Curse of the Azure Bonds

© 1990 Strategic Simulations, Inc.
1 Introduction, Getting Started,
Best Advice
2 Tilverton, Dalelands, Hap
3 Yulash, Zhentil Keep, Myth
Drannor, Endgame
4 Side Adventures
5 Combat Strategies
Part 1
Tyranthraxus is back, and is he mad! Those of you who have played S.S.I.
and TSR's popular POOL OF RADIANCE will remember "Mr. T." (as he is
affectionately known to fantasy role-players).
In CURSE OF THE AZURE BONDS, Mr. T. returns, and he has devised a fiendish
scheme to punish your adventurers for what they did to him the last time
they met. His revenge involves tattooing magical blue symbols on their arms.
The five different evil powers that inhabit the Dalelands Area
(Tyranthraxus is one of them) have each left their marks on your
adventurers, stripping them of their armor and weapons, leaving them
unconscious and suffering from amnesia in an Inn in Tilverton.
Your adventurers shortly discover that the marks that writhe under their
skin can be used to magically control their actions! And that the reason
they are in Tilverton is to assassinate the King of Cormyr!
In order to control their own destiny, your party will have to find each
evil power in the Dalelands and force it to remove its individual
controlling bond. They will face Tyranthraxus last, and if they defeat him,
you will win the game!
This walkthru is based on my having played the C-64 1.0 version. The
walkthru is neither complete, nor even definitive. Because of the random
nature of the encounters and events in the game, there are many different
ways of playing and winning. This walkthru covers only some of them. So,
take my advice with a grain of salt. Sometimes, you may have to take a whole
shaker full! <Grin>
You may run across errors in the game -- particularly in the first IBM
version. For example, the Ioun stones generate too many attribute points,
and casting the Slow spell will freeze the game. Many of these bugs can be
avoided by saving the game often, and going back to earlier saves when you
run across something that doesn't seem right. Hopefully, as later versions
are released, the bugs will be corrected.
In order to boot the game, you have to type a letter from a code wheel,
instead of typing the whole word you find. The game is not copy-protected. I
advise you to play from copies of the disks -- not the originals! (Playing
from copies is _very_ important!)
As in POOL, you can play and win with different kinds of parties. This
walkthru is based primarily on the exploits of my first party, consisting of
high-level characters transferred from POOL: three magic-users
(multi-classed elves who were also fighters, one of whom was also a thief);
a human cleric; a half-elf cleric/fighter; and a human fighter.
I also played part of the game with a low-level party created within CURSE,
consisting of three magic-users (elf fighters, one of whom was also a
thief), a human cleric, a paladin, and a ranger. Some comments are based on
the exploits of that party.
There is a party of pre-rolled characters for you to run on the third side
of disk "B." The party consists of two magic-users, a paladin, a cleric, a
ranger, and a fighter/thief. If you don't want to take the time to create
your own, this party will do just fine. You can modify their attributes
before playing a game, if you like. In the IBM version, there is also a
two-paladin party. If you are looking for further challenges after having
won the game with a party of six, see if you can win the game with only two!
The Quick Start tactical advice on how to play the game and win battles is
excellent, by the way.
Be careful of the dual-class character option. I didn't use it, so I can't
give you a report from personal experience. But be aware that some gamers
have had problems in getting both classes to work properly, while others
have not had any problems. Generally, the reported problems seem to occur
when attempting to apply a dual-class to high-level characters. Contrary to
the manual, you must reach a higher level in the character's second class to
be able to use all the spells, etc., that the character is entitled to use,
instead of just those belonging to the level achieved within the character's
original class.
If you transfer your characters from POOL or HILLSFAR, all their experience
points transfer with them, and you may train for as many levels as your
experience points allow. Note that you can only transfer characters from
HILLSFAR that were either created in that game, or that were created in POOL
and transferred to HILLSFAR (but only with the C-64 version 1.1 of CURSE!)
Characters created within CURSE are given 25,000 XPs. This will put most
single-class characters into the 5th level of their particular class.
Multi-class characters will, of course, be at lower levels since they have
to divide their points.
You can only modify your characters' attributes right after they're first
created, not after using the characters to play the game.
Save the game often on at least two different disks. Also take advantage of
the Remove Character feature in the boot menu (also found in the Training
This saves an individual character's statistics to disk; these saves can be
used to replace character files that get damaged while playing. Use this
feature periodically, and you won't lose your favorite characters. When a
character is damaged, get back to the Training Hall (or to the boot menu),
_remove_ the disk from the drive, then drop the old character. Replace the
disk and select Add Character; the last saved version of the character will
be restored.
You can also replace characters this way who are dead or gone, instead of
resurrecting them at the Temples. (Each time a character is resurrected at a
Temple, he loses a Stamina point.)
This feature can also be used to duplicate items. Transfer the items from
the character you are dropping before you restore him. However, this is not
necessary or recommended. You will find plenty of magical weapons and armor
without having to duplicate anything.
When you save a game on the IBM, a save game file and three save character
files are generated for each character. The save game file is SAVGAMx.DAT,
where x is the save letter (A, B, C, etc.). The file names for the first
character are CHRDATx1.SAV, CHRDATx1.ITM, and CHRDATx1.SPC. The file names
for the second character are CHRDATx2.SAV, CHRDATx2.ITM, and CHRDATx2.SPC,
and so on. Make a copy of those files, then copy them back.
To restore a dead character in the IBM version:
1. Remove the character and make a copy of the files.
2. Add the character back and resume play.
To replace a dead character in the IBM version:
1. Remove the character.
2. Copy the save files over the dead files.
3. Add the character back into the party.
You lose all the XPs, levels, and items the character received since the
last save, however.
In one of the combat sub-menus (press END, ALTER, then SPEED), there is an
option to change the default game speed (2) to 1 or 0. Zero is very fast and
speeds up the game considerably, but you will not be able to read messages
flashing on your screen. I wouldn't recommend using this option until you
are familiar enough with the game to know what the messages will be.
This game does not strictly require mapping. The mazes are relatively few
and small compared to most other computer role-playing games. But if you
don't trust your memory and want to find every cache of magical weapons
hidden in CURSE's dungeons, mapping is highly recommended (use graph paper).
Make sure you check your characters' experience points regularly, and take
them to the Training Halls to get their levels increased whenever you can.
If you don't, you may lose the excess experience points that accumulate for
each level.
Be wary of accumulating so much wealth that your characters become unable
to move 12 squares in a turn. Use your excess gold to buy items in the Magic
Shop at Zhentil Keep. (Save some for training expenses, of course.)
At least half of the game is spent in combat, and much of the fun of the
game is in determining the tactics necessary to win the many battles. Read
the "Combat Tips" in Part V of this walkthru for more detailed help.
Generally, though, either blast enemy magic-users and clerics with spells as
quickly as you can, or move right next to them and hack away with your
weapons. Enemy clerics and magic-users do not cast spells very often when
being beaten on the head with a sword!
Your clerics' Hold Person spells are effective against most magic-users and
clerics; one spell can incapacitate several of them! Stinking Cloud is also
sometimes effective in disabling some of them. (Hold Monsters stops the
larger creatures.) It's best to have a weapon-bearing character immediately
strike the immobile enemy. One blow will destroy him.
You must find three magical items before you can get into Myth Drannor and
meet Tyranthraxus, but that's the only major requirement in the scheme of
things. You will find the three items in Hap, Yulash, and Zhentil Keep.
If you visit the Standing Stone, you will be advised to go to Hap first,
and then to Yulash, saving Zhentil Keep as the last bond adventure before
Myth Drannor.
If you want to spend some time exploring and building up your characters'
experience points before attempting the bond adventures, there are a lot of
shorter adventures in the game. They are found by taking all the different
travel options between cities. The "Wilderness" option is particularly
rewarding. The "Patrol the Forest" option at Standing Stone usually leads to
a battle with dangerous black dragons, but you can win a lot of experience
points by defeating them.
After you have completed your second bond adventure, go to a city, and you
will have an added option: "Search Area." This usually leads to a cave or
ruins that you can explore. It's another great way to build your experience
points, and to find weapons, scrolls, and gold. Be warned that some of them
are quite involved and have several levels. The lower levels are often far
more dangerous and difficult than one of the bond adventures!
One of them (The Tower of Oxam outside of Dagger Falls) has a huge battle
in a meeting room with multiple Beholders, Elf Lords, High Priests, and
Rakshasa that is seemingly impossible to win. It is possible, however. Read
"Part 4" if you want to know how.
After Tilverton, explore the various travel options, and visit the cities
briefly so you'll know where the Training Halls are. Talk to the barkeepers.
(Some you won't be able to talk to until you've completed a nearby
Wilderness option.)
Visit Zhentil Keep to buy items in the Magic Shop. While there, fight the
clerics, fighters, and magic-users who pick fights with you to collect some
armor and weapons. (Stay at the Inn and save the game there. The random
encounters, although usually easily won, can often be very dangerous.)
Next, pick a bond adventure. Hap is perhaps the longest, and involves the
most battles; Yulash is the shortest, and involves the fewest battles;
Zhentil Keep involves nearly as many battles as Hap. All of the adventures
can be won with even the low-level characters created in CURSE, and they are
fairly equal in difficulty, depending on how lucky you are.
Whichever bond adventure you choose, or whatever the order you play them
in, you'll have some very tough battles. But if your tactics are sound, and
you're persistent, you will eventually prevail and emerge victorious!
Good luck and happy hunting!
Part 2
The first evil power can be found in the sewers of Tilverton! But first
you'll have to leave the Inn and find some armor and weapons. (The
blacksmith is to the west of the Inn.) Each of your characters has 300
platinum to spend, and that's more than enough to buy everyone the best
armor in the shop. (Plate has the lowest AC, but it restricts movement
points to 6; you may prefer the lighter banded mail.) Buy a long sword,
shield, long bow, and plenty of arrows for each of your fighters (thief,
ranger, or paladin), a mace or flail and staff-sling for your cleric, and a
dagger or staff and darts for any single-class magic-users in your party.
If you have transferred your party from POOL, you should go to the Training
Hall (north of the Inn) and train for the levels to which you are entitled.
This will use up the remaining platinum pieces you were given. It is now
safe to map and explore the rest of Tilverton.
You will find a mage who will talk to you about your "sigels." His price is
steep, however: half of what you have! If you're curious, check it out.
There is a shop that sells silver mirrors and flasks of oil. A silver
mirror may be handy later in the game when you face a Medusa or two or more.
I never used the flasks of oil, but that doesn't mean they're not useful.
There is a Temple where a priest will attempt to remove your sigels at no
cost: The attempt will be futile. There is a bar whose barkeeper will give
you information if you buy whiskey, and _only_ if you buy whiskey. You can
get into a brawl at the bar, if you like. In order to do so, just buy
anything other than whiskey!
Eventually, you can try to get out of the city. Unfortunately, you'll be
stopped by Royal Guards who say the way is blocked because a Royal Carriage
is coming. If you've explored enough places in the city, the Royal Carriage
arrives, and your bonds compel you to attack the King!
Fortunately, the man in the carriage is an impostor, but you will have to
fight off a couple waves of Royal Guards who are protecting him (unless you
choose to surrender). There will be a brief pause in which you are advised
to leave the area. If you immediately duck into the alleyway in front of the
Inn, you will find a thief who will offer to help you escape. Accept his
offer. (He'll also help you escape from jail, if you choose to surrender to
the Guards.)
He'll escort you underground to the Thieves Guild where you will have the
chance to rest (and camp). Take the opportunity to heal, memorize spells,
and save your game: You'll need to be ready to fight some tough battles.
Almost immediately after the Master Thief gives you some information about
the Princess Nacacia, who's being held prisoner in a place called The
Hideout, these battles will begin. (Reach The Hideout by going south through
the sewers.)
If you have been reading the clues you've been getting, you'll know that
Nacacia is dressed in purple. You'll also notice that fanatical cult members
dressed in green are hanging around the city. Bits of purple cloth will be
found along the way, marking a trail for you to follow.
