Even in the event you do the smart factor and begin your Dungeons & Dragons marketing campaign at stage 3—the purpose the place everybody will get a subclass and begins to really feel like a bespoke particular person fairly than a persona you got off the rack—having a marketing campaign truly attain D&D’s increased ranges is like changing into fluent in one other language. Straightforward for youths, nearly unattainable for adults. We simply do not have that form of time.
Which is why the Palace of Ice growth for Solasta is interesting. Solasta is a French RPG made with a mildly homebrewed model of D&D’s fifth version guidelines, and its authentic model took characters on a conventional zero-to-hero journey from stage 1 to stage 10ish. Perhaps 12, in the event you actually took your time and did every little thing. The Palace of Ice DLC permits you to both import a celebration who completed the bottom sport’s Crown of the Magister marketing campaign, or make new characters at stage 10. Both method, they will begin with a full suite of cool talents and a set of magic objects, and attain stage 16 by the top. That will not sound like a lot in videogame turns, however since 5E tops out at 20 it is truly method up there.
I praised Solasta’s earlier DLC for finally letting me make the weird D&D party of my dreams as a result of it rounded out the unique sport’s roster with player-character choices like dragonborn and half-orcs, in addition to warlocks, monks, bards, barbarians, and druids. Palace of Ice provides gnomes and tieflings, which means in the event you personal all of the add-ons you now have entry to each species and sophistication within the 5E Participant’s Handbook.
Palace of Ice welcomes you to high-level D&D by making you combat demons—together with one of many buzzard-headed skeksis rejects known as a vrock—on day one. Fairly quickly, enemies begin utilizing legendary actions to get additional turns and no-selling something that makes them take a saving throw with legendary resistances as a matter after all. Then Palace of Ice takes you on a visit to Dragon City, inhabitants your face, which is on hearth since you combat dragons on a regular basis now. 5 of them will present up as a random encounter when you’re attempting to cross the overland map and also you simply should cope.
Which is definitely fairly simple. By the point dragons, ogre zombies, and the remorhaz present up—a remorhaz is a form of big arctic centipede that radiates sufficient warmth to trigger hearth injury whenever you hit it, which why you by no means see one sporting a cardigan—you may have entry to top-tier spells. Issues like earthquake and finger of loss of life in addition to a brand new one known as gravity slam that does 12d6 bludgeoning injury (save for half).
Have you ever ever chosen a personality class for a tabletop marketing campaign by taking a look at cool shit like how sorcerers from a draconic bloodline can develop wings every time they really feel prefer it as soon as they hit stage 14, however then had the sport stall out earlier than you attain, like, stage 7? You probably have, this sort of stuff is a dream come true.
Sadly, having characters who fly on a regular basis—which isn’t unlikely given prepared entry to magic objects that grant it and with the ability to toss round stage 3 spells like fly as in the event you’re wealthy individuals pouring champagne on the dust simply to really feel one thing—does expose some issues.
Solasta’s turn-based battles profit from their 3D environments, with big spiders climbing partitions and chasms that should be jumped throughout. Which is neat, besides that it simulates bottomless pits by eradicating areas from the grid fully, which means which you could’t fly over these chasms irrespective of how excessive up you go. In the meantime the entangle spell, although its space of impact is described as a sq. identical to it’s within the tabletop sport, truly covers a sphere and can restrain characters who attempt to fly over it.
The large variety of area-of-effect spells that high-level characters fling round, like Johnny Appleseed however with cloudkill, additionally highlights how finicky it may be to put issues on particular spots in Solasta’s 3D areas. I have not spent this a lot time attempting to get AoE spheres to snap into the place I need since I went all-in on grenades in XCOM.
The opposite gripes I’ve in my notes, unrelated to characters being excessive stage, are largely about Palace of Ice’s quests being complicated or simple to sequence-break. Generally it is minor stuff like the search log getting NPC names incorrect (somebody known as Etheyn Prepare dinner turns into “Tea” for some time), a sidequest refusing to finish, or the time I talked to a service provider who requested me to rescue somebody I might not solely already rescued, however truly had with me when that dialog triggered.
Generally it is extra annoying, like when a companion urged allying with a storm big who was hostile from the get-go and I had no possibility however to kill. Subsequent dialogue made it sound like not solely was that storm big nonetheless alive, however I might efficiently brokered an alliance together with his individuals. A quest afterward stated I had the choice to return a magic merchandise to him, though he remained as useless as THAC0.
The story is not the rationale to play Solasta, so issues like that are not the deadly flaws they is perhaps in one other RPG. Its localization has at all times been odd in ways in which make it tough to take severely, like how get together members will congratulate one another on a kill by shouting “That is battle!” as if we spent the earlier rounds of fight taking part in badminton or one thing.
The entire motive to hassle with Solasta is since you need extra D&D than your every-second-Tuesday group is up for, you’ve got already rinsed Baldur’s Gate 3, and you have got a excessive tolerance for goofiness so long as it is a part of a sport that permits you to upcast magic missile at a vrock or keep in mind that remorhaz exist. Which is precisely what Palace of Ice does.