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If anyone would like an enjoyable RPG to play with while waiting for BG3 I would strongly recommend checking out the 2003 Troika Games - Temple of Elemental Evil with the Circle of Eight Modpack plus the more recent Temple+ Mods (they stack).

Instructions for doing so can be found below - Link is to GOG and is safe.

How to Mod Temple of Elemental Evil

I have been spending a lot of time with this game and I have come to really appreciate how the game was implemented and especially combat.
- It is a Turn-based game
- You choose a starting alignment and that sets you up with an opening vignette that defines the mission that leads you to the village of Hommlet. All Alignments have their own vignette and starting mission. For example I started as NE and my game begins with me burning down a Church of St. Cuthbert (of the Cudgel!) and the Acolyte saying that "Terjon" would stop me if he was here...so after I kill him I head to Hommlet to pay a visit to "Terjon, and his 'flammable' Church!" Hahaha!
- It has an extensively detailed combat system that gives a wide range of abilities and actions you can take.
- It is very rigid in terms of 2E rules.
- It is fully voice acted and the voice acting is very good.
- it doesn't hand-hold. You have to ask questions and dig in to find out what is going on. People have motives, and you need a wide range of skills to ferret out the truth.
- This is the only CRPG made in the Greyhawk setting.
- There is a wide range of possible endings depending on how you behave in certain areas much in the spirit of Bg1 and 2, Icewind Dale and Fallout.
- A really engaging story with a lot of possible outcomes.
- The Mod community has done a crazy amount of work on this game - it's been a clear labor of love over 15 years.

Cons:
- No Multiplayer
- The concept of evil as a side that you choose is a bit quaint.
- The character appearance customization options are very limited. You can't even change skin color. It's just hair style, hair color, and height.

Warning: This is an adult game with adult themes. Not for children.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 07/12/21 06:21 AM.

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Nah,I wouldn't recommend it. ToEE is a bad game as a CRPG. I played it when it came out. The plot is childish, which is a huge minus. The only thing that's good there is a combat but if you like combat it's better to play a newer game.

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Originally Posted by Maerd
Nah,I wouldn't recommend it. ToEE is a bad game as a CRPG. I played it when it came out. The plot is childish, which is a huge minus. The only thing that's good there is a combat but if you like combat it's better to play a newer game.

Right, I also played it when it came out and I WOULD agree with you but I want to circle back to the 15 years of modding I mentioned since the game came out. Massive changes. The plot, major story elements have all been heavily reworked.

New areas have been added and fully fleshed out, including an entire city (Verbobonc) and entirely new dialogue trees have been implemented.

A huge change that made me happy was a proper starting area with actual enemies has been added so you don't have to play a dumb game of 'fetch' to get to level 2 in Hommlet. You can still do those of course, or you can go take care of a mysterious area involving trickery and kobol...i've said too much. You get to hit things. It's great.

Yeah the original game had solid combat but the rest of the game was a shambles - but a dedicated community can accomplish incredible things.

Anyway, I would invite you to revisit.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 06/12/21 11:14 PM.

Blackheifer
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Originally Posted by Maerd
The plot is childish, which is a huge minus.

"The plot is childish"? Dude, TTOEE is a dungeon crawl; story is secondary (at best).

Originally Posted by Maerd
The only thing that's good there is a combat but if you like combat it's better to play a newer game.

This title features the most faithful recreation of D&D 3.5e's ruleset in a computer game.

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Interesting, thanks for the suggestion Black. I now have it wishlisted on gog for the holidays.

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Without mods it sure is a Troika game through and through - as in, a big mess. Personally, I'd say it's the weakest from their catalogue, too. They replicated the tabletop module very accurately, but the amount of combat is just too much at some point. The entire latter 2/3rds of the game are a huge dungeon crawl that has quite a lot of variability (even from a role-playing standpoint!) depending on how you approach it, but the primary activity is still fighting, fighting, fighting.

It's almost like it sucked all the metaphorical well-implemented combat essence out of Arcanum and Bloodlines (so their combat is awful) but didn't have the traditional strengths of Troika games in turn. It's still an enjoyable ride if you like 3/3.5e, as it actually implements about as much as they could carry over mechanically. It does have a level cap of 10 (without mods) and no prestige classes, though, and the UI is, for the most part, horrendous (something Troika is also infamous for).

