CotAB: Travel

One major change from Pool of Radiance I should mention: the wilderness. Where PoR had an Ultima-style third-person grid outside the cities and dungeons, Curse of the Azure Bonds has a network of set paths, navigated using the same sort of menus that are presented at other major decision points in the game. At each node, you typically have a choice of two or three other places to go to, as well as options to make camp and (where relevant) enter the city or dungeon you’re currently at.

You lose a lot of freedom this way, but possibly just enough — as I said in a previous post, PoR‘s total lack of restrictions on travel made exploration of the wilderness uninteresting. CotAB doesn’t even have exploration of the wilderness in the same sense. It does use the word “wilderness”, but in a different way: when you choose a destination, the travel menu often gives you a choice of moving through the wilderness or following the trail (or, sometimes, going by boat). Your choice here can trigger different special events, but usually seems to just affect how much cover from trees and the like there is in any random encounter along the way. Regardless, there’s no hunting around the map for unknown points of interest; you have to already know where you’re going before you can even try to go there.

It has to be said that the CotAB approach is a lot more like how the world outside of dungeons and other planned set-pieces is handled in live D&D. There, as Starmaker said, the usual philosophy is that “nothing important happens in the wilderness”: you tell the DM where you want to go, and the DM rolls for random encounters, and that’s it.

1 Comment so far

  1. Simeon Pilgrim on 24 Feb 2010

    I really enjoyed exploring the wilderness in PoR, where-as CotAB feels very limited/canned in comparison.

    Your right though it is much more like how a real game session would work… I’d thought of it that way.

Leave a reply