News, and the latest updates.
Stories from the past...
Got a item of interest? Here's the place to go.
Your opinion always counts on how we can make GameSurge
Comments on our features, by you, the viewers.
Tweaks, reviews and a handy driver index highlight our newest section
Looking to buy one of the hottest games? We have it covered.
Get a advanced look at the games of tomorrow.
Find out more about the people behind your favorite game.
Need Help? We have a very large selection of walkthroughs now up.
A special section featuring the best in artwork and
The written word, by staff and viewers.
A bi-monthly column contributed by Mark H Walker, an independant writer in the Gaming community.
Pictures from around the web.
Our current hosting plans and features.
Who we are, what we do, our policies and job positions.
The Sony PlayStation, and beyond...
The Dreamcast resource, and more. Home of the DC Technical pages.
by Terry "DysoN" Martin DysoN@gamesurge.com
Note: this editorial is meant to be read by people who are familiar and play the AD&D game. It may also be read by RPG fanatics, non-RPG fans, etc. to get a concept of the purpose of this editorial.
Those AD&D fanatics who ever played BioWare’s AD&D based game entitled Baldur’s Gate, for a fact, know that it’s not entirely based on the AD&D rules. When you first play the game, you will know that the character creation methods are all present, except that you don’t have a choice which method you’d like to use; ie - Method I, II, III, etc., up to VI. This, of course, is not included within the game merely because that there are no Dungeon Masters to choose the specific creation method(s). When creating a character, you will immediately notice that you get outrageous dice rolls for your stats. If you’ve ever played AD&D with a group of friends-it is impossible to get really high rolls, of course, ultimately depending on what creation method the DM (Dungeon Master) uses. Even if the DM uses the sixth character creation method (your base stats are 8, from there on, you roll and continue adding to the base stats), it is very hard to get a score of 18... Unless you know the physics of the die (anyone know the physics of the die? Anyone? What? No one? I thought so-heh). It would’ve been more interesting if you could create your own character class-just like in AD&D, sadly, that option has been scratched out.
If you were to choose a mage (general, not the specialist types-specialists require better rolls), you’ll notice that you get a hit point score of 4, whereas playing AD&D, you would have to roll a 1d4 for your starting hit point(s). Now, if you were to choose a fighter (of the warrior class), you would have a hit point score of 10, again when playing AD&D, you would have to roll a 1d10. Thief players must roll 1d6, etc. As you well know, anyone can get truly disappointed with one’s rolls. Enough of the hit points controversy...
You, too, must roll to see how much gold you would start out with in the AD&D game. (Baldur’s Gate gold system are all randomized, depending on how good your rolls are. A mage can receive 100 gold pieces... odd? Indeed.) Fighter classes roll 5d4x10 gold pieces (for a maximum total of 200 gold pieces); wizards roll 1d4x10 gold pieces, etc. Priests playing in an AD&D campaign must give back all their gold to the church (making the priest have... 10 gold, I believe. Priests can either choose to follow a deity as assigned by the DM, or use the optional rule of not making the priest follow one at all), while the others don’t necessarily have to donate anything. In Baldur’s Gate, you would get really low gold pieces to start out with or really have huge amounts of gold, inevitably making you "buy" your way out of a problem.
If you’ve read the Baldur’s Gate manual, right off the bat, it says that wizards were made weaker to balance out the game more. Now, that is where I will have to disagree. Wizard classes in the AD&D games are very weak and don’t have many weapons to start out with. If you were to play as a mage in a friend’s AD&D campaign, mage’s are indeed weak, but are very intelligent and wise. In order for a mage to use a spell, that player character (PC) must first memorize the spell, then that character must find the spell ingredients plus the spell components, finally, that character can now cast the spell. That player has to tell everyone, including the DM, his or her motive(s), then roll 1d10 for initiatives... the lowest will start first. If you’re casting a spell and it says "4," uh, well, you would have to add that to your initiative; ie - rolling a 1 and the casting time says 4, you will have to add that up to your initiative, totaling 5.
By making the wizard class find the ingredients, you make that class more balanced. (Some spell components are: Vocation, Materials, etc.) In the AD&D game, there are no such things as "scrolls," that was something created by the developers of Baldur’s Gate, which was, without the slightest doubt, quite intricate and unique in a sense. Spells in Baldur’s Gate are rather... weak; they are so weak that very few people would want to play as a mage. To show, er, rather prove to you how weak the spell ‘Armour’ is...
When casting the spell in Baldur’s Gate, it only lasts for a few rounds, and is quite, in my honest opinion, useless because it isn’t very effective and doesn’t give you bonus-hit points... it just increases your Armour Class. Now, cast the same spell in a friend’s AD&D campaign, you will know how powerful the spell is. The spell will literally last forever until someone or something does 8 points of damage to the level 1 mage; even after the mage has received 8 points of damage, the player will have the same hit point(s) they started out with-talk about effectiveness. In order for the mage to cast that same spell, the player must find the spell’s ingredients. Although the player will undoubtedly have a harsh, strenuous time finding the ingredients, the player will know that they have to do it, no matter what. Again, by making the mage characters do this, it makes the game more fair and balanced.
OK-comparing this to the so-called AD&D based game, Baldur’s Gate. In Baldur’s Gate, spell scrolls do exist. You can either try to memorize the scroll or use it to your limited advantage. You can gain many spells, very quick, this way. Obviously, the spell, once it has been cast, is very weak and limited to its true potential like in AD&D. However, you can regain your memorized spells by simply resting (sleeping)... Voila! Your spells are back! Who would still love to play a mage at this point? Mage’s are very useless compared to fighters, rangers, etc., though all classes are balanced out.
If you take this into your own perspective, you would have to agree that if you were to find spell ingredients, it would be dull and boring, ‘cause you’re repetitively doing these, in a particular order, things:
1) Get/Find the ingredients;
2) Enchant the spell;
3) Watch the spell take effect;
4) Repeat the first one.
Anyhow, I can go for hours on end, b*tching and moaning as to why BioWare’s successful RPG game, Baldur’s Gate, isn’t really an AD&D based game as they have claimed. You, however, should heed this warning (or not): Next time you play an RPG game that claims it’s based on the AD&D rules, you can either: a) believe it; b) not believe it; c) forget about what it claims-just play the friggin’ game; or d) all of the above.
Zalman: ZM-DS4F Headphones
An affordable, ultra-portable headphone set.