Carefully map your way to and through the Cellars. There's a treasure room
in the Thieves Guild area that has some magical weapons. You can also rest
here to heal and memorize new spells. The treasure room is southeast of
where you have your first battle. Keep going south, and you'll find the
entrance to the Sewers. Along the way you'll find a reference to a map in
your journal (Entry #4). This map is accurate, but incomplete; you'll have
to map every room along the way to be sure you don't miss anything.
In the sewers, you'll find a large group of Otyughs that have a shining
object in their mound. They can be bargained with, so you don't need to
fight them unless you want to. (Fighting them is difficult, but the reward
is 5000 XPs if you win.) If you choose to bargain, they will ask you to get
them some food from The Neighbors. The Neighbors are a group of Otyughs
south of this group. Fight and destroy the second group, get the food, and
return to the first group for your reward. (If you kill The Neighbors before
you make the bargain, you won't be rewarded.)
Just before you get to The Hideout, you'll find a secret door to a Training
Hall that will allow you to cash in some of those experience points to
possibly gain more levels and spells before you tackle The Hideout. Next to
the secret Training Hall you will find some Trolls. Winning that battle will
give you more magical weapons. (There are a four more Trolls in the next
room, but there are a number of Gators with them. In order to win this
battle you will need to first kill all the gators before the Trolls;
otherwise, the Trolls all regenerate! Standing in the square where a Troll
dies also prevents him from regenerating.)
A few steps south of the Training Hall you will find a Knight from Myth
Drannor. He will ask who you serve. Answer "Princess Nacacia," and you will
get some help from his fellow Knights later in the game. Do not fight him:
he's on your side!
The Hideout is a complex of many rooms. One of them is a torture room,
where Princess Nacacia's cleric is being tortured. Rescue him. (The
adventures of the princess and her cleric lover are a sub-plot that runs
through the game.) Princess Nacacia is held prisoner in the corner room to
the southwest. Before going there, you should stop by the armory. Open the
box there and you'll find more magical weapons. Save the game here.
When you enter the southwest corner room, you will have one more battle,
then your first bond will fade from your arm. (Hold Person and Stinking
Cloud spells will help get you through this battle. Remember, always kill
off enemy clerics and magic-users first!)
Even though you rescued his daughter, the King will banish you from
Tilverton: You can't be trusted while you bear the other sigels!
You will be shown a map of the Dalelands area, and where you are. You'll be
asked where you want to go and offered various travel options for getting
there. Explore the Dalelands, and use every travel option. The Wilderness
options lead to some interesting adventures involving battles with different
groups of monsters between each town. The Boat option leads to battles with
pirates. These battles are challenging tactical exercises providing you with
experience before you undertake the bond adventures. You will find that most
of the cities you visit only have a bar, a temple, and a general store. Go t
the bars to pick up information. You will find Training Halls in Ashabenford
and Essembra.
You will run into unfriendly people in some of the towns, like Dagger
Falls. Removing the Zhentil bonds makes the innkeeper in Dagger Falls
friendly; rescuing the farmer and his family in a Wilderness battle makes
the people in the Dagger Falls bar friendly. (HILLSFAR had similar
Zhentil Keep is a nice place for a beginning party to visit. There are
random encounters with magic-users, clerics, and fighters. All of them have
magical weapons and armor. Get the +1 Crossbows and +1 Quarrels from the
fighters, and the AC-4 Bracers from the clerics and magic-users. You can
sell the extra Bracers for 9,000 gold each, and buy up some very nice magic
items in the magic shop. Arm each of your adventurers with magic missile
wands. The extra-healing potions will come in handy, too. The other magic
items are luxuries which are quickly used up. But if you can afford them, by
all means, stock up! Pick up some magic-scrolls for your magic-users to
If you find waiting around for encounters a bit too tame for your tastes,
bash in a door. You'll soon have many encounters, as the guard is called out
to deal with you! (Save at the Inn before undertaking any encounters; some
of them can be very difficult.)
If you visit the Standing Stone, you'll be directed to go South. When you
feel that you're ready to undertake your next bond adventure, go to Hap.
On the way to Hap you'll meet some black dragons. Black dragons are
particularly vulnerable to Stinking Cloud spells. If you give them a belly
ache with this spell, they won't be able to use their deadly acid breath
against you.
The Village of Hap is patrolled by five parties of Dark Elves. Don't avoid
these patrols. There are a set number of Dark Elves in the village. If you
take them piecemeal, patrol by patrol, the number of them in the final
confrontation (in the village barn) is lessened. Strip the first patrol of
weapons and armor, and distribute them among your party. Give the maces to
your cleric. The Drow have magical chain mail, swords, and maces. Equip your
whole party with these while you're in Hap (Village, Cave, and Tower).
Unfortunately, these magical items all disintegrate when you leave Hap.
Drow Elves are almost magic-resistant, but not completely. Your first
spells may not be effective, but some of the next ones will be. Drow elves
are most vulnerable in hand-to-hand combat (particularly when you're using
their own weapons against them), and if you kill their cleric or magic-user
first, he won't be able to cast his spells! Missile wands are usually
effective against the Drow.
If you cast Invisibility spells and avoid attacking for a few rounds, Drow
clerics and magic-users will waste all their spells aborting them because
they can't target your party. When they've used up their spells, you can cut
them down at will.
You will find a general store in the village, and an Inn where you can
safely camp. If you do decide to leave Hap to get more training (and you
should train for new levels as you become eligible for them), don't let the
NPC magic-user whom you find in the village join your party. (He'll just get
mad if you decide to leave Hap without clearing the Tower first, and leave
your party anyway.)
After the battle in the barn, you will find a map showing the way to a
cave. When you leave Hap you will have the option to go to the cave.
Enter, and go west to the wall. If you turn south and east at the first
opening, then turn south again, and go through an arch, you will eventually
find Silk. (You can surrender to one of the many Drow Patrols you meet, and
they will take you to Silk, but they'll take some of your armor and weapons
as compensation for not killing you.) Silk will help you by applying another
tattoo (non-magical) to one of your party. This tattoo will let you pass
some of the numerous Drow Patrols you will find in the cave. (She does this
in return for your promise to chase the dragons from the tower, and to bring
her a dragon's egg.)
