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AD&D Games, style games...digital, real... gold box? I dunno...


Tanooki
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I recently found some beat up but intact(beat covers) 2nd edition AD&D books and it got me yet again as I seem to yearly for some time now, want to crack back into it.  I just don't have any good idea how.

Each time I dig it seems it comes back to Waterdeep and Knights of Pen and Paper 2 on mobile, etc, so I grabbed them.  They feel similar, but at least the D&D one, is pretty grindy wanting to sell gems, the other seems fine and actually has a DM which is cute.

I was wondering is there a better digital alternative?  If not, anyone maybe knows of someone making one?  Or does anyone here still bother, like is this something that can be done maybe once a week or two on discord?  If so, how?  I haven't done it since like I was a young teen where I played for like a year or so on my lunches and it was nice.  I find the NES stuff pretty crap, and maybe the Gold Box stuff for PC would be good using the Companion?

 

Any thoughts, help, ideas?  I like kind of the two I found on mobile, but the one (ad&d waterdeep) is rapidly coming to a wall crawl and I'm not going to put $100s of real money to slow a week long grind to just another level on some disposable gear.

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There's honestly no substitute for the real deal (a proper face-to-face, pen and paper and dice affair with friends). Even virtual sessions with live players don't really quite do it for me.

But for a digital fix, it seems like I always just ended up going back to the Baldur's Gate games, or Planescape: Torment. I've tried a number of the 8 and 16-bit attempts. A couple of them are admirable but rarely do they feel worth playing today. The Ultima games also sometimes give me that kind of enjoyment, since it was all based on Richard Garriott's own D&D campaigns.

But yeah, I miss sitting at a table full of friends, chucking dice and slinging spells. D&D wasn't always my favorite table top RPG but I did get more than my share of enjoyment out of it when it was on the agenda.

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8 hours ago, Webhead123 said:

But yeah, I miss sitting at a table full of friends, chucking dice and slinging spells. D&D wasn't always my favorite table top RPG but I did get more than my share of enjoyment out of it when it was on the agenda.

That last part this entirely.  Right now I'm just messing with the two I said and they're alright, just curious how long until it gets payment painful.  I've never really figured out Ultima, but my limited experience has been a loose game whether it was oldwarez or firing up some NES version and it made no sense at all.  The only Ultima I've ever meddled with and got some enjoyment was Underworld(1) for DOS, so I went and took advantage of the 75% off sale on GoG and got it and the sequel last night for a dollar fifty.  I never got far there either, but it was fun, and GoG at least has the cluebook and all the books/maps in PDF format to tap into.

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I guess it depends on how much time you’re really wanting to invest.  Starting as a kid and continuing through my teen years (off and on), I played the gold box AD&D games on PC and managed to take a single party through every game capable, and had a blast doing so.

(Pool of Radiance -> Hillsfar -> Curse of the Azure Bonds -> Secret of the Silver Blades -> Pools of Darkness)

I never managed to finish the last game (you start jumping dimensions and are suddenly bereft of your high level gear you collected up to that point—only found out a couple of years ago how you’re supposed to get past that problem), but I had an incredible amount of fun with those games, to the point that the randomly determined tendencies of the characters helped form personalities in my mind and shape the general story being told beyond what was explicitly spelled out on the screen.

I’m not sure if it was glitches in the code or a built in mechanic to have random “miracles” occur like a DM night, but there were a few things I still clearly remember which happened in a few of the games that are literally impossible per the strict AD&D rules that are otherwise followed.  These were good things, mind you, and totally unexpected, occurring in “save the day” moments where you’d otherwise have to reload and try your luck again.

The Eye of the Beholder series game out about the same time, but they’re restricted to essentially being dungeon crawlers with only one view and a totally different combat style from any of the other gold box games (games I mentioned, Dragonlance and Savage Frontier series).  The Dark Sun game that came out shortly after these is also a lot of fun.

Baldur’s Gate and beyond are relatively decent games, but to me, having played the earlier games, really feel more like Diablo to me than the earlier releases did, thus I played at them a bit but never finished them.

Hope this helps you find some games you enjoy!

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That's some good ideas there (both of you.)

I actually have those GoG releases of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, also Icewind Dale too.  I've tried a few times to start and restart those back up, but it's such a painful slog and I'm not a big fan of the interface.  They're still installed, but they just felt so slow and incremental it drove me to boredom.  Dragon Age I got when it first dropped on GoG too, put maybe 10 hours on it and it just never stuck with me so I removed it.

Gold Box/Companion stuff I've never attempted, again GoG, but I do think I have a couple of those games in my account.  I'm seeing 3 Eye of the Beholder games, Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures, Gateway of the Savage Frontier, Hillsfar, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, Secret of the Silverblades, Treasures of the Savage Frontier, and I think that's it.  I don't think I ever bought them, not sure how they got in there unless it was one of their countless giveaways.

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On 1/23/2021 at 2:17 AM, Webhead123 said:

There's honestly no substitute for the real deal (a proper face-to-face, pen and paper and dice affair with friends). Even virtual sessions with live players don't really quite do it for me.

It depends on your group.  I have a phenomenal group that I have been gaming with in virtual sessions since 2013 and I am having a much better time with them than other, live sessions I have been in.  I got really lucky, though.  I am 41 and I am probably the youngest in the group.  My group consists of players going back to the 1970s and we are playing Basic (Moldvay B/X) D&D with flourishes of 1st Edition.  I can honestly say that this is one of the few instances that I have made lifelong friends via a virtual, non-forum platform.

We have plans, once the pandemic is done, to meet up to game live for an extended weekend...quite possibly at Castle Ravenwood here in Ohio.

@TanookiRoll20.net

You're welcome!  😄

Edited by Sumer
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Are you looking for a single player D&D like game, multiplayer D&D like game, or way to host D&D online? I feel like all 3 have been mentioned. To throw 2 more out there, Neverwinter Nights is the closest game to D&D 3e in terms of rules and has tons of multiplayer content and a Dungeon Master role if you want it. Divinity Original Sin 2 isn’t D&D at all but comes the closest to feeling like a roleplaying game due to flexibility, no grinding, and big mix of non-combat roleplaying things. If you don’t like Baldur’s Gate, hope may be lost though.

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Preferably I'd love it if someone had created an AI DM where I could just play on my own to get back into it after decades.  I know that's not going to happen, so I'd need to find a group, I have no supplies so it would need to be something generated and a group that wants others who are new or not played since like forever so you're not like a drag on the rest.

I'm not sure about that Roll20 thing, I bookmarked it, kind of curious but it looks like for advanced players and for those who have sets of books, etc to work from already which I don't.

 

And no I didn't care for Baldur's Gate.  I'm ok with Ultima Underworld which I tried the other day after like 25 years of not having it.  Divinity I've considered that once I saw it hits some big cuts on GoG, and that it's also on Switch with data sharing between the two which is really handy (I know Witcher 3 does this too.)  But as you said, it's probably more like a normal RPG than anything, like a turn based Diablo than D&D.

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42 minutes ago, Tanooki said:

Preferably I'd love it if someone had created an AI DM where I could just play on my own to get back into it after decades.  I know that's not going to happen, so I'd need to find a group, I have no supplies so it would need to be something generated and a group that wants others who are new or not played since like forever so you're not like a drag on the rest.

I'm not sure about that Roll20 thing, I bookmarked it, kind of curious but it looks like for advanced players and for those who have sets of books, etc to work from already which I don't.

Well, Roll20 is a decent enough space if you're wanting to play an RPG with friends and have some sort of online support structure to do so with.  A couple of years ago I played in a campaign with some friends for a few months (before getting sidelined by life) and it wasn't bad.  I can't speak to what the DM side utilities look like, but it provides the ability to put down a map for people to visualize things and even play on, if so desired, with players picking out the digital equivalent of miniatures to represent them.  We played AD&D, which a lot of stuff on that site was specifically built for, so it was relatively easy to keep records in a virtual character sheet, look up details regarding spells, abilities, etc., as it was all already catalogued on the site.  For other games it might not be so comprehensive, but the same general tools (visual play area, icon based "miniatures," etc.) could still easily be put to use.

