SotSB: Well of Wisdom

The Well of Wisdom is essentially Secret of the Silver Blades‘ version of Pool of Radiance‘s council clerk, giving you leads on what you should be doing next. Except it doesn’t do it for free. You have to feed it gems in large quantities. There’s thus a natural connection between the Well and the mines (where the gems come from), and part of the story involves the Order of the Black Circle, the evil wizards who control the mines, trying to get control of the Well also.

More importantly, this arrangement gives us something that the previous two games lacked: a money sink. This is something the system really sorely needs, particularly considering how heavy money is. I commented before about how I wasn’t even picking up platinum pieces in the last game, and for a while, I was dropping them without consideration here too, until I remembered that I didn’t have to: the town where you start the game actually has a bank where you can deposit your loot. The same bank will exchange coins for gems. So I assume that the designers saw that people were leaving heaps of treasure on the battlefield and decided that this was a problem worth solving. I’m still accumulating money far faster than I can use it, but at least it’s not reducing my combat movement rate.

One thing bothers me about that well: it’s a magical body of water with a mind and a will, and therefore possibly an agenda. I mean, we all learned not to trust magical bodies of water back in Pool of Radiance, right? Furthermore, if the Well turned out to be evil, it would just be continuing a theme of betrayal that seems to be a big part of this game generally. The Black Circle, for example, pretended to be benevolent for quite some time, aiding the hapless miners in order to hasten their digging a tunnel to let the monsters out. You’d think that the name “Black Circle” would have been a tip-off that they were evil, but apparently the miners were desperate or greedy enough to let it slide.

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