After you enter the cave, go to the wall, turn north, and go to the north
wall. Turn west, go through the arch, and north to the wall. Turn east,
north, and west, and go through another arch. Keep going west to the wall,
turn south, turn the corner toward the west, go to the arch, and turn north.
Here, you will find a large party of Salamanders in their Sauna. Enter this
room and battle them. (They are vulnerable to Stinking Cloud and Missile
spells). After the battle you will find six treasure chests. Some of the
chests contain very useful magical items. One of them protects you from
Dragon Breath; another protects you from paralysis. You can use these
scrolls for protection when you fight CrimDrac.
To locate him, go south through an arch and all the way to the wall. Turn
east, go through the arch, turn south, and go through this arch. Now, go
east, south, east, south, and west through an arch. Go west to the wall,
then head north to another wall. Go east then north to the wall, turn west,
go through the arch, and meet CrimDrac. (He's either in this large room, or
in the one to the south of it.) To get to the tower, continue south through
the arch, and turn west.
CrimDrac is a Dracolich. He is vulnerable to missile spells and little
else. Spread your troops (watch out for his paralyzing breath), and hit him
with all the missile spells and missile wand blasts you can! Use the
protection spell before you meet him.
You cannot escape battle with CrimDrac by surrendering to him. If you do,
you'll find you have to battle him later when leaving Hap. If you do
surrender, he'll escort your party to the top of the tower, and leave you to
the whims of Dracandos, the Red Wizard.
There are twelve assorted dragons at the top of the tower with Dracandos!
The dragon leader will parlay with you. If you chose the right option, he'll
force Dracandos to remove your bonds, then fly off with the other dragons
leaving Dracandos to _your_ mercy! (I chose the option of attacking
Dracandos -- not the dragons -- when it was offered to me.) After the
dragons leave, pick up the egg.
Dracandos will flee and lead you on a merry chase all the way down the
tower (several levels) before you finally catch up with him in the
courtyard. There will be many battles along the way with his Drow guards.
One of these battles will be with a very powerful Drow Lord with much better
armor and weapons than anything you have! You'll have a hot battle with him
before winning. (I foun it helpful to use a stalking horse and have a thief
backstab him.) Also, have those in your party who aren't hacking at him use
ranged weapons.
You'll find a piece of parchment that shows the location of the traps in
the tower. At random times, the parchment is booby-trapped to explode when
you try to pick it up.
Along the way I found a room where we were challenged by a mage to duel
with a floating sphere. The loser will be sucked into infinity. The winner
of this battle seems to be determined randomly. I tried all my
high-attribute magic-users in this battle; all were defeated before the NPC
magic-user, Akabar Bel Akash, won. (Others have reported winning this battle
with a mere fighter!) Just keep trying different members of your party until
you win. Save the game before undertaking the battle.
Most of the other battles are fairly easy until you come to a large group
of Wyverns. They're in the last room you'll come to before you enter the
courtyard (where Dracandos is dragging a bagful of scrolls around).
If you're poisoned by a Wyvern, cast a Neutralize Poison spell, and the
character will survive (have one memorized in advance). Even if you're
informed that the character is dead, don't believe everything you read!
You can defeat Dracandos (and company) with a large variety of tactics. I
found Hold Person spells worked on him, and Fireball spells decimated his
friends. You may wish to experiment with other means. The tactics he and his
friends use are random. Sometimes he damages himself and his party with his
own spells!
Dracandos wears AC2 Bracers and a +3 Ring of Protection. Equip one of your
magic-users with these. The robe is cursed: Don't wear it. He also has other
valuable items, including some scrolls. When you win the battle, you will be
notified that you have found The Helm of Dragons. You won't find it in your
inventory, but you do have it. It is the first of three items you need
before you're ready to go to Myth Drannor.
In the courtyard is a door to the Cave. You can return to the cave and give
the dragon's egg to Silk for your reward. You can also leave the courtyard
and go to Essembra. You will have to battle CrimDrac (if you haven't already
defeated him) at the bridge, and that completes the second bond adventure.
Undoubtedly, you will be ready for level increases at this point. Head for
the nearest Training Hall (in Essembra) and get them.
Part 3
Now that you have completed two bond adventures, you will be able to take
advantage of the "Search Area" option that now shows up in the menu of the
various towns you visit. There are ruins, caves, and towers to explore
outside every city. (For those who played POOL, there's still a section
outside Phlan that needs clearing!) These alternate adventures are not
necessary to win the game, but they do provide a means for acquiring more
experience points, scrolls, magical armor, and weapons.
If you visit the Standing Stone, you will be advised to seek the "green
one" next. The "green one" is Mogion of Moander, and she can be found in the
Pit of Yulash.
Yulash is a city at war. Red Plume and Zhentarim forces battle for its
possession. Your party will be met by Red Plume forces as they enter the
city and taken to Red Plume headquarters in the northwest section of the
city. After an interview, the Commander will mention something about the
tattoo that Silk identified you with. You will be released and given a pass
to leave, and a map. Camp in the barracks for the night. In the morning head
immediately for the Pit (south, east, and north). Along the way, you may
meet some Red Plume patrols, but they'll leave you alone; however, you'll
have to battle any Zhentarim terror forces you encounter.
You meet some Shambling Mounds dragging a body. Fighting them will give you
a magical weapon. Continue north to the Pit and enter. As soon as you do, a
cave-in will block your retreat. Go west and enter the first door to the
south. Go through the south door to another room, then through the door to
th east. In this room you will gain two powerful allies: Alias and
Dragonbait. Equip these two with your extra armor and weapons, and return to
where you entered the Pit.
This time, go west, pass the south door, and turn the corner going to the
south. Here you'll see a door to the east. Enter that door, continue east
through the next door, turn south, and continue south through the next door.
Eventually, you'll find a stairway to the next level.
Go south through the door, turn west, and go as far as the first door
that's blocking your way. Instead of entering, turn north, and continue
north through the door to Mogian's Temple. You'll be met by Mogian -- the
"green one" herself! She'll unleash the Shards of Moander. Hold Person
spells are effective against Mogian, her priestesses, and the shards of her
God. Stinking Cloud, Fireball, and Magic Missile spells worked on the
Shambling Mounds.
