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Story

The sequel to Eye of the Beholder takes place shortly after the success of the heroes from the first game, presumably the player's party, over the beholder, Xanathar, which had saved the city.

However, frequent reports of missing travelers on the outskirts of Waterdeep have begun to filter into the hands of the Lords of Waterdeep and once again, the City's greatest Archmage, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun, calls upon the party to investigate the matter. Villagers are disappearing and the city guard are wary of wandering too far into the woods to the north and west for fear of what might be waiting for the overly curious. With the discovery of several shallow graves and the journal of a self-styled archeologist hinting at even darker mysteries, the party has little to go on until they discover Temple Darkmoon. There, amidst three towers, they must uncover its mysteries and destroy the evil lurking within.

Overview

Eye of the Beholder II (EotB II) was the second game in the AD&D based Eye of the Beholder trilogy published by SSI as a part of their "Legend Series". It would the last title developed for SSI by Westwood Associates, the same developers that would go on to become Westwood Studios. As with its predecessor, it was notable at the time for its use of lush 3D graphics, extensive puzzles, and animated monster encounters along with the degree of interactivity that players had within its dungeons, but would include a variety of improvements such as deeper role-playing experience and a larger area to explore.

The objective of the game was to explore the mysterious Temple of Darkmoon on the request of the archmage, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun. It soon becomes clear that there is far more to the Temple than previously suspected and the party will need to unravel its secrets in order to survive.

The game was a licensed product of TSR's 2nd Edition AD&D rules and used the Forgotten Realms campaign setting as did the previous games.

Copy protection took the form of a verification question accompanied by an illustration. Matching the illustration with the correct one in the manual would produce the correct answer. Copies were also encouraged in order to preserve the original disks.

The manual was also notable for including a great deal of information concerning the monsters, classes, and weapons that could be encountered within the game, all adhering to the 2nd Edition AD&D ruleset. Experience tables and other pieces of information were located in the back of the manual.

Gameplay

As with the rest of the series, tthe game uses a grid-based, 3D system wherein the world is viewed from a first-person perspective with 90° turns and movement spaces. Within the ever-present interface, a small window on the upper left quadrant of the screen displayed the world as in the first with the party listed on the right. A text box on the bottom part of the screen displayed various messages while a compass was also shown when outside of combat. Random enemy encounters would provide combat opportunities within the game against mixed groups of foes. Everything in the interface continued to be mouse driven.

As with most RPGs, party setup and character selection were left entirely up to the player. If the player so chose to create a party of warriors, they could expect extreme difficulty ahead without a mage to help teleport them back home, out of a dungeon, or heal them adequately in combat. A party is limited to six characters.

Veterans from the first EotB game will be able to import their characters. A pre-built party is also available for play for those that do not want to go through the creation process.

Races

No new races were added to the sequel and many of the same restrictions and statistical rules remained unchanged. Six races are given to the player to choose from and build a party of characters with as before.

As with the first game, players can only generate four characters on their own to make up the initial party. Two slots are reserved for potential NPCs that may join later on in the game, creating a total of six adventurers that can make up the group.

In keeping with the 2nd Edition AD&D ruleset, each race has its own set of restrictions concerning both what classes are available to them such as how far they can advance in certain ones. Racial modifiers can also affect their efficiency in certain professions.

  • Human: As in most RPGs, their statistics and abilities are fairly average across the board with no distinctive bonuses.
  • Elf: Fair haired, fair skinned, and more agile than humans, their specialties are focused on both magic and war although they tend to do better as spellcasters. They have a bonus to dexterity and the use of bows along with long or short swords. They are highly resistant to charm or sleep spells.
  • Dwarf: Short, gruff, and strong, they are renowned for their smithing skills as well as their combat abilities. Being a somewhat non-magical race, they have good resistances against many spells and even poisons.
  • Halflings: Short in stature, friendly to a fault, and generally good natured, halflings are also innately resistant to spells. They're also dextrous making them decent fighters and sticky fingered rogues.
  • Half Elves: They have no racial modifiers but are somewhat resistant to sleep and charm spells. However, because of their longer lifespans, they are able to multiclass with a greater number of combinations than other races and are decent fighters.
  • Gnome: Good as clerics, thieves, and even fighters, they are also fairly magic resistant as their distant cousins, the dwarves, are.

Classes

As with Eye of the Beholder, six classes are made available to players to choose from, each with its own set of restrictions. Each classes require certain prime requisites, or ability scores, to be at certain values before that character can become part of that class. No major changes have been made to this system and it would continue to be used throughout the series in much of the same way.

  • Fighter: The consummate fighter, they can use nearly every weapon that they find. They can use magical weapons, rings, but can cast no spells. As they gain levels, they also gain speed which enables them to attack more often in combat. The prime requisite for this class is strength and any race and alignment can be a member.
  • Paladin: These are elite fighters dedicated to smiting evil wherever it may be and will not join a party that has evil members. They are immune to disease, have increased resistances to spell effects and poison, and can heal other characters with their "laying on of hands" ability. At higher levels, they are also able to turn undead and can cast certain clerical spells. They also have a persistent aura around them that acts as a negative affect on evil creatures that come too close. Only humans with good scores in both Strength and Charisma can become this class.
  • Thieves: A high dexterity is a prime requisite for this class and they are restricted in wearing only leather-type armor and in using a limited number of weapons. Any race can be this class and it is considered an important one to have in the game to avoid getting the party killed whenever a trap is found.
  • Rangers: They can use any weapon as a fighter can and can even dual wield melee weapons without any penalty, but only if they are not wearing heavy armor. Humans, elves, and half-elves are the only races that are allowed in the game that can be a part of this class.
  • Cleric: They are holy warriors that can fight with a number of weapons and wear armor while casting divine spells against their enemies. Ideal for dealing with the undead as well as healing the party. Wisdom is the prime requisite for this class and any race can be a part of it.
  • Mages: The spellcasters of the Realm, what they lack in armor and weapons expertise are made up for in the spells that they can weave. Unlike several other RPG systems of the time that utilized spell points, mages in AD&D have to memorize a set number of spells in order to store and use them at a later time. Once those memorized spells are used up, the mage must take time to memorize another batch. Intelligence is the prime requisite for this class and as they gain in level, they also gain extra slots that can be used to store memorized spells. Humans, Elves, and Half-Elves can become mages in the game.

Alignment

AD&D along with many other PnP RPGs at the time made extensive use of an alignment system to determine a character's worldview and how they conducted themselves within society which would also be reflected in EotB II's mechanics. The entire series used this system but it did not impact the main narrative in a meaningful way, other than in determining who or what could join the party.

World View:

  • Lawful: A character will work within the laws
  • Neutral: A character will move between valuing a society and valuing an individual.
  • Chaotic: A character will choose the good of the individual above that of everything else.

Ethics:

  • Good: The character tries to act in a moral and upstanding manner.
  • Neutral: A character leans towards evaluating 'situational ethics' depending on the circumstances.
  • Evil: A character acts without regard for others or in an overly malignant manner.

For example, a Lawful Good character would be by-the-book when it came to upholding the good in society while a Chaotic Good character would be more willing to bend the rules in order to provide the same. A Lawful Evil character might hold their word as their bond and be loathe to break it for anyone, but would only give it if confronted by someone whose power they respect or as a part of one of their fell schemes. As interesting as this was, the game did not make an extensive use of the potential that this system could bring to an RPG.

Attributes

None of the basic character attributes used to determine what classes were available for certain characters and how well they would perform in them would significantly change from the first game and even into the third title, Assault of Myth Drannor. They would continue to be based upon TSR's 2nd Edition AD&D ruleset, however, with all of the set limits and restrictions.

Attribute scores of 18 were still considered the highest possible in a natural sense, although racial bonuses and magical effects/enhancements in the form of spells or items would be able to raise them higher either temporarily or permanently in more rare cases. These are set as far as the game was concerned. Leveling improved a character's HP (hit points) and general abilities, but their base statistics would almost never change.

