Help me find a D&D-like turn-based game!

So I just took the PC survey to get a free copy of Realms of Arkania 1 & 2, but even though I’m an old school gamer…I just can’t stand the UI. Can someone help me with some ideas for:

  1. Party-based, Turn-based combat
  2. Fantasy/Dungeons & Dragons theme
  3. Character classes with rolling stats/skills
  4. Not too clunky of a UI
  5. 2D or isometric, not 1st person view dungeon crawling

I’m not looking for pausables like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, etc…

I’ve played Pools of Radiance, Temple of Elemental Evil, etc…

Any indie releases in the last 5 years I may have missed?

Knights of the Chalice, which is a bit older. It’s a “d20” game. There’s a narrow choice of races and classes - 3 races (human, half-elf, mul), 3 classes (fighter, mage, cleric). It captures the majority of the D&D 3.5 experience you are used to, and feels just a touch like the old Dark Sun games (the author was a big fan, if the mul race didn’t give it away).

It has a fantastic stat rolling system. You can, optionally, chose to “force” a number of 18s, up to all 6 but as few as 0. You also get to swap two scores and re-roll one score (but you must take the reroll). 2d isometric, a decent UI (it has some quirks), 4 characters to a party, and all the tactical combat you could want for. It draws inspiration from both Against the Giants and the Slave Lords modules, to boot.

Yeah, Knights of the Chalice is the best you’ll ever find. Play the demo first, it’s a short mission that isn’t in the full game and it’s a lot of fun too.

Haha, I JUST ended up at and am looking into Knights of the Chalice. Seems like it was meant to be! I enjoyed Spiderweb games like Avadon too, so hopefully KotC will fill the void I’m feeling. Thanks for the nudge!

Yeah, Knights of the Chalice and the Spiderweb games are pretty much what come to mind given your specific parameters. I think there are some Kickstarter projects on their way that might work for you also, but a lot of the turn-based roleplaying I’ve seen is either not party based, not 2d/isometric, or not D&D-esque fantasy. And some of the stuff that does fit those parameters (like Obsidian’s Project Eternity) is pausable real time rather than turn-based. I’ll note that if you enjoyed Avadon, Avadon 2 just came out this week.

Wow, between this, a thread asking about tactical skirmish games and another asking about grand strategy, 3 different people have started threads in the last couple of weeks asking about my 3 favorite genres.

Unfortunately, whilst I could offer lots of suggestions for the other 2, this one is almost a bust :(

I would second Knights of the Chalice for sure. I loved the combat and the power curve, only the relatively underdeveloped world left me wanting more. I’ve tried and tried but cannot get engaged with Spiderweb games. I think they are probably very good and deserve their following and more, but they just don’t jive with me. It doesn’t help that I do my gaming on a 50 inch screen.

I’ve not played it but I believe that the successfully kickstarted Expeditions: Conquistador may be another one worth looking at. I think it ticks 1, 3, 4 and 5 from the list but has a real-world historic rather than fantasy setting. RPS did a Wot I Think on it here: It is available now via Steam amongst other routes.

It also doesn’t tick requirement #2 and you almost surely are aware of Shadowrun Returns. Bring on Buck Rogers returns! < shakes fist at universe >

Here is one to look forward that you may not have heard of - Antharion. The pitch says:

Antharion is an old-school turn-based RPG made in the spirit of games like Wizardry, Ultima and Pool of Radiance. What sets Antharion apart from the pack is how faithfully it recreates the classic RPG experience. By combining an immense open world, deep tactical turn-based combat and a rich character creation system with the distinctive look and feel of a traditional Western RPG, Antharion hopes to bring old-school dungeon crawling into a new era.

Updates posted for Kickstarter backers have been reposted in an RPG Codex thread:

Another one is Lords of Xulima, the 3rd person exploration switches to 1st person for combat but it remains turn-based. They have a current Kickstarter campaign and are also on Steam Greenlight

Knights of the Chalice was great, I wish the original author had Spiderweb’s stamina and just kept ripping out titles. He apparently started KOTC2 then decided to write a book and RTS before recently picking up KOTC2 again.

Here is the QT3 KOTC thread:

Doesn’t have a party, but I am a big fan of the Eschalon games. Looks like the third is due out soon.

Thanks for your input all!

I’m actually waiting on a good deal for Shadowrun. It’s definitely been on my radar. Antharion looks wonderful, can’t wait! As for Buck Rogers…think the last game was on the Genesis and turn-based, right (been about 20 years haha).

You know what, I should love all his games, but I also find that I poop out about halfway through most Spiderweb titles. I think it’s just all too bland or drab for me.

Can I offer up Drakensang, River of Time?

Age of Decadence should be released soon. It’s not your typical fantasy setting, but it looks very interesting. They have some sort of pre-order thing going, and there’s a demo.

Expeditions Conquistador is excellent. I loved every moment of my time in that game.

yep, I’ve had this on my radar for what seems like many years now, heh. I saw at one point they had a combat demo, and lost track after that.

I’m sure you’re aware of the new Might & Magic being made.

You can pre-purchase now and play the first act, which is actually pretty good.

Oooh. That does look good, and this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Aww hell, now I want to use up any credits I earned from my previous suggestions in order to pitch you the game I really think you should play. It is game for which the most popular “review” online describes it as one of the worst CRPGs ever, but this review was conducted in some form of mirror universe, trust me, this game must be played.

