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I felt like it was my obligation to ask, hehe ^.^

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I guess one important thing that should be mentioned for those that never played the game but got interested now is how companions (and the party in general) are handled:

You can create up to 5 characters with the maximum party size of 6. When the party is created, you pick its global alignment which defines what choices of alignments you have for your characters (the one you pick + vertical and horizontal neighbours of it on the grid). This choice gives you a different introductory quest that sometimes stretches for most of the game.

There are many companions to pick up and some of them join at a way higher level than your party probably is at the time, so they can help a lot in combat, but they have two BIG caveats associated with them:

1. There's at least one instance of them coming in a pair and joining only if you have 4 pre-made characters (especially relevant for a LE group);
2. They freaking steal a percentage of the loot you find and you have no control over what they pick up. Expect to see their invetories flooded with a lot of random crap they found shiny and just stashed away, and carry with them until you get to a merchant. The coin that they mark as "theirs" is also inaccessible to you unless you kick them out and kill them. It's a very annoying mechanic to deal with and the very reason to not bother having them around and try to deal with everything yourself. There are probably mods that fix their inappropriate behaviour, though.

Last edited by Brainer; 08/12/21 09:24 AM.
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Originally Posted by Brainer
I guess one important thing that should be mentioned for those that never played the game but got interested now is how companions (and the party in general) are handled:

Okay, but ... romance?

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Originally Posted by Brainer
I guess one important thing that should be mentioned for those that never played the game but got interested now is how companions (and the party in general) are handled:

You can create up to 5 characters with the maximum party size of 6. When the party is created, you pick its global alignment which defines what choices of alignments you have for your characters (the one you pick + vertical and horizontal neighbours of it on the grid). This choice gives you a different introductory quest that sometimes stretches for most of the game.

There are many companions to pick up and some of them join at a way higher level than your party probably is at the time, so they can help a lot in combat, but they have two BIG caveats associated with them:

1. There's at least one instance of them coming in a pair and joining only if you have 4 pre-made characters (especially relevant for a LE group);
2. They freaking steal a percentage of the loot you find and you have no control over what they pick up. Except to see their invetories flooded with a lot of random crap they found shiny and just stashed away, and carry with them until you get to a merchant. The coin that they mark as "theirs" is also inaccessible to you unless you kick them out and kill them. It's a very annoying mechanic to deal with and the very reason to not bother having them around and try to deal with everything yourself. There are probably mods that fix their inappropriate behaviour, though.

The Mods fix some of that.

-With the mods the basic party size is 6 and you can pick up two more.
-certain companions will take a share of the treasure, meaning Platinum/Gold/Silver/Copper but they tell you what they will take before you hire them (a share of the treasure would be 1/7th or 1/8th of whatever money drops). I don't think they usually take items anymore unless story related.


Originally Posted by Niara
Originally Posted by Brainer
I guess one important thing that should be mentioned for those that never played the game but got interested now is how companions (and the party in general) are handled:

Okay, but ... romance?

Yes but not in the sense of Dragon Age - "My daughter needs a husband" for example and she then follows you around and takes treasure and nags you and sucks at combat until she dies because she is a peasant and can't fight.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 08/12/21 05:55 AM.

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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
"My daughter needs a husband" for example and she then follows you around and takes treasure and nags you and sucks ...
I was little affraid to read futher. laugh
Not what i was expecting tho. laugh


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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Yes but not in the sense of Dragon Age - "My daughter needs a husband" for example and she then follows you around and takes treasure and nags you and sucks at combat until she dies because she is a peasant and can't fight.
And her portrait is about the most nightmarish thing to witness in the whole game, reminding you of your folly all throughout.
You can play matchmaker in the first (of the two in total) town which is tangled up into the local religious conflict of a druidic order and the church of Greyhawk's LN-don't-care-whatever deity (St. Cuthbert). Greyhawk's the name of the setting, and I believe it was the first one ever conceived for D&D, before FR and DarkSun and Dragonlance and Ravenloft were a thing? It shares some deities with FR on account of being from the same multiverse (Moradin, Corellon, Gruumsh) but some are local.

