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Pool of Radiance

Pool of Radiance, released in 1988, was the first of a long series of computer role playing games that shared a common engine that came to be known as the "Gold Box Engine" after the gold boxes in which most games of the series were sold. The games were based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules licensed by TSR, and were sold by the software company Strategic Simulations, Inc. Earlier games in the series were playable on the Apple IIe, the Apple Macintosh the Commodore 64 and the IBM PC. Later games in the series were released only for the Macintosh and the PC.

The "Gold Box Engine" had two main features. Outside of character creation, game play took place in a screen that displayed text interactions, the names and current status of your party of characters, and a window which displayed images of geography, and large or small pictures of characters or events. When combat occurred, which was often in these games, you switched to a full scren combat mode, in which player character icons could move about to cast spells or attack icons representing the enemies. All the games typically involved long dungeon crawls, and were heavier on combat than on role playing.

The Gold Box games formed a number of series in which you could move characters who had finished one game to the next one in the series:

The Forgotten Realms series:

  • Pool of Radiance
Curse of the Azure Bonds
Secret of the Silver Blades
Pools of Darkness

The Dragonlance series:

  • Champions of Krynn
Death Knights of Krynn
Dark Queen of Krynn

The Savage Frontier series:

  • Gateway to the Savage Frontier
Treasures of the Savage Frontier

In addition, characters from "Pool of Radiance" could be imported into Hillsfar, a game based on an entirely different engine, and then exported into "Curse of the Azure Bonds."

Finally, the memory of these games is kept alive by Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures, or FRUA for short, released in 1993, which was an editor that allowed players to create their own stories using a version of the Gold Box engine. An active community grew up around this game, including hacks that expanded its powers and its graphics abilities.

External links

The Magic Mirror, repository for all things FRUA: