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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

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Got what I think is a preview of the sourcebook in PDF form today. It looks great, very high production quality. No idea if you can get it w/o being in on the KS.....
 

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I bought and finished the game.

The combat is quite enjoyable, even if single player dnd is far less fun then doing it with friends. Low rolls with friends can be fun, by your self not so much. That being said this is the only true (or mostly true) 5e battle emulator on the market Im aware of and this is the games best selling point.

The dungeons delving was enjoyable if a bit light. Unfortunately glitches can mess with your progress at certain points. Im fairly certain 1 dungeun was unsolvable by normal means to me, thankfully I could use mist step to continue the dungeun.

The story was fairly bland and lacking. It was passible, but nothing that will stick in your mind.

The role playing is basically nonexistent. You assign personalities to your party and watch them do their thing. As a subtitute for role playeing, its a joke, but as its own thing, it was some what fun watching the characters interact. Still a dnd game with out true RP is incomplete.

The loot system is half baked IMOP Most loot is obtained through crafting, wich realistically is not optional if you want decent gear. The crafting system requires to get a recipe, a reagent, and primed gear that all align to make anything. For instance you need a blood diamond and a primed great axe and the corresponding recipe to make the best great axe in the game. The problem is 3 fold

1) the system is poorly explained and you can screw your self. You need access to certain shops to get good gear, you need reputation to get access to shops, and you have very limited opportunities to increase your reputation. you wont know this early on and chances are you will lock yourself out of most gear in the game

2) its largely luck dependent. If you dont find any one part of a recipe you cant make it. Many parts are not sold in any shop so you are left at the mercy of RNG. I was only able to make 2 items for my entire playthrough.

3) You rarely find anything great in any dunguen. Finding a reagent is not very eciting especially when most likely you cant use it and have nothing to buy by selling it.

All in all, I enjoyed the game, but it has its rough edges. I would still recomend it at least on a sale. if you enjoy 5e combat. Baulders gate 2 is still the king of dnd video games and is more them worth the learning curve..
 

3) You rarely find anything great in any dunguen. Finding a reagent is not very eciting especially when most likely you cant use it and have nothing to buy by selling it.
All primed items can be bought (you may need faction rep for some), along with many reagents. There is a recipe dealer too, but they are hidden away in an obscure location. Reagents are not entirely random - dig around near a volcano and you can find what you need to make dozens of fire arrows (combined with cheep arrow parts from a high-street vendor).
 

All primed items can be bought (you may need faction rep for some), along with many reagents. There is a recipe dealer too, but they are hidden away in an obscure location. Reagents are not entirely random - dig around near a volcano and you can find what you need to make dozens of fire arrows (combined with cheep arrow parts from a high-street vendor).
sure. Hope you gained access to those shops very early on when you could or you have locked yourself out of them for the rest of the game.
 


Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Wow... Just binge-played the game (main and side quests as thoroughly as I could). I recommand it wholeheartedly, and give it a mark of 8/10 despite a few low points...

Some unsorted remarks, that will echo what was already said...

1. The engine is mechanically very close to 5e, the implementation is good and quite faithful. There were a few things not used in the campaign, but it was generally correctly shown right from character creation. Some were implemented maybe for future use: there is, as far as I know, a single instance of a language being used... but you get to pick several of them according to the 5e rules. The interface does a good job at being unintrusive, reminding for example that casting spell X will break your concentration on spell Y and offering your to reconsider. There were some deviations, but generally for ease of use. For example, magic containers in the portable hole, bage of holding and so on family were simplified: items only have weight and they act as carrying capacity multiplier (over the variant Encumbrance rules implemented in the game) -- and frankly rarely at my table we check that something is small enough to actually enter the opening of the bag of holding anyway... unless someone wanted to store a piano or something like that...

2. The fights are tactical and interesting, but never gimmicky. It's useful to push enemies into a chasm or a spell area of effect, but there is no unbeatable fights unless you think of how to fight a given foe. The game is a tactical RPG with an emphasis on tactical: if you're in for the story, it takes a marked second place after the battles.

3. It's interesting, when playing, to realize how easy things are when a computer does it, like taking into account lighting or cover, including one granted by other characters/monsters when firing an arrow.

4. The graphics are OK. Not ugly, not great, just OK. Sure, it's not CP2020 but it's not what is asked of this type of games I guess. Sometimes I was expecting a voice to yell "you must gather your party before venturing forth" because the graphic style was reminding me of Baldur's Gate, not because it was dated!

5. The translation (into French) is strange, varying from good to cringeworthy. Some errors would have been found if the text had been simply typed in Word (like grammatical errors), some errors are more subtle but should have been caught by a proofreading and some are just... uninspired. I usually play with the English voices and English subtitles but this time I chose French and couldn't be bothered to change back... (if it was truly awful I'd have switched back to English subtitles). Considering it was a game from a French studio, I found it... odd.

6. The game isn't hard... then I remembered that I rolled for stats and created a team of superheros. However, I don't think a few +1 here and there would really have changed things that much. However, like most tabletop games I play in, there fights-per-rest ratio wasn't what was expected of the DMG. It is generally easy to backtrack to a place where you can take a long rest, and even if you don't try very hard, I guess there are rarely more than 3 serious fights in a row between long rests. Maybe more but then it's quick and easy encounters. Therefore it's quite possible to nova often, which makes the game on the easier side. There are sliders to adjust difficulty but I didn't fiddle with them. O

7. On the same topic, I would have reached level 11 if it was possible while going toward the endgame and I estimate there is enough XP in the campaign to reach level 12 (with the cap being at 10). It means it's quite possible to be "over-leveled" for the content without trying hard to grind, just by trying to do the side quests.

8. Crafting was OK. I see a lot of complaints because you could miss some of the good recipe (there is a merchant popping up in a place you get really few reasons to go to after the first time, so it's easy to miss, and for the rest it depends on loot) or some of the good ingredients, and because you could be unable to buy the enchantable (primed) items to craft, because of reputation with the faction vendor being hard to reach. It's true but I liked having to choose which faction to sell some loot to to improve standing. Maxing them all would lessen the immersion, I think. Besides, magic items are largely optional to finish the game and crafted items are better, but not incredibly better than found/bought items. For example, the best items you can make are +1/+2d6 damage when you can get a regular +3 weapon of the same type. Maybe it's a thing of the RNG, but I found the crafted bows much more interesting as you don't get many good bows to buy, so your crafting ends up being a net improvement of one die of damage over what you can find. But nothing game changing, and I wasn't disappointed to be unable to buy everything I wanted.

9. During the campaign, you'll fight enemies that have a reasonable to-hit bonus... (in the endgame, generally around +6 with the exceptional +8), and it's quite easy to have very high AC in this game. In the endgame, my mage had AC 21-22, my fighter AC 25ish. I think the lowest AC I had was a combat cleric who sported a lowly 19 because I could never make him anything better than a +1 half-plate and no shield. There are fights I entered where the enemy could place very few solid hits. Since you can get a high AC quite quickly, after level 4 or so, the fights will be rather on the easy side, and become more difficult right at the end. But because the game caps at level 10, the balance is overall in favor of defence...

10. Stealth is supremely useful. You can surprise your opponents nearly every time and getting a round of concentrated fire can down a important ennemy asset. I found that surprise situations happened much more than in table top. Having the odd enemy with Alertness of simply sounding an alarm so the next group isn't surprised would have been a great change of pace.

11. The story is... servicable. It is OK, but suffers from a very quick change of pacing at the end. I wouldn't go as far as say that the game should have spanned 20 levels to accomodate the quickened events of the ending that occur too quickly to be credible and introduce a healthy dose of foreshadowing, and some of the reactions feel forced... "OK, we're all being complete asses to you. Your next assignment is to go in a random village because there might be a cult operating over there..." and the party agrees uniformly that it's a great idea.

12. I quite liked the intra-party banter. Felt more alive than IWD... With a fullly created party, they can't have the level of conversations one would expect in a title where there are recruitable NPCs, so I guess the best comparison is IWD, and they succeeded in giving the feeling of 4 adventurers grouped and not 4 mindless zombies.

13. The morality of the character's actions is questionned during the dialogue. Often, it's avoided... (for example, when they discusss and someone points out that they can't kill surredering humans, said prisonner quickly die conveniently) while it could have introduced an interesting branching in the story. The main events are extremely linear and I feel any opportunity should have been seized to increase the amount of player choice. You can ally or betray a side during a quest... with no consequences.
because you'll cause the volcano they live in to erupt, utterly destorying both your foes and allies' tribes, causing a one-line orison from your party.
. You can steal or not, but it doesn't ultimately matter AFAIK (so stealing is actively rewarded, despite being pointed out sometimes by your party).

14. I didn't check the dungeon editor, but if they turn the game into 2020's NWN, I can see great promise there.

15. The verticality of the dungeons is off, or more exactly could be exploited better. Some enemies take to flight... only to have their concentration broken by archers and dying from fall damage. It was impressive to have the enemy shaman cast Fly... for about six seconds. It could have been used better, I guess, especially since you can get items and spell to walk on the walls, in combat. It's mostly useful for exploration and reaching otherwise impossible to get loot.

16. The story relies on the D&D rules at some point. This is good. When a group of high-ranking people gets assassinated, prompting their country to threaten military action, the answer is... "OK, the city council will have them resurrected at a heavy diamond cost, no need to be irritated." At some point it forgets it, though
so your manor will forever have a notary and two childhood friends of a character lying dead in the porch, because apparently childhood friend status isn't enough to warrant casting Revivfy.
but it was nice to have a game that remembers that death is a temporary condition for the elite who have access to high-level spellcasting. The plot of the main enemies was kind of smart, especially when compared with the morons that are your employers.

All in all, I consider replaying it with a point-buy party, trying to leverage less the stealth option to turn the game into a sniper's paradise and see if my opinions on difficulty change.
 
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