Mogian has a Cloak of Displacement which will lower AC by two. Grab it! The
battle will also yield other treasures.
After winning the series of battles, being released from another bond, and
finding the Gauntlets of Moandar (like the Dragon Helm, invisible to you),
search the Altar. You'll find a cache of precious jewels, and another map.
This is a map of level one (Entry #52), with the indicated stairway the one
you used to get to level two. Make your way back to level one and find your
way out to the Wilderness. Alias and Dragonbait will leave your party at
this point.
Since Yulash seems to be a much simpler, easier, and shorter adventure than
the others, you may decide that it, rather than Hap, should follow
Tilverton. I would agree except for several things: The advice given you at
the Standing Rock (go to Hap first), and the battles you do have in Yulash,
are as difficult as any you will find in the other adventures. And if you
choose to explore all of Yulash, you could have as many encounters.
Yulash has a large number of random encounters with two mages, one cleric,
and a differing number of fighters. They have fourth level spells and always
come into the fray already protected against Normal Missiles and Minor Globe
of Invulnerability. They cast Fire Shield at the first opportunity. Since
the Minor Globe of Invulnerability nullifies Fireball, Lightning Bolt, and
Stinking Cloud spells, and the Fire Shield halves or nullifies the damage
from Ice Storm spells, they're hard to beat. I have been using lots of Hold
Person spells.
Most opponents have magic weapons and armor. The mages have AC4 Bracers,
and sometimes a Dart of Hornet Swarm. Also, there are a lot of +2 maces, +1
swords (not 2-handed) weapons, +1 banded and +2 splint armor, and +1 Rings
of Protection in use.
After a brief stop in Ashabenford for training, return to Zhentil Keep to
find Olive Ruskettle, and to be released from the next to the last bond.
Olive Ruskettle is a halfling thief who claims she is a bard. She is
another one of the interesting characters you will find in the novel (along
with Alias and Dragonbait).
She makes a brief -- but key -- appearance in the game. She will guide you
to the beginning of the next bond adventure. You finally get her help by
travelling beyond the point where you are warned to save the game. She will
take you to the Temple of Bane where you can find and release Dimswart.
Dimswart will clear up many things for you (Entry #12). After you have
found him, explore the rest of the temple. You will eventually find an
altar. Search it to locate the weapons which are hidden under a trapdoor.
Among the weapons are some +2 arrows. While you're searching, the Clerics of
the Temple will interrupt you many times. You will have as many battles as
it takes to arm each of your adventurers with High Cleric armor. Refuse the
invitation to follow the cloaked, hooded figure until you've finished
searching the altar and arming your troops. The figure (Medusa) will keep
coming back until she's enticed you to the altar of Dexam. Since there are
no exits from the Temple (they will be sealed by fanatical priests), there
is nothing else to do but follow Medusa when you are ready.
Dexam is a Beholder. Beholders are very difficult to kill. Fortunately,
it's not necessary during this first meeting. In fact, he will do you a
favor. He will kill Fzoul (the evil lord responsible for your bond), and
inadvertently release your adventurers from their bond. During the following
civil war between the factions of Dexam and Fzoul, get out of the altar room
as quickly as you can, and head for the north exit. Unfortunately, you will
have to fight a couple of very tough battles with Minotaurs, Clerics,
Zhentillian forces, etc., but eventually you'll be able to either bash
through the door, or use a Knock spell. Camp and rest there. Do not move one
step further.
If you had chosen to exit through the east door, you would've eventually
found a dead elf (there is also a teleport square that will take you to
him). This elf has a rough map of the area (Entry #59).
What you want your party to do after healing, memorizing new spells, and
saving their position is to work your way east, north, west, and finally
south to the exit into the Wilderness.
Your party will have many battles on the way, including a large, difficult
one with Dexam and his troops. You'll also have several battles with Drow
Lords and other monsters. Use these battles to arm each of your characters
with Drow Lord armor and weapons. Drow Lord chain mail and shields will
lower a characters' AC to -7, and leave them with 12 movement points. Drow
Lords also carry +5 swords!
Camp, heal, memorize spells, and save your position after every battle. You
may have to move back to a safe place to do so. It isn't safe to rest in
very many places, but try moving a square or two away from wherever you last
fought before camping.
The tactics you can use to defeat a Drow Lord are generally the same as
before. Protect yourself by using the terrain. Use Fireball spells on his
companions, then pick him apart with ranged weapons, and backstabs. Heal
those who are wounded. As you gain more +5 weapons and Drow Lord armor, use
those weapons and armor against the other Drow Lords. It will become easier
to kill a Drow Lord as you battle your way to your meeting with Dexam.
When you meet Dexam, you might want to try using the Haste spell on a
fighter or paladin. He will be able to walk through Dexam's forces and
destroy this dangerous monster all by himself. (If Dexam isn't destroyed or
engaged in hand-to-hand combat immediately, he can cast devastating spells,
including one which will erase a character's statistics. He will not be
dead; he'll be _gone_!)
Several Fireball spells will destroy Dexam's forces, including the
dangerous Medusa with him. You can also use a mirror against her so that her
gaze will reflect back and stone her! Other gamers have used Lightning Bolts
and Ice Storm spells to win this battle.
After you win the battle you will get the final object (The Amulet of
Lathander). Again, it will be invisible in your inventory. Now that you
possess all three objects, when you return to the Standing Stone, you will
discover that the advice came from Tyranthraxus in disguise. He will reveal
himself, tell you to meet him in Myth Drannor, throw off his cloak, and
vanish. Myth Drannor will now appear as one of the options.
There are two sections to Myth Drannor. Tyranthraxus is not in the first
section that you enter; he is in the section to the northeast of that
The first section has many random encounters with Thri-Keen patrols;
however, if you give them the password (Tyranthraxus), they will leave you
alone. There is a ghostly meeting with an elf queen to the northwest. This
meeting will get you with a +5 bow and some blessed quarrels if you don't
take the armor offered as an option. If you do take the armor, all items you
receive from the queen will be cursed. You will also meet a Knight of Myth
Drannor. He tells you they will provide a diversion as you enter the Temple
of Tyranthraxus.