Originally Posted by Niara
Okay, but ... romance?
The companions are barely there as characters. They have some environmental dialogue and will get pissed off and leave if you do something they don't like, but you can't really interact with them. They are basically NPCs from the original module in the most general sense - someone the DM would play as to help the party in combat.

Last edited by Brainer; 08/12/21 09:35 AM.
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I remember that I never got very far into Temple since I'm not a fan of plain dungeon crawls. And no Interactions with companions.
Yes, Greyhawk is the first setting.


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Originally Posted by fylimar
I remember that I never got very far into Temple since I'm not a fan of plain dungeon crawls. And no Interactions with companions.
Yes, Greyhawk is the first setting.


Yeah, you can interact with hired NPC's, but not with your primary party, and they don't really banter, although they do bark-on-move.

They do interact with everyone else, and you get specialized interactions depending on your Race and Intelligence. A low-intelligence (6 or less) Half-Orc has special dialogue options with most people that reflect their inarticulate nature.

As to the Dungeon Crawl aspect - the modifications have made it so you can avoid a lot of encounters if you are properly disguised, and new open areas have been added such as the entire city of Verbobonc.

But yeah, there is still a LOT of combat.


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This was Troika's last game if I'm correct and it was a masterpiece of the time despite the bugs, etc.

I still have fond memory of the DnD 3.5 turn based combats, 10x better than RTWP of Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale to be honest... (only combats tho)

And even if the story is kinda short, it had plenty of RP elements: if the NPC joined to help you, they took their share of the loot when they left the party!!! To me it was so immersive...

Such a loss that it couldn't get sequels and francise out of this gem... which it deserved so much.

Last edited by Lumign; 08/12/21 03:38 PM.
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Temple of elemental evil with the circle of eight mod is a totally different game to what people remembered. Absolutely Worth playing. Its in my favs collection with Planescape torment, Nox, Wizardy 8, Dark Sun 2, Fallout 1/2 and Arcanum.

Though I feel people in this forum are FAR from classic RPG fans, youl probably just get negative comments and <its not modern, no QUALITY OF LIFE stuff, no sex/romances, to much READING so MEEEH> so no point really discussing these great type of games here. Basically any game people complain nowadays because of <NO QUALITY OF LIFE> <MICROMANAGING> stuff, is a great cRPG experience in my book.
I mean people here are negative even towards BG1 and BG2! LOL.

Also these RPG classics are still actively supported BY MANY and have of back-ends to modern rigs (more resolution options etc...) like for Fallout 2 (Sfall) and Arcanum (UAP2.0). Everything runs perfect on my Win10 rig on a 32 LG lcd forced at 4:3 aspect ratio; to keep that classic feel wink. Im actually really tempted to get a cheap 17 inch SONY crt monitor to hook up via HDMI/Converter to just play these games.

Last edited by mr_planescapist; 09/12/21 01:25 AM.
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Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
<its not modern so MEEEH>

"No sex? No sale!"

I kid...but only slightly.

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ToEe (2003) with Circle of eight mod . Arcanum (2001) with (UAP2) and Fallout 2 (1998) with (Sfall) .

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Those visuals! They age like wine.

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Originally Posted by Lumign
This was Troika's last game if I'm correct...
Second-to-last, out of three (Bloodlines was the last). They sure lived up to their name in how many games they've created...

I guess calling them all "diamonds in the rough" is about as descriptive as one can be. Arcanum has a truly unique setting, strong plot and writing, robust dialogues, and a giant world to explore - but the combat is a miserable experience with braindead AI (especially on your companions), overleveled enemies requiring either grinding or cheese to deal with, and the awkward mix of real-time and turn-based (not a single instance of trying to combine the two ever really worked right - from Arcanum to Fallout: Tactics to the Pathfinder games). And there's a lot of combat - the main plot's got its share of dungeons which have little to offer except for corridors filled with enemies, and bypassing some of them requires a very specific character (and there are plentiful ways to screw your character up and end up with something useless). It was also a buggy mess back at release - I sure remember dead-locking quests and Raven (one of the companions) gender-swapping upon loading a save.

ToEE is probably the most technically sound and mechanically refined of the three, with the 3.5e combat replicated very accurately, save for the grid. Everything that has to do with fighting is about as well-done as it could be - but there's little to do except for fighting. There are only two peaceful hubs, out of which only the first one really has a plethora of quests, most of which are as complex as "go to my neighbour, use your diplomacy skill, go back, get reward". The rest is wilderness and dungeons, and the square mileage of locations is relatively small. It still takes a while to beat, because you will be fighting A LOT. Most of the fights are actually meaningful and require tactical thinking, though, so it's definitely a step-up from Arcanum in that department.

And Bloodlines... Again, the plot and the writing and the setting are all superb, but calling it "unfinished" is generous. They were pushed to release it alongside Half-Life 2 in time for the holidays, and the game was NOT complete by then. The entire last third is a sloppily put-together mess that devolves into two very long, very boring combat gauntlets with some of the worst boss fights ever conceived for a CRPG. On the bright side, everything up till then is a delight from an RPG standpoint. Playing as different clans offers a really different experience, and your choice of skills and disciplines on a tight budget of points offered to you allows for vastly varying playthroughs. Technically, it's a jankfest. It's Source engine in the hands of not-Valve. Combat and stealth alike are a trial in patience, because both are heavily influenced by your skill values, and function anything but naturally, so any way to skew them in your favour (disciplines, basically) is certainly a way to go.

It goes without saying that there's an abundance of mods for all three and they are all cult classics (although ToEE is often overlooked), all being passionately made games that suffered through development hell and misguided publishers.

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Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
Temple of elemental evil with the circle of eight mod is a totally different game to what people remembered. Absolutely Worth playing. Its in my favs collection with Planescape torment, Nox, Wizardy 8, Dark Sun 2, Fallout 1/2 and Arcanum.

Though I feel people in this forum are FAR from classic RPG fans, youl probably just get negative comments and <its not modern, no QUALITY OF LIFE stuff, no sex/romances, to much READING so MEEEH> so no point really discussing these great type of games here. Basically any game people complain nowadays because of <NO QUALITY OF LIFE> <MICROMANAGING> stuff, is a great cRPG experience in my book.
I mean people here are negative even towards BG1 and BG2! LOL.

Also these RPG classics are still actively supported BY MANY and have of back-ends to modern rigs (more resolution options etc...) like for Fallout 2 (Sfall) and Arcanum (UAP2.0). Everything runs perfect on my Win10 rig on a 32 LG lcd forced at 4:3 aspect ratio; to keep that classic feel wink. Im actually really tempted to get a cheap 17 inch SONY crt monitor to hook up via HDMI/Converter to just play these games.
I don't know who you are referring to, but there are plenty of us on this forum who are all about the classic RPGs. But those games are all about deep story, quests, characters, and world, and ToEE is NOT any of those things. It is 90% combat and 10% everything else, which is NOT the recipe for a true classic RPG.

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Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
Temple of elemental evil with the circle of eight mod is a totally different game to what people remembered. Absolutely Worth playing. Its in my favs collection with Planescape torment, Nox, Wizardy 8, Dark Sun 2, Fallout 1/2 and Arcanum.

Though I feel people in this forum are FAR from classic RPG fans, youl probably just get negative comments and <its not modern, no QUALITY OF LIFE stuff, no sex/romances, to much READING so MEEEH> so no point really discussing these great type of games here. Basically any game people complain nowadays because of <NO QUALITY OF LIFE> <MICROMANAGING> stuff, is a great cRPG experience in my book.
I mean people here are negative even towards BG1 and BG2! LOL.

