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. http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index...f-steel.66921/
And I did warn you it was ugly, but here it is:
Character Creation Page
Overland Map, Zoomed Out: