Pools of Darkness, fourth in the series of SSI (Strategic Simulations, Inc.) games made for TSR set in the forgotten realms. This one was released in 1991, for DOS only.

"Ten years have passed and your party returns to the city where it started, Phlan. The city is thriving, and looks quite idealic. But a sinister force is lurking deep in the shadows..."

You begin the game on the docks in Phlan. Once you visit the council and accept Sasha's mission and leave town, Bane appears and destroys some cities and causes general havoc. After removing Phlan, you are transported to limbo by Elminster and he explains what is happening.

Pools of Darkness is the best (In my opinion) game in the gold box series. The usual idea behind these games in this series has you led along a very linear path. Not so with Pools of Darkness. Sometimes even when you seem to know where to go it leds you to a dead end.

It is the most high-level of these games. Which means that a special mechanic of 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons comes into play. Non-human race level restrictions. This means that in any class (other than thief) they can not rise above a certain level.

An important trick in this game (and it is a hard game), is duplicating equipment. You load your saved game, to the main menu where you can add and remove characters. Remove the character from your party that has the item, and update the character. Add that character back into the game. Trade these items to the other characters to the other party members. Remove the character that had the item, but don't update the character. Add the original character back in to the party. Rinse and repeat.

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