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Developer: UbiSoft
Publisher: Stormfront Studios
Platform: PC
Release Date: September 2001

by Scorpia

Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor -  PC Box



Table Of Contents

Part I - Information

Part II - The Game

Part I - Information

I.a† About The Game

POR is a dungeon crawl, loosely based on 3rd edition D&D rules. Anyone expecting the real system will be disappointed, though a fair amount has been incorporated here. Also, those who have some familiarity with the 2nd ed rules (as from Baldurís Gate, for instance) will be in for some surprises caused by the many changes from 2nd to 3rd edition.

For those reasons, you should read the game manual with care. Donít make assumptions based on prior knowledge. A number of players did that, and found themselves having to start over again; the characters they created werenít quite what they expected. For example, many gave their sorcerers a high intelligence, and wondered why the mages couldnít cast spells. In 3rd ed, sorcerers use charisma for their magic, not intelligence.

So, in addition to using this guide, be sure youíre familiar with 3rd edition, as interpreted by the designers of POR. A bit more on this in the ďSome Things You Should KnowĒ section.

I.b Bugs

We are all too familiar these days with bug-ridden games, and Pool of Radiance is no exception. The list below is by no means comprehensive, but it does cover the major flaws, as well as problems that many players have reported experiencing.

Installation - If you havenít installed the game yet, DONíT! A number of people had the install crash partway, and uninstalling also took off several important Windows files. This forced these unlucky people to reinstall Windows itself. This didnít happen to everyone (my install went okay), but thereís no way of knowing in advance if your install will be clean or not. So if you havenít installed yet, go get the patch from the POR site, which fixes this problem. If you already have the game installed all right on your drive, you may still want the patch for uninstalling later, just in case.

A secondary install problem is that you can only put the game on C: drive.† The install patch allows you to put it elsewhere, HOWEVER - you must still have enough room on C: for the install, even though itís going elsewhere.

Corrupted Save Games - Many had this happen. It appears to be related mainly to saving the game while invisible or blinking (these are Sorcerer spells), or possibly even after the spells wear off. May also happen with the displacement spell (this is unclear). There is a second, separate patch, to address this problem. I suggest getting the patch if you want to use the invisibility, blink, and displacement spells.

Keep in mind that there have been a few reports of corrupted saves even with the patch installed, though the cause is unknown. I found out about this one early (fortunately), and never used any of those spells, and have not experienced the save corruption so far. I also donít have this second patch installed.

In addition, any saves already corrupted wonít be fixed by the patch. It only fixes (supposedly) whatever causes the mangling of data. So if you have corrupt save positions, delete them.

The url for both patches is:

http://www.pool-of-radiance.com/message/update.html

I donít know how long that particular page will be around; if the link is no longer valid, just go to the main page and check the downloads section.

Relocking Doors - Some doors in the dungeons require keys to open. Players have later found these doors shut & locked again, with no keys available to reopen (keys disappear after being used). A door needing a key cannot be opened by picking or bashing; only the specific key can open that door.

This can be nasty, but there may be a workaround of sorts. Most of the dungeon levels have passages that lead up to the cave behind the tree in Stillwater. These passages can only be opened from below, but once open, you can take them from the cave back down.

I suggest you open every passage you find, even if youíre going to come right back down again. If a door is later re-locked on you, you may be able to get around by using these passages.

As an added precaution, never shut a door you unlocked with a key. If you need to rest, and the tent is green, you can sleep in safety. This is not a guarantee; even if left open, the door may be shut later.

Kya Mordrayn Not Triggered - At the penultimate moment, youíre supposed to fight Kya, then Pelendralaar, at the Pool of Radiance. Kya is communing with the Weave, and one party member goes behind her to trigger the destruction of the Sapphire. Then you take her on, see the FMV of her fiery end, and Pelly breaks in for the final combat.

For some, the fight with Kya never happens. Instead, they end up fighting just the dracolich, while Kya remains in the Weave. The reason for this is not yet known, and no one has come up with a workaround.

Iíve never had this happen myself. Maybe itís because I always go up the extreme right-hand path to Kya at the top (Pelly always enters from the left side). In any case, even if you donít fight Kya, killing the dracolich does complete the game, so itís annoying rather than a gamestopper.

Various Tech Woes - These include problems with sound, video glitches, mouse not functioning in combat, game becoming horribly slow, and random crashes to the desktop. Some may be cleared up by installing new drivers, but that hasnít worked for everyone.

There is no pattern to these troubles; they happen on Intel and AMD systems alike, different processor speeds, and all variants of Windows: Ď95, Ď98, 2K, Me, XP, etc. However, it does seem that owners of Dell machines have more problems than most. Several people have posted on the boards that bringing the game up and then just letting it sit for 30-40 minutes appears to clear up many glitches.

My only problem in this area is the crashing to desktop. It may be related to poor memory management in the code, as the crashes usually occur after playing for some time. You may want to stop every couple of hours, save, exit to desktop, and then start up again. Might help, might not.

If you do have any of these problems, be aware that there is no patch yet (this is being written Nov. 2001). Your only recourse is to check the pool of radiance site and get what help you can from there.

A patch is supposed to be issued in December 2001; what it will fix is not yet known. So keep an eye out for it. It may actually be useful.

Nightingale Court Spire - Once you have the spires working, you can teleport to various locales. Unfortunately, if you Ďport to Nightingale with a full party of six, one person always gets stuck in a rock, and canít be moved by any means. This happens regardless of whatever party formation you may have; the members are always arranged in a triangle on arrival.

All you can do is use the spire to teleport somewhere else; this frees the trapped party member. So remember, if you have six people, walk to Nightingale Court.

An additional problem with the spires is that they donít always ďconnectĒ to every other spire. For instance, getting to Stillwater often wasnít possible; it wasnít on the list of available destinations. Other times, Stillwater would be there, but someplace else was missing.

If the place you want to visit isnít on the list, try Ďporting around to other spires. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesnít. Should your destination just not come up, youíll have to hoof it.

Dwarf Tomb Golems - On the third level of the catacombs (second set of dungeons), is a series of small tombs with some very nice items. Theyíre guarded by a number of golems, who are not initially hostile.

The tombs also have undead in them, which you have to kill. Problems arise when the golems become activated during those fights. They have white circles, so you canít target them when they attack. Ouch!

First, save often in here, just in case. Second, when youíre going through the tombs, be sure that everything you fight is in the room, not outside it, especially not if a door in back is open. Be very careful using area effect spells, such as fireball.

This is particularly true when fighting spectres, some of whom are outside when combat begins. Donít use turn undead here; Halt Undead is safer. Kill whatever is around and wait for the rest to enter the room. If a golem starts heading your way, restore and try again.

The only exception is the two wights you encounter immediately after entering the tombs. Itís okay to beat on them; the golems by the door wonít attack (at least, I never had that happen).

Windrider Glade - In the NW corner of the glade is a bridge you can walk across to reach Stillwater. Very handy, except that once in awhile, it stopped working from the Windrider side. I donít know why. Coming across from Stillwater fixed that, temporarily, but later on, it stopped working again. Perhaps this is related to the relocking doors problem. Whatever, be aware this might happen to you. In which case, youíll have to reach Stillwater some other way and walk over from there to reactivate the bridge.

Missing Items - Some players have reported items disappearing from inventory. This seems to happen most often with Baneblade Faervian, which vanishes sometime between picking it up and arriving at Selornís tomb in the Halls of Light. There is no fix, but all you get eventually is another weapon, and it isnít vital to the game. See ďBaneblade RivenerĒ under the ďQuestsĒ list in Part II for details.

So by now youíre probably wondering, ďShould I play this game?Ē, and I donít blame you. Had I known all that stuff beforehand (especially the install business), Iíd never have touched POR myself.

As it turned out, my difficulties were mostly minor (outside of the annoying crashes), and the game ran relatively well for me, and numerous others.† Your mileage may vary. Play at your own risk and hope for the best.

So with that taken care of, we can now proceed to the guide proper (or as proper as anything gets with POR).

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