Pool of Radiance

Pool of Radiance is a computer role-playing game of the U.S. game developer Strategic Simulations, Inc. ( SSI) from the year 1988. It is the first of a total of 35 games, the SSI of up to 1996 under an exclusive licensing agreement with TSR, the manufacturer RPG rules Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD & D), published. Pool of Radiance still marked the beginning of a four-part series of related games, which was designated for the same technical basis as so-called gold box series and even spawned another offshoot with independent action, including the first graphical MMORPG Neverwinter Nights. Pool of Radiance was released for the Amiga platforms, Apple II, Commodore 64, DOS, Mac OS, NES, PC -88, PC-98, Sharp X1.


The city, located in the Forgotten Realms am Mondsee Phlan suffers from numerous attacks by monsters. The player's hero group to assist the City Council in the fight against the creatures and go to the cause of their increased occurrence on the ground. It turns out that the reasons for this are to be found beneath the city, where the remains of an ancient elven city called Myth Drannor are over which Phlan was built.


The game combines a turn-based game world exploration from a first-person tactical, also turn-based battles from a cavalier perspective. It is based on the role-playing rules Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which was implemented close to the original from the game. At the beginning the player creates a six-member group of heroes, the figure for each class ( fighter, magic - user, cleric, thief ), race and gender may determine.


The game is the first product that emerged from the exclusive license agreement between AD & D TSR manufacturer and specialized in tactical war games computer game developer SSI. The partnership was created by the ambition TSRs, with its product in the computer gaming sector strengthened to gain a foothold, which was until then dominated mainly by the Ultima series. After there had been talks with several manufacturers, the company opted for a partnership with SSI. Unlike previous D & D implementations, such as the games of Mattel Electronics, SSI has sought to faithful to the original implementation of the rules. This was made possible by, among other things in the meantime significantly increased performance of the 8 - bit home computers for which the game was originally released. They allowed the implementation of numerous combat rules and the complex nature of the system and also allowed the integration of the time -quality graphics that were conversions of the original graphics from the rules books for the pen & paper to a large extent. The cover design was created by the American illustrator Clyde Caldwell, who was also responsible for the design of other D & D products.


The game was awarded after its release among others, the Origins Award for "Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of the Year 1988 '. The readers of D & D magazine Dragon to Beastie Awards 1989 Pool of Radiance received the most votes in the category " most popular fantasy role-playing game of the year " before Ultima V. The main reasons the rule faithful to the original implementation, the graphics quality and easy user interface are specified.

Pool of Radiance is considered an important turning point in the history of computer role-playing games. In its special issue on role-playing games from the year 1992, the Amiga Joker Pool of Radiance described as " a breakthrough in terms of complexity " and emphasized, among other things: " Especially the tactical battle screen, with its many opportunities for action inspired the role player community."

Allen Rausch from the U.S. online gaming magazine GameSpy called Pools of Radiance in a retrospective in 2004 as the first faithful to the original implementation of the AD & D rules. While follow the game like so many other games the same repetitive pattern of "Kill the bad guys to save the world," but that the playful possibilities much more extensive than that of similar products have been and through the acquisition of scenes and creatures from the rulebook was a heightened sense of realism emerged.

The game laid the foundation for a series of three direct, thematic successors who followed to 1991 on an annual basis (so-called Forgotten Realms Fantasy Role-Playing Epic, continued by Curse of the Azure Bonds, Secret of the Silver Blades, Pools of Darkness ), and ten other games, the same technical basis of the game used ( Gold box series ). The late 1990s, the company commissioned SSI Stormfront Studios with the development of a game that should build on Pool of Radiance again. Ubisoft published in 2001, the SSI had taken over in the meantime, the title Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, but the big quality problems had and could not build on the success of the original game.


  • James M. Ward, Jane Cooper Hong: Pool of Radiance. TSR, 1989, ISBN 0-88038-735-1.

The novel is based on the computer game and is the first in a trilogy of novels called Heroes of Phlan, with the other volumes Pools of Darkness ( James M. Ward & Anne K. Brown, ISBN 1-56076-318-3 ) and Pool of Twilight ( James M. Ward & Anne K. Brown, ISBN 1-56076-582-8 ).