When you enter Myth Drannor, don't enter the building immediately to your
right (if you are facing north). Especially, do not enter the web to use a
password (KRRKKKK). It is a Rahshasa trick to trap you in a Giant Spider's
sticky web. (The clue for the password is given in one of the Search Area
You will find a path to the east in the northeast section. Take the path
through the woods to get into the second section, then immediately head
You will have a chance to rescue a man from hell hounds. The man will tell
you of his cache. In the cache is a +5 Sword and The Girdle of Giant
Strength. If you take the other path to the second section you will meet a
Rakshasa who will become a member of your party if you help him fight his
thieving uncle. This leads into many encounters with Rakshasa patrols,
The first door you find to the north is the door to the Temple of
Tyranthraxus. The next sequence is beyond your control. It runs like a movie
script. You will lose your final bond, and Tyranthraxus will leave his
clerics behind to fight you in his altar room.
When you have a chance to leave, head out the door to the east, turn north,
and enter the middle door. Hug the wall to the left, and head north until
you come to a stairway to level two.
On level two go north through a door, and turn to your right. Tyranthraxus
is in the second room to your right. Camp, save the game, and cast your
spells. If you want an easy battle, use the Dust of Disappearance in camp.
If you want to save the Dust for the mass meeting of Beholders in the Tower
of Oxam, cast Minor Globe of Invulnerability spells on your mages, and
anything else that may be useful such as Enlarge, Prayer, and Invisibility.
Get rid of the enemy clerics and magic-users with Fireball spells. The
blessed quarrels/arrows can kill Rakshasa. Use Hold Person, Ice Storm, and
everything you can. Heal those who are wounded with the extra healing
potions. It's a tough battle, but the Knights of Myth Drannor will arrive at
the end to heal your wounded.
The game then ends in fireworks and celebration. Congratulations!
CURSE OF THE AZURE BONDS is published by Strategic Simulations, Inc., and
distributed by Electronic Arts.
Part 4
After you have completed the second bond adventure, you will have the
choice of using the Search Area option when you reach a city. Some of the
Search Area options lead you to the same place that selecting Enter the City
does. For example, Zhentil Keep and Myth Drannor have no separate places to
explore, but the Search Area option is on the menu.
These side adventures can be used to gain experience points and levels, and
to find gold, magic weapons, scrolls, and armor. They all involve exploring
mazes -- some more difficult than others. Charles Miles commented: "The
small-time caves are a bear to map because they're made up of combinations
of a small number of different shaped areas. This gives the impression that:
a) you were in a room before when you really weren't; and, b) the caves were
built by Drow Elves Prefab Caves Inc."
Shadowdale, Ashabenford, and Essembra caves have several levels. The next
lower level is filled with more difficult monsters than the previous.
If you're lucky, you may find some +2 Long Bows and Composite Bows. What
you find is randomly selected, however, and your discoveries will vary
You reach another level when you cross through a tunnel in a cave. There is
a walled city on the third level of the cave near Shadowdale, where you can
find someone who will transport you to the surface if you wish; Dracolich,
Black Dragons and Elf Lords abound here. You can find the Magistrate's
kidnapped daughter on the first level. Report back to him in the city of
Shadowdale, and he'll reward you for your efforts.
The "Search Area" at Phlan leads you to an unconquered section of the city,
filled with "green one" priestesses and monsters: Shambling Mounds and
Vegepygmies. You can sometimes watch a ritual being performed in front of
the temple's altar.
The ruins outside of Hillsfar features Phase Spiders, Margoyle, and
Thri-Keen. The ruins outside of Teshwave contain pirate treasure.
Danny Low writes: "The difficulty of the side adventures is highly variable
Hillsfar and Teshwave are quite easy for fifth level characters; Phlan and
Voonlar are intermediate. Even the hard ones, like Shadowdale, are easy as
long as you don't go below the first level. They are clearly designed to
allow the characters to earn more XPs as they rise in levels. That is, the
higher they rise in level, the larger the XP rewards become, which helps
them rise to the next level.
"The harder side adventures randomly give you MU scrolls. This is very nice
for Scribing. The training fights you encounter on the roads and wilderness
are also easy, but these don't give much loot.
"I also had numerous confrontations with Dracolich, Black Dragons and Elf
Lords in Shadowdale, but there appears to be a limit to how many Elf Lords
and Dracolich you have to fight. Once they're dead, there are no more; just
wimpy Black Dragons, Efreets, et al."
The Tower of Oxam is at Dagger Falls and is the best (and most rewarding)
of the side adventures. When you select Search Area at Dagger Falls, you
find yourself in a second Magic Shop. This is a nice surprise since Zhentil
Keep i barred to you once you finish the bond adventure there. If you choose
to explore the Tower, you begin in the foyer. You can go up in the tower
(and sometimes see the shade of Cadorna wandering the tower), or down below,
where you will eventually find the mass meeting of the Beholder Corps.
If you want to go to the mass meeting, go west into the sitting room. Then,
go south (where you will find the stairs up), go east through the door, and
south through a door (where you will battle a group of minotaurs). Go
through the east door and you will be in the cave. Keep going east until you
can turn south. Go through the third door from the left (facing south).
There is a door to the west. Go through it and follow a path west (past
several rooms to the north). Then go north, west, north, west, south, east,
south, east (through an archway) down a long hallway, and through the door
(you'll be in a large cavern). Turn south and hug the wall until you come
across a door to the west. Through that door lies several rooms. One of them
will be the room where the mass meeting of the Mulmaster Beholder Corps is
being held. You are invited!
When you enter the room, your computer screen will read, "You enter a room
dominated by a large conference table. On each side is an assemblage of
Rakshasa, Drow, Priests, and Beholders. They are discussing the fate of
adventurers." Your options are "Flee in Panic," and "Throw Caution to the
Winds." There are 8 Rakshasa, 10 High Priests, 10 Drow Lords, and 15
Beholders in the room.
The battle is very easy if you camp and use the "Dust of Disappearance"
before entering.
If you choose not to use the dust, here is the way Mark E. Loenichen did
it, playing the IBM-PC version 1.0:
Assumptions going in (e.g., untested): Cast Enlarge and Haste on everyone.