  • Strength: This determines the amount of physical damage that a character can inflict. With a strength statistic of 18, an additional variable is added to indicate exceptional strength as a percentage shown as 18/23.
  • Constitution: A character's health and toughness is determined by this. In AD&D, this has other effects outside of simply determining the HP amount gained after every level, such as a character's resistance to certain physical effects.
  • Intelligence: A vital attribute for mages as they learn spells.
  • Dexterity: Characters with a high dexterity tend to be nimble and agile improving their AC (armor class) which measures how hard they are to hit in combat. Important for every class, but more so with others such as fighters and thieves. With a score of 16 or higher, fighters can negate some of the penalties levied against them for using dual weapons.
  • Charisma: This determines how attractive or repulsive a character is to everyone around them, whether it is in how they carry themselves in conversation or appear in public. Important for paladins.
  • Wisdom: A character's innate ability to judge situations and make the best choices. It is also important in spell resistance and particularly key for clerics. Higher wisdom scores above 13 also translate into extra spells that clerics can utilize.

Combat

The fighting system would also remain relatively unchanged from the first game making it extremely accessible to veterans.

Fighting in the game is handled through random encounters wherein experience, items, and gold are earned. The front ranks, determined by the two characters at the top of the party list, can engage in melee combat. All other characters must resort to ranged weapons or spells in order to join in the fight. An onscreen menu guided their actions and right clicking with the mouse on the appropriate icon, such as a warrior's sword, would cause them to act.

Camping was available for the player to rest and heal the party, memorize spells, and save the game when necessary.

NPC Companions

As well as creating your own party of player characters, throughout the course of your adventure in the temple of Darkmoon it is possible to find and recruit other NPC characters to join your cause.

INSAL
Insal is a Halfling thief who can be found in the level 1 Underground. He has been captured by the priests of Darkmoon and if you free him from his shackles he will offer to join your party, or you are given the option of setting him free. If you allow him to join your party he will leave you the first time you camp and steal a number of your items in the process.
  • Location - Underground, Level 1
  • Class - Thief
SHORN
Shorn is a Dwarven cleric who can be found in the level 2 Underground. If you free him from his cell he will offer to join your party.
  • Location - Underground, Level 2
  • Class - Cleric
  • Alignment - Lawful Neutral
LEVELHPACSTRCONINTDEXCHAWIS
84010151314141613
SAN-RAAL
San-Raal is a Drow magician whose bones can be found in the level 2 Underground. If you take his bones to the altar of revival you can use one of its charges to bring him back to life where he will automatically join in any empty party slot.
  • Location - Underground, Level 2
  • Class - Mage
  • Alignment - Chaotic Neutral
LEVELHPACSTRCONINTDEXCHAWIS
8281011161814913
CALANDRA
Calandra is a Human Fighter who is imprisoned in the level 2 Underground. It is possible to have previously uncovered aspects of her back story before finding her, there is evidence of a struggle in the forest before reaching the temple of Darkmoon, and at the entrance to the temple you can find Calandra's sister who is searching for her. If you free her from her cell she will offer to join your party.
  • Location - Underground, Level 2
  • Class - Fighter
  • Alignment - Lawful Good
LEVELHPACSTRCONINTDEXCHAWIS
976918161315148
AMBER
Amber is an Elven Thief/Mage. She is the scout who was sent by Khelben to investigate Darkmoon and disappeared before Khelben recruited your party. Her bones can be found in the Priest's quarters and must be taken to the altar of revival where it is possible to bring her back to life by expending one of its charges. She will automatically join your party in any available character slot.
  • Location - Priest's Quarters
  • Class - Thief/Mage
  • Alignment - Neutral Good
LEVELHPACSTRCONINTDEXCHAWIS
7/736614917181712
TANGLOR
Tanglor is a Dwarven Fighter/Cleric. He can be found resting in the Mantis Corridor and if you speak with him, depending on your alignment he may offer to join your party.
  • Location - Mantis Corridor
  • Class - Fighter/Cleric
  • Alignment - Neutral Good
LEVELHPACSTRCONINTDEXCHAWIS
7/7539161113151216

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