Also these RPG classics are still actively supported BY MANY and have of back-ends to modern rigs (more resolution options etc...) like for Fallout 2 (Sfall) and Arcanum (UAP2.0). Everything runs perfect on my Win10 rig on a 32 LG lcd forced at 4:3 aspect ratio; to keep that classic feel wink. Im actually really tempted to get a cheap 17 inch SONY crt monitor to hook up via HDMI/Converter to just play these games.
I don't know who you are referring to, but there are plenty of us on this forum who are all about the classic RPGs. But those games are all about deep story, quests, characters, and world, and ToEE is NOT any of those things. It is 90% combat and 10% everything else, which is NOT the recipe for a true classic RPG.

I think this illustrates the subjectivity of this kind of discussion.

I tend to fall on the side of Temple of Elemental Evil being an excellent RPG in the most classic sense and while I don't disagree that there is a lot of combat, I also want to point out there are factors in play that demonstrate that it is also a work of carefully crafted storytelling in the classic sense.

However, we can't really discuss this unless we understand what "a classic sense means" but I think I can provide some insight here.

Classic would be:
1. Show don't tell - modern games insult the intelligence of the player by providing way too much exposition. Instead of allowing the player to figure out the history, motivations and stories of people involved they will have an "exposition" character that just explains it all.
2. Build the story into the Art
3. Create a challenging scenario that players are forced to struggle with, fail, possibly repeatedly, until they figure out how to overcome it/them. I find many modern games do a lot of "path polishing" instead of challenging players. Everybody gets a participation trophy. I have seen players on these boards complain about failing as if they were entitled to be protected from ever experiencing such a thing. Failure and defeat are wonderful teachers.
4. Respect immersive qualities. ToEE uses D&D currencies, insist on hirlings getting a share of the treasure, force you to make realistic weight and carrying decisions, and stick to the ruleset in regards to negative outcomes (if you raise a dead character they lose a level).
5. Allow the player 'moral" flexibility even if the options are grotesque and terrible you are permitted to carve a swath of violence through the realms or prance around righting every wrong and putting band aids on every boo-boo.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on what constitutes a classic experience to you.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 09/12/21 04:42 PM.

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I'd also like to point out that I have observed that Bg3 - in many ways - falls into the classic experience according to the criteria I outlined.

I present as evidence what I call "The Sad tale of Lenore, Cleric of Mystra" - I will mark as a spoiler as some may not have put this all together yet.

Lenore was a Cleric of Mystra who lived in the Arcane Tower in the Underdark. According to Blurg, the Hobgoblin with the Society of Brilliance Lenore "was a reclusive person who stayed in her tower and studied Underdark plants." Lenore wrote a lot, was a fan of poetry and plays, and corresponded with a few close friends. Lenore also owned a dog named Myrna who she adored and even set up a complicated magical feeding system that was keyed to Myrna's coller. (If a player wears the dog collar and pushes a button in the Arcane Tower they get a free steak, uncooked). Sadly Myrna died, and Lenore had her buried near where you can find Filo the crazy Drow mage and the Hook Horrors and where the Bullette spawns. She would regularly visit Myrna's grave to leave fresh flowers and on one such excursion she ran into the infamous Bullete - which Lenore decided to befriend. She must have been at least somewhat successful as it didn't kill her instantly. She wrote to her friend/lover Amarith about it who expressed concern that she felt Lenore was trying to treat the bullete as a pet which was very dangerous. Amarith's words ended up being prophetic as the Bullete attacked and ate Lenore and you can find her armor - The Slippery Chain Shirt - in its belly.
So ends the Sad Tale of Lenore. Which you only find out if you read all her letters, visit the dogs grave, kill the bullete and put a few things together. I LOVE this sort of writing.