Disciples of Steel

You’ve played Gold Box games and they would be the thing most similar to Disciples of Steel but if was merely a clone-a-like I wouldn’t recommend it to you. I do recommend it because of these features:

[li]Playable races include Trolls and Ogres in addition to the usual humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes
[/li][li]You have a team of 8, which gives you a lot of variety and opportunity to specialize using the 3 Magic User Classes (Priest, Mage, Psionicist), Rogue & Ranger classes, Blacksmith, Warrior and Knight classes
[/li][li]Combat is terrific. You have body-part targeting, the ability to take time to aim at targets you’d otherwise be unlikely to hit with regular attacks and damage descriptions such as “your head spins off in a pinwheel of gore & blood”.
[/li][li]Out of combat, you armor up body-parts separately too and sometimes sustain long-term damage such as bruised ribs, broken legs, mild concussion that impacts on your stats until you recover naturally or access some kind of healing
[/li][li]The power curve takes you getting beat up on by rats and bats to bringing down small armies of giants with a single spell
[/li][li]The game has a large overland world to explore and is completely sandbox, with no restrictions from the get-go. This means death when you go somewhere you are too squishy for yet
[/li][li]Character progression is pretty neat too. There are no levels. Each class has a set of skills. Whenever you kill anything or complete a quest you gain XP and you spend the XP directly on increasing chosen skills. There is some form of logarithmic progression such that early progression is quick but achieving god-like powers (which you do) requires massive accumulation of XP
[/li][li]Loot and looting are both great. There are slashing, crushing and piercing weapons and resistances and all weapons have a quality rating which impacts upon their damage factor. Similar for Armor. You start out with “shoddy” and it is such a delight to find your first “good” or “excellent” bit of kit and watch your damage jump up albeit that you do need adequate skill in the weapon type to effectively wield it, so a Mace of Disruption+50 is kinda useless if your crush skill is 0

The basic premise is that there is a big-bad threatening the world and the world is made up of different factions that may or may not be strong enough to resist if they were united, but are very much dis-united. Your adventure group can pick up quests from each of the faction rulers and if you complete their entire quest lines, they’ll support you in the final battle. Alternatively, you can assault and depose rulers and take over their settlements, then tax them and raise armies. Yeah, raise armies, because an optional dimension of this game is to “win” not via a final showdown between the big-bad and your party, but via a light-strategic wargame which once you have at least one settlement you can engage in any time. Raising and maintaining armies really sucks up gold though, even at the rate you can earn it as a high power party.

The downsides are:

[li]It ain’t pretty. The UI is definitely easier to use than Realms of Arkania IMO, but . . . it ain’t a looker
[/li][li]Although the overland and battles are 2D 3rd person perspective, dungeon crawling is done in 1st person
[/li][li]Dungeons are pretty big, the minimap is basic and cannot be annotated, and there are lots of secret doors that are pretty much only found by bumping up against walls that look identical to all other walls i.e. trial & error
[/li][li]It probably doesn’t tell quite as good a story as a great Gold Box game like the Champions of Krynn series.

It is not available anywhere commercially. It is easily available via abandonware sites. I won’t link directly to them here but if you want a link, ask me for a PM. I’ll also mention that one of the developers joined in a lengthy discussion thread at one of these sites and was delighted that people were still enjoying a game he had helped to make over 15 years ago.

There is a completed Disciples of Steel Lets Play over at RPG Codex. It is a screeny + text based Lets Play with blessedly light characterization and forumite interaction. The author doesn’t always explain game features, like suffering injuries that impact on to-hit and damage numbers, but hey, if I think I can do a better job I can try right?

Link follows to the specific thread.

And I did warn you it was ugly, but here it is:

Character Creation Page

Overland Map, Zoomed Out:

Combat Screen

This does actually look good. I’m a bit confused by the preorder bonus, though. The Steam page says “Free copy of Might & Magic VI”, and the gallery shows a picture of Might & Magic VI: Mandate of Heaven. But, the official site says “Free copy of Might & Magic® Heroes® VI”, which is a decidedly different game.

Okay - Where the heck do I get this? I’m sold!

Heya Razgon, here is what you’ll need to get up and running:

  1. Download the main program zip from Abandonia & install it
  2. Do NOT run the crack file, just delete it
  3. Obtain the 1.013 patch zip & apply it
  4. Download the manual from Abandonia too (essential, unplayable without it)

Or just pm me your email and I send you items 1, 3 and 4.

The manual is needed because without it you cannot get past the word-lookup type copy protection built into the game. The supplied crack only solves for you the copy protection presented when starting the game and there are additional copy protection events within the game.

The patch is needed because the main executable file provided from Abandonia and to the best of my knowledge everywhere else has already been ‘cracked’ so even if you don’t run the crack supplied this results in a trigger for an additional copy protection measure that will cripple your game after about 6 hours of playing. You get to play for about 6 hours and then all your party members are renamed as “Pirate” I think, plus some other stuff.

You do need to use a DOS emulator like D-Fend Reloaded to play this. I can describe how to do this too if you find it useful. Lastly, bookmark the RPG Codex and Abandonia discussion threads because they both contain tips / spoilers you’ll probably want.