're used to classics like BG2, Kingmaker, Pillars, etc.
I haven't completed it, but I have spent a fair bit of time with it, and I'd broadly agree with your assessment. It strikes me as a real 7/10 game. It's decent, it's playable but it's nothing special. The campaign isn't quite as insultingly bad as NWN, but it's pretty bad. It's below my expectations and they were not high.
Solasta is brilliant, and compared with many bigger budget releases (Dark Alliance, Cyberpunk 2077) is very low in bugs.
I mean, that's a bit "Compared to Hitler he's a cool dude!". Sorry to Godwin man by Cyberpunk 2077 on launch was maybe the buggiest (or at least glitch-y-est) major release in a decade. Only Pathfinder: Kingmaker was a recent CRPG that was worse (PF:KM was astonishingly buggy - when I played it less than a year ago it still had tons of crash, infinite load, and even save corruption bugs, as well as game-ending quest bugs - at launch it was the worst I've ever seen since 1986 - but people still tried to say "This is fine!" about it).

Is it less buggy? Oh yeah, way less than 2077 was at launch. Is it pretty buggy and clunky and incomplete? Also yes.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
It isn't a ton of money.....if you want 7/10 and to play a turn based, D&D game, I guess I don't get what you want if not this.....(admittedly, I don't play many video games, and have only scratched the surface of this one.....but it feels like DnD to me, which is all I really want. I don't need awesome graphics and voice acting, just good enough.)
 

Azzy

KMF DM
I love this game. It's really a spiritual successor to the old Gold Box games even if it doesn't have the D&D licence and logo.

The character models are meh (the faces look like potatos, as someone else put it) and the voice acting is subpar. However, the rest of the game is grand and I recommend it to anyone wanting a turn-based D&D game that hews closely to the TT game's rules. As for bugs, I've ran into very few.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I love this game. It's really a spiritual successor to the old Gold Box games even if it doesn't have the D&D licence and logo.

The character models are meh (the faces look like potatos, as someone else put it) and the voice acting is subpar. However, the rest of the game is grand and I recommend it to anyone wanting a turn-based D&D game that hews closely to the TT game's rules. As for bugs, I've ran into very few.
I hope it gets on GOG eventually.
 

sevenbastard

Adventurer
The dungeon maker allows you to make a video game scenario.... Butt not really trip use it as a VTT.... I've posted on discord asking if anyone can think of how to make that work, but the comments were snarky at best.... So far, I don't see an easy way to make that work.... No 3D VTT is even close yet to what you want. I own several... And none are close.
Thanks for the clarification.

I will hold out hope that someday it will happen that a big name will get behind a VTT and my dreams will come true.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
To those of you praising the game I have a question: have you completed it?
Yup. I'll be playing it through again with a different party at some point after I finish CP2077 (😁). Three or four others in my regular D&D group have it and enjoyed, too. One of whom has already completed it multiple times on different difficulty settings.
 

dalisprime

Explorer
Yup. I'll be playing it through again with a different party at some point after I finish CP2077 (😁). Three or four others in my regular D&D group have it and enjoyed, too. One of whom has already completed it multiple times on different difficulty settings.
Fair enough! Good for you and your friends for finding it entertaining enough to humour multiple playthroughs. I enjoyed the game for most part but then the ending made me feel like my 30 odd hour investment into the game was time wasted.
 

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