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The Temple of Elemental features a fantastic score: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF9253D5BF9C5B312

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It was a pretty fun game. very buggy due to it being released in an essentially unfinished state, but the determination with which Troika leapt at the goal of being the most faithful adaption of 3.5 to crpg medium was remarkable and laudable. A real shame that stuff never got polished up for the release and caught on with later games, because it really showed what 3.5 could offer mechanically. I think there was the potential for some really good followup games based on that rock-solid mechanical fidelity to 3.5 it pioneered.

Brainer hit the nail on the head with its strengths and weaknesses. Surprisingly good combat system, and (in addition to the bugs) little of that amazing Troika writing.

I feel like I see a little of its DNA in the Pathfinder games, which is something I like, it feels good to think that maybe its legacy lives on in some small way.

Little bit of tangentially related trivia: The first D&D game to feature a same-sex romance option.

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If ypu say Troika ... i say Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines!
Yeah i know its not dnd and its not turn based ... but still one of my top 5 RPGs of all time. :3


Short coment on my English. smile

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
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I actually tried to get into ToEE years ago during my earliest forays into discovering the cRPG genre. I couldn't get into it due to not really understanding much of what was going on mechanics-wise, not to mention having much direction to go on. I ended up bouncing off of BG2 almost immediately for that same reason, and now recognize that I should probably just play BG1 first despite everyone saying that it's supposedly skippable.

I think nowadays, I'd have enough understanding of general DnD mechanics to understand. What are the list of mods you'd recommend, Blackheifer? I think I had the so-called mandatory Temple+ mod, but it sounds like there are many more that I should be looking at.

Part of the reason I ended up being so interested in Solasta was that ToEE was championed as the best rendition of DnD turn-based combat in video game form, and that Solasta was poised to finally take that crown. So I would eventually like to see for myself if that estimation was any accurate at all.

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Thanks for the recommendation. But every time I check out youtube videos of people playing it I end up hating it. I don't care for dungeon crawls with a heavy focus on painful combat, with story, character development, and world-building being decidedly secondary. My interests are exactly the opposite: story, characters, world first and foremost, and combat I can even do without.

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Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
I actually tried to get into ToEE years ago during my earliest forays into discovering the cRPG genre. I couldn't get into it due to not really understanding much of what was going on mechanics-wise, not to mention having much direction to go on. I ended up bouncing off of BG2 almost immediately for that same reason, and now recognize that I should probably just play BG1 first despite everyone saying that it's supposedly skippable.

I think nowadays, I'd have enough understanding of general DnD mechanics to understand. What are the list of mods you'd recommend, Blackheifer? I think I had the so-called mandatory Temple+ mod, but it sounds like there are many more that I should be looking at.

Part of the reason I ended up being so interested in Solasta was that ToEE was championed as the best rendition of DnD turn-based combat in video game form, and that Solasta was poised to finally take that crown. So I would eventually like to see for myself if that estimation was any accurate at all.

Good question! Just follow this instruction set below - it really makes a huge difference. The Circle of Eight and Temple+ mods add prestige classes, extra areas, additional options for the temple and clean up the story areas.

How to Mod Temple of Elemental Evil:

#1 INSTALL YOUR GOG COPY OF ToEE

Please avoid using the default "programs" directory as some versions of Windows can have problems with this. One recommendation is C:\GAMES\ but it can be in any custom directory on any standard drive.

The GOG version is DRM-free and pre-patched with the official patches, GOG are pretty great like this. Forget what you might read about "Official Patch #1 and #2 and Unofficial Patch #3." You don't need any of them - the GOG version has the first two patches, the Co8 mod has the third built-in.

So hopefully you've got the basic GOG game installed. But it's SO buggy it's close to unplayable. It's more like a late Alpha or early Beta build, and the bugs were some of the most persistent criticisms of the original game. So let's fix that.


#2 ENSURE YOU HAVE JAVA INSTALLED

The mod installation process requires Java on your system. You can check if Java is on your system in the Add/Remove programs, if it is not get it and install it.

http://java.com/getjava


#3 INSTALL MOD "CIRCLE OF EIGHT" (Co8)

This is a massive community bug-fix, first release October 2003 final release September 2013. Let that sink-in; TEN YEARS of development over 44 separate releases, large and small.

There are two "editions" of this mod STANDARD and NEW CONTENT.

The STANDARD EDITION is bug fixes, lots and lots and lots of them.

The NEW CONTENT EDITION has all the same bug fixes but additionally contains "New Content". The readme gives full details but it includes a massive amount of new monsters, items, magic items, scrolls, spells, shops, NPCs, interactions, traps, portraits, encounters; more "uses" for skills like Intimidate or Pick Lock, and several new level-appropriate quests.

Because the New Content Edition contains all the Standard Edition bug fixes you only need to download ONE OR THE OTHER, not both. This boils down to your personal preference: do you want a conservative, vanilla, as-the-developers-made-it game, or do you want to go expanded & enhanced? Make a choice and download one of them. I chose the New Content Edition because I'm a greedy little pot-bellied piggy.

http://www.co8.org/community/index.php?forums/download-central.90/

When prompted choose the correct location of your ToEE installation, confirm it, and let it install. Be patient! This can take a LONG time so don't quit.

After installation it must be Activated. When the front-end launcher of the Co8 mod comes up, click the "Circle of Eight Modpack" tile at the top then click the ACTIVATE button at the bottom. Again, be patient as this takes ages. Do not quit until it has Activated.

Technically you can play right away. Look in the Options menu, you will see resolution options, Hit Point options, Level Cap remover, options for Attribute "buy points". You could launch the game right now. But our modding quest continues, so QUIT the "Circle of Eight Modpack" front-end utility for now.

NOTE: it is quite possible to install both Editions, obviously you only play one or the other. By all means download the other and install if you wish. You switch between them via the Activate facility.


#4 INSTALL A PORTRAIT PACK (OPTIONAL)

Some users have created additional character icons to use in the game, these add but do not replace the existing game's icons. There are currently FIVE portrait packs, however due to engine limitations only ONE may be active at any one time. The packs are:

1. Baldur's Gate
2. Icewind Dale
3. CUSTOM
4. Jagged Alliance 2
5. Luis Royo
Obviously three of these (1,2,4) are from existing games.

CUSTOM is interesting as it give sets of blank tiles with the correct technical specifications (size, bit depth, alpha channel), you modify these tiles in a paint program or replace them with ones with the correct technical specifications, and they become available for use in-game. Otherwise creating custom portraits is a *real* PITA. See the relevant Readme files for more details.

The final Pack is art from Luis Royo; his style appears to be 1980s fantasy barbarian lady in heavy makeup, cultivating a high-maintenance hairspray hairdo with highlights, with her massive-yet-pert tits hanging out of half-armour; and the males seem to be auditioning for the cover of a Conan the Barbarian fanfic erotic novel before heading out on GRINDR dates. Basically... I cannot imagine a circumstance in which these would not be my default Portraits. But fair warning they do contain partial nudity: boob-nipple & thong-butt, no bush.

Download any or all of these Portrait Packs from this thread:

http://www.co8.org/community/index.php?threads/co8-portrait-packs.7735/

For each Pack there are three variants: Standard Edition, New Content Edition, and Keep on the Borderlands. "Keep" is a separate mini-campaign that does not integrate into the main game so we're ignoring it for now, but if you finish ToEE it might be worth checking out. Anyway, grab any or all of the Portrait Packs for your installed "Edition".

Each Pack is wrapped with an EXE installer, run it and when prompted put the correct directory of your ToEE installation. You may install as many Packs as you like without conflict.

Once your Portrait Packs are installed launch the Co8 front-end, probably from the Desktop shortcut, and click the "Portrait Packs" button. You will be given options of <Default> and a list of the Portrait Packs you installed. Select the one you want to use and click OKAY. Once again, this installation can take a LONG time; let the program run its course and do not quit. When you finally get the dialogue informing you of a successful install, QUIT the front-end.

Unless you play "The Keep on the Borderlands" at some point in the future, or want a change of Portraits, this might be the last time you use this front-end!


#5 INSTALL MOD "TEMPLEPLUS"

As much respect is due to the Circle of Eight, as much as it has achieved, it is now over. A ten-year project of that size is nothing to sniff at, but it ended in 2013. A decade of development, half a decade of stagnation.

The legacy has been continued by a different modder with active community support. He has made various further fixes and updates, not least of which are technical fixes, better AI pathfinding, fixes for AI Listen checks, custom screen resolutions, etc. Best of all his mod is completely compatible with Co8 and his "extra" stuff is optional; you'd be crazy not to get it.

Download it from:

http://www.moddb.com/mods/temple1

Install it, again ensuring to input the correct ToEE game directory. Two icons should be created on the Desktop.

- TemplePlus Config
- TemplePlus
Run "TemplePlus Config"

At the top it should show the correct installation directory, the current patch version e.g. mine says DLL Patch2 (Co8) and a green tick to confirm correct installation.