Make sure they're all at maximum movement points on entry. Ready their armor
only at the moment of conflict. (This is a general rule, not to be taken
The Blink spell seemed to work better than Invisibility for avoiding
undesired magic spells and physical hits. If you can't Blink, use regular
invisibility. This provides only minimal protection during initial contact
when you are trying to gain better tactical ground.
Party make-up: All my characters had been through POOL and HILLSFAR, so
they had quite a few hit points (two had 100+, one 99, the others in the
60's). Have two eleventh level mages, two tenth level clerics, and one
twelfth level thief (very important for Drow Lord fighting) in your party.
Working Spells/Potions (all purchased): Extra Healing and Potions of Speed.
I spent everything I had to purchase every Javelin of Piercing in the store!
Essential Observations: Drow Lords run faster than anyone else. Cold spells
work on Drow Lords better than anything else. The -2 AC loss for Stink Cloud
victims can be essential. Curse works only on clerics and isn't worth it.
Nothing bothers Beholders or the Rakshasa magicians except force. A
well-placed backstab to a Drow Lord from a Hastened, Enlarged party member
can do wonders for the party's morale.
Specific Strategy: Clumped-up groups of people are "easy" pickings,
especially if the ones trapped are the nastiest. Survive at the cost of an
easy kill: In other words, when a Beholder approaches within lethal
distance, run! Try to get the enemy to use up all his spells.
Tactics: Hit the Drow Lords and priests with Confuse. Not many will be
affected, but it's enough to eventually drain most of their combat spells.
Your first maneuver should be to escape from the room. Run up and all the
way to the back of the room (behind walls, of course). Eventually, all the
enemies will congregate in the back of the room. Drow Lords and Rakshasa
will be the most prominent in the crowd. I positioned my party around the
walls to hold some of the monsters in, and set up a "sucker play" wherein I
enticed others to come out of the room (one or two at a time only). Drow
Lords were definitely more desirable one at a time, but I managed three once
-- with great difficult and at the expense of using a lot of my Heal
Potions. If the going got rough or looked hairy, I would run to the back of
the room to recluster the enemy, then I would cast Healing spells and drink
Healing Potions.
There was a "YOU HAVE WON" message awarding 22,000+ experience points at th
end of the battle. The loot from the room (as far as equipment and scrolls
were concerned) was not impressive, but I did get enough money to make up
for the expense of the Javelins.
The back door led to a 2-square (I think) room with another door. Behind,
the second door was _great_ treasure. I received another 10,000 experience
points and a bunch of magic weapons. The weapons were not impressive; mostly
+1's with one or two +2's.
The room farthest to the back was a single-square sort of room. I was using
the Search Area option when I entered. Rakshasa are not immune to stink
clouds. Once they're coughing, they can be paralyzed with the Wand of
Paralysis. I was not able to paralyze them at any other time, though I only
tried two or three times when they weren't "stinking." The Drow Lords are
affected by paralysis, too, but I think they have to be hacked up pretty
bad; again, I believe my only success in this was when they were under the
influence of Stinking Cloud.
Part 5
Winning the battles is the hardest part of playing the game. Tactics are
the key to victory. This section will attempt to introduce you to various
tactics with which I have had some success.
Generally, give the highest priority to targeting enemy magic-users to keep
them from casting spells each round. Eliminate helpless monsters before they
become active again, and concentrate your attacks on one enemy at a time.
It is much easier to fight battles when your characters all have 12
movement points (or as close to it as your armor will allow in the beginning
of the game). Do not overload your characters; don't get greedy by picking
up all the treasure you find. When you find that your characters are
overloaded, lighten their loads!
If you don't have sufficient spells to kill all the enemies, mass your
attacks against one of them at a time. Follow the Quick Start advice: "It's
better to kill one than to wound two."
Experiment with your thief's backstab abilities. Use the delay command when
each character's chance to move comes up. This allows the monster to move
first so that the direction in which it's facing won't change. Then, have a
fighter or cleric attack the enemy from one direction, and have your thief
attack from directly opposite your fighter.)
The backstab is one of the most effective weapons in the game. The damage
increases as your thief gains levels. Contrary to the manual, a
multi-classed thief can wear heavy armor while using the backstab, and he
can use it against large monsters.
Find good, defensive positions that won't allow the enemy to find a way
around your flanks. Use the terrain; force the enemy to come at you through
doorways and narrow openings in walls. Set your party up next to trees to
protect them from being surrounded. Mass as many of your attacks against as
many single targets as possible.
If only your party has ranged weapons (bows, crossbows, slings, and attack
spells, such as Fireball, etc.), try to begin the attack at the longest
possible range. Keep a front line of fighters and clerics to protect your
archers and magic users.
If both sides have ranged weapons, make the enemy spellcasters your primary
If only the enemy has ranged weapons, attack at close range. It's much
harder for the enemy to use his bow or magic against you when you're beating
on his head with a sword! Offensive spells act very much like bows or
weapons. Using them on an enemy magic-user prevents them from casting for
the rest of the turn. The magical "+" bows are, of course, the best ranged
weapons to have, as well as "+" arrows and quarrels.
Magic Missile is the single best target spell. It has the longest range and
causes the most consistent damage.
Spiritual Hammer is only effective at close range, and even then, it
doesn't cause much damage.
Cloudkill, Flame Strike, and Slay Living are short range offensive spells
that vary greatly in effectiveness. Experiment with them.
Charm Person can turn an enemy into a friend. It only works on one
human-shaped creature.
Fireballs are the spell of choice, if you have them available.
Ice Storm and Cone of Cold cause less damage, and can only be used at
shorter distances. They are effective against monsters resistant to fire.
Fear causes all enemies within a rather large area to flee; however, if
they are nearby, you can very easily affect your own troops.
Confusion will interrupt between 2 and 16 monsters from doing whatever they
were doing.
Lightning Bolt is the enemy magic-users' favorite spell. It can be
effective against up to eight targets; however, it is usually only effective
against two or three.
Sleep, Hold Person, Hold Monster, and Stinking Cloud can make the enemy
helpless sitting ducks for a fighter's or archer's single blow.