As for sets of books, if you have them, great, but if not, many times there are digital versions available online for purchase or to be obtained in other ways (depending on how you feel about that sort of thing).  When we did the WEG Star Wars RPG years ago virtually (long before Roll20 or any such service was even thought of), I ended up with scans of all the books that I owned so I could have them all available at a finger's touch on a tablet while everybody talked everything out via Skype/Google Hangouts/whatever we were using for voice chat in those days.  For visualizations, images either got posted into the text chat of whatever app we were using or quickly emailed over.  Even in those days, it wasn't really a big deal to do so long as a little basic prep was done ahead of time.

If you want to play actual D&D, though, you'll really need to make or find a group, though, as, so far as I'm aware, there isn't currently any sort of game set up in that manner or any sort of "AI" advanced enough to pull something like that off.

42 minutes ago, Tanooki said:

And no I didn't care for Baldur's Gate.  I'm ok with Ultima Underworld which I tried the other day after like 25 years of not having it.  Divinity I've considered that once I saw it hits some big cuts on GoG, and that it's also on Switch with data sharing between the two which is really handy (I know Witcher 3 does this too.)  But as you said, it's probably more like a normal RPG than anything, like a turn based Diablo than D&D.

Well, outside of playing with real folks, any game you try is going to feel more like a "standard" RPG than the real thing simply because that's what modern RPGs are based off of.  It's not necessarily as present in the most modern games, but the farther you go back, the more of the pencil and paper mechanics there are under the hood, even if you don't get to see any of it happening.

If you're determined to play the real thing, just make sure that you have enough time set aside and whatever group you end up with are all on the same wavelength as far as when and how often everybody is going to play.  The folks in the last game that I was in started laying the guilt on pretty hard if anybody had or wanted to miss a session, showed up a few minutes late, etc., whereas all of my prior RPG experiences were much more relaxed with everybody getting together on whatever day everybody was free and starting when the last person showed up (with a reasonable guideline for when starting was intended).  I probably could have managed to stay in that last AD&D game for longer, but honestly I just didn't want to at that point.  Nobody ended up messaging, texting, calling, etc., so it ultimately made that decision easier, even if I now regret that I'm not playing other things (on a more casual, less rigidly enforced timetable) with them.

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7 hours ago, Tanooki said:

I'm not sure about that Roll20 thing, I bookmarked it, kind of curious but it looks like for advanced players and for those who have sets of books, etc to work from already which I don't.

Definitely not!  I was a beginning/returning player from the early 90s when I started playing on Roll20 with my group in 2013.  Now, I have only ever been in this campaign on Roll20, so I can't tell you how the majority of groups act, but the DM of my group brought us into the environment nice and easy.  He provided materials and also links where to buy (DriveThruRPG) PDFs of the old books.  The interface of the site is pretty easy to work with and intuitive.  I even thought that when I first started in 2013.

In fact, two people in our group had never played a RPG before they got in on this campaign.  Now, 8 years later, they are still with us and loving every bit of it.  I wouldn't write off Roll20 just yet...but if you are not wanting to play in actual D&D sessions, just ignore me!  😄

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  • 2 months later...

If you're looking for a D&D vidya game then pick up some Dungeon Hack, an awesome Rogue-like https://www.gog.com/game/forgotten_realms_the_archives_collection_three

If you're looking for actual D&D games, I would recommend getting into 5e. It's pretty easy to pick up especially if you're experienced with older editions. Roll20 is great for the tools and having a nice visual experience, but I also have just played it over voice/text chat like Discord.

If looking for books & things, DriveThruRPG has been mentioned, DMs Guild https://www.dmsguild.com/ is also a good resource

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