Last edited by Blackheifer; 09/12/21 05:58 PM.

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Originally Posted by Blackheifer
Originally Posted by kanisatha
Originally Posted by mr_planescapist
Temple of elemental evil with the circle of eight mod is a totally different game to what people remembered. Absolutely Worth playing. Its in my favs collection with Planescape torment, Nox, Wizardy 8, Dark Sun 2, Fallout 1/2 and Arcanum.

Though I feel people in this forum are FAR from classic RPG fans, youl probably just get negative comments and <its not modern, no QUALITY OF LIFE stuff, no sex/romances, to much READING so MEEEH> so no point really discussing these great type of games here. Basically any game people complain nowadays because of <NO QUALITY OF LIFE> <MICROMANAGING> stuff, is a great cRPG experience in my book.
I mean people here are negative even towards BG1 and BG2! LOL.

Also these RPG classics are still actively supported BY MANY and have of back-ends to modern rigs (more resolution options etc...) like for Fallout 2 (Sfall) and Arcanum (UAP2.0). Everything runs perfect on my Win10 rig on a 32 LG lcd forced at 4:3 aspect ratio; to keep that classic feel wink. Im actually really tempted to get a cheap 17 inch SONY crt monitor to hook up via HDMI/Converter to just play these games.
I don't know who you are referring to, but there are plenty of us on this forum who are all about the classic RPGs. But those games are all about deep story, quests, characters, and world, and ToEE is NOT any of those things. It is 90% combat and 10% everything else, which is NOT the recipe for a true classic RPG.

I think this illustrates the subjectivity of this kind of discussion.

I tend to fall on the side of Temple of Elemental Evil being an excellent RPG in the most classic sense and while I don't disagree that there is a lot of combat, I also want to point out there are factors in play that demonstrate that it is also a work of carefully crafted storytelling in the classic sense.

However, we can't really discuss this unless we understand what "a classic sense means" but I think I can provide some insight here.

Classic would be:
1. Show don't tell - modern games insult the intelligence of the player by providing way too much exposition. Instead of allowing the player to figure out the history, motivations and stories of people involved they will have an "exposition" character that just explains it all.
2. Build the story into the Art
3. Create a challenging scenario that players are forced to struggle with, fail, possibly repeatedly, until they figure out how to overcome it/them. I find many modern games do a lot of "path polishing" instead of challenging players. Everybody gets a participation trophy. I have seen players on these boards complain about failing as if they were entitled to be protected from ever experiencing such a thing. Failure and defeat are wonderful teachers.
4. Respect immersive qualities. ToEE uses D&D currencies, insist on hirlings getting a share of the treasure, force you to make realistic weight and carrying decisions, and stick to the ruleset in regards to negative outcomes (if you raise a dead character they lose a level).
5. Allow the player 'moral" flexibility even if the options are grotesque and terrible you are permitted to carve a swath of violence through the realms or prance around righting every wrong and putting band aids on every boo-boo.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on what constitutes a classic experience to you.
I agree that these things are somewhat subjective. Furthermore, I also like all of the things you list here. And I am at a bit of a disadvantage as I have not ever played ToEE, and base my views of it on a combination of pro reviews and having watched many hours of gameplay on Youtube videos.

Here's the thing. I don't care for combat in my RPGs, because I have yet to come across an RPG that did combat in an enjoyable way for me. Combat is something I see as a necessary chore I have to deal with and get through just so I can enjoy all the other aspects of the game. So the things I consider to be core elements of a cRPG: a deep and rich story; interesting and memorable quests; choices with meaningful but also logical consequences; varied, branching dialogue; strong character development (which in my view 2e AD&D did NOT have, especially for melee characters); a wide range of options for party companions, who also have strong character development; deep world-building with lots of interesting lore; alternatives to combat for resolving encounters and completing quests; and most importantly, combat overall not taking up the majority of the game.

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