If the enemy has the ability to use mass attack magic against you, spread
your party out. Most mass attack spells have limited range.
Charm Monster works on all living creatures but is only effective on one
monster at a time, and the monster must be fourth level or higher.
Prayer, Bless, Protection from Evil, and Protection from Evil 10' Radius
are protection spells you can cast in camp before a battle. I preferred to
use Prayer since it affected the saving throws and THACO of the whole party,
and not just a single target.
Bestow Curse reduces the target's THACO and saving throw by four.
Invisibility 10' Radius is very useful to cast in camp before a battle. It
makes your entire party invisible until they attack. Do not attack right
away. Use your enemies' confusion (magic-users will waste spells by trying
to cast them, and aborting the spells when they can't find a target) to get
all your characters in position for backstabs, Lightning Bolts, etc. Have
all your characters choose delay, let the enemy take his turn, then attack
all at once. (Your THACO in melee is reduced by 4.)
The Minor Globe of Invulnerability (protects the caster from incoming
first, second, or third level spells) is perhaps the most valuable
protective spell you can have your magic-users cast in camp before a major
Enlarge makes the recipient larger and stronger. The higher the level of
the caster, the stronger the character. It should be cast in camp.
Haste doubles the character's movement and number of melee attacks per
round. However, it also ages them by one year.
Slow can be used against targets using Haste to negate the spell. (WARNING:
IBM version 1.0 has a bug that causes the game to freeze when Slow is cast.)
Neutralize Poison is valuable in restoring a poisoned character to life.
Cast it either during the battle when the character is poisoned, or in camp
before resting. Do not be fooled by the message saying that the character is
dead. They can be brought back to life with the spell.
Slow Poison will only revive a person for the duration of the spell (one
hour per caster's level).
Feeblemind and Fumble are not always effective because the target is
allowed saving throws.
The Necklace of Missiles casts a series of fireball spells. It is found in
the sewers of Tilverton.
The Wand of Missiles casts low-level missile spells. This is the best of
the items you can buy at the Magic Shop. The other offensive spells sold
there are Hornets Nest Darts (excellent weapon for a single classed
magic-user -- get several), and Lance of Piercing (highly recommended for
use at the Mass Meeting of the Beholder Corps).
The Dust of Disappearance is the most powerful weapon in the game! With it,
you can win any battle. Unfortunately, it can only be used once. It is an
invisibility spell that keeps working even while you're attacking! Ready it
and use it in camp before either the battle with Tyranthraxus to win the gam
or to win the battle against the mass meeting of beholders in the Tower of
Oxam. It is found in the thieves' treasure room in the Thieves Guild below
The Dwarfs Girdle is beneficial primarily to Dwarves in raising strength
attributes. Experiment with it, however, to see what it will do to each of
your troops when readied. (WARNING: In IBM version 1.0, using it may cause
the attribute to change to an unrealistic number beyond the maximum allowed.
You're better advised to sell the Girdle.)
The Ioun Stones do various things to attributes only if the characters
aren' already at their maximum attribute allowed. See the list below.
(WARNING: Using Ioun Stones in IBM version 1.0 may cause the attributes to
change to unrealistic numbers way beyond maximum. You're better off selling
the stones.)
Pale blue rhomboid -- +1 Strength
Scarlet and blue sphere -- +1 Intelligence
Incandescent blue sphere -- +1 Wisdom
Deep red sphere -- +1 Dexterity
Pink rhomboid -- +1 Constitution
Pink and green sphere -- +1 Charisma
Pale green prism -- +1 experience level
Clear spindle -- character needs no food or water
Iridescent spindle -- character can survive without air
Pearly white spindle -- character regenerates 1 hit point per turn
Pale lavender ellipsoid -- absorbs spells up to 4th level
Lavender and green ellipsoid -- absorbs spells up to 8th level
Vibrant purple prism -- stores 2-12 levels of spells
Dusty rose prism -- +1 protection
Any Ioun Stone described as "dull gray" is burned-out and useless.
You will not find all of the stones listed above. The list is from the AD&D
Some of the monsters are difficult to kill simply because they resist
Beholder: Use Haste on your strong, fast fighters and quickly eliminate a
single beholder (or even a small party of them) with magical weapons. Don't
waste time casting magic spells. They will block most (if not all) of them.
You can also hide behind walls to stay out of range of their spells.
Protection spells may protect you from some of their spells. They have a
Disappearing ray that will not only kill your character, but wipe out his
stats! (His condition will be GONE, which is deader than dead.)
Black Dragon: I have had the most success with Fireballs, and quickly
eliminated the Black Dragons before they could use their breath weapons.
Don't let your party bunch together. One 45-point hit of acid breath can
almost decimate your whole party! Missile spells are also effective.
Stinking Cloud prevents them from using their acid breath, as well as making
them helpless at times.
Dracolich: In defeating Crimdrac, spreading out, and casting multiple
missil spells from a distance was very effective. (Each of my adventurers
used a missile wand if they didn't have a regular (and more powerful)
missile spell.
Medusa: I never had any problems with Medusas. Burn them to a crisp with
fireball spells from a distance before they can get close and use their Gaze
that turns you into stone. I have heard reports that using a Mirror against
them when they cast the gaze turns them into stone! (They also can't use
their gaze if you are invisible!)
Rakshasa: They can be slain by a blessed bolt from a cross bow, but any
magical weapon will do, and engaging them quickly in battle prevents them
from using their favorite spell: the Lightning Bolt. (The Minor Globe of
Invulnerability will protect your magic-users.)
Thri-Keen: You won't meet many of them until you get to Myth Drannor, and
then they will respond to Tyranthraxus (the password), and leave you alone.
Tyranthraxus (the Storm Giant): Protect your three magic-users with the
Minor Globe of Invulnerability, and the Lightning Bolts he throws will be
harmless. You can cast Invisibility 10' Radius, which should protect the
others, as long as they don't attack anyone. Of course, The Dust of
Disappearance will keep everyone safe from being targeted by spells, and
Potions of Extra-Healing will help restore the HPs you will lose when you
bump into his various bodyguards in the final confrontation.
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