You have some technical options such as screen resolution, anti-aliasing and software shadows. Hovering over options gives some handy tool-tips. You probably want the Max Levels to be 20 (the engine maximum).

Now click the "House Rules" button. Here I recommend:

[x] Tolerant Townsfolk
[x] Disable Door Re-Locking

To access the new content of the mod you should click

[x] Non-Core Materials
[x] Prestige Classes

Also a good idea is "HP on Level-Up" either AVG or MAX, rolling a few 1s for a Fighter's HP is depressing.

"Point Buy Points" is how many points you have for character creation if you choose not to Roll.

You can choose any amount but for fun I've drawn up a few example lists to help you select a suitable number:

- default the game gives you 25 points
- In my tests 1 roll in 20 gives gaves 46 to 53 points
- all 15 stats requires 48 points
- all 16 stats requires 60 points
- all 17 stats requires 78 points
- all 18 stats requires 96 points
These following list is the points required to create the historic AD&D character with the highest attribute requirements, assuming attributes without a minimum value are left at the ToEE default value of 8:

- 28 points, Cavalier (Unearthed Arcana)
- 31 points, Ninja-Sohei (Oriental Adventures)
- 32 points, Barbarian (Unearthed Arcana & Oriental Adventures)
- 34 points, Bard (1st Edition)
- 44 points, Cavalier Paladin (Unearthed Arcana)
Well-known mod & fan site Sorcerer's Place (sorcerers.net) has an "ideal" example party in their Walkthrough section, he made quite a few rolls per character, these are the points required to purchase each of them:

- 42 points, Sir Tirion the Paladin
- 46 points, Alliria the Druid
- 54 points, Ferofist the Cleric
- 56 points, Lanatir the Sorcerer
- 61 points, Valarian the Mage
Moving on, if you click on "Lax Rules" a new menu opens up with various options depending on how much flexibility you want. For more experienced players a "Slower Levelling" option gives more challenge.

When you have finished click the OK button to exit the config program.


#6 CRITICALLY IMPORTANT FINAL STEP

Run ToEE from the TEMPLE PLUS icon (NOT the Co8 launcher). The loading screen should show two lines of text reading:

THE CIRCLE OF EIGHT MODPACK
9.16.2013
That confirms your Co8 pack is installed correctly. Immediately go to:

OPTIONS
GAME OPTIONS
PREFERENCES
Ensure AUTOSAVE ON MAP CHANGES is *NOT* checked. This is a vital thing to do.

Exit the OPTIONS menu and you should be good to go!

In future loads of the game, always use the TemplePlus shortcut.


Blackheifer
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Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
If ypu say Troika ... i say Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines!
Yeah i know its not dnd and its not turn based ... but still one of my top 5 RPGs of all time. :3

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines was one of the best RPG's of all time. Also another one that had a huge community of loving fans who ended up modding the game - I still fire it up every few years and play it.

We've already discussed the sad fate of Bloodlines 2 - I stand by what i said - it's dead in the water and it's entirely Paradox's fault. The "I am going to take my ball and go home" approach to development doesn't work.


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What a novel concept...a game that focuses on gameplay think. Incidentally, I have one more observation to add: the prerendered backgrounds in The Temple of Elemental Evil still hold up even to this day.

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Originally Posted by Maerd
The only thing that's good there is a combat but if you like combat it's better to play a newer game.

Why would it be better to play a newer game? The only games that feature better TB combat are even older.


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Oh yeah, I did have Circle of Eight too. I assume Temple+ has been updated further since I last attempted to play the game back in 2018 or so, and I think once I find the time to play again after going through FFXIV's latest expansion, I'll give it a whirl.

I know very little about how DnD 3.5 classes operate (even though Pathfinder is supposedly modeled after them), and even less about the prestige classes, so this is going to be a hell of an experience.

Last edited by Saito Hikari; 07/12/21 06:26 PM.
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Originally Posted by Dexai
Originally Posted by Maerd
The only thing that's good there is a combat but if you like combat it's better to play a newer game.

Why would it be better to play a newer game? The only games that feature better TB combat are even older.

I am glad you said it, that whole post had me scratching my head.

Maybe Wasteland, back when EA was an actual gaming company and not The Destroyer of IP's.


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I've always been intrigued to try this game but as far as I know it has never been available on Mac.

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So....

How do the halflings look? I can't find any screenshots that show me.

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Originally Posted by Niara
So....

How do the halflings look? I can't find any screenshots that show me.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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