Source:Beginners Adventures notes

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Description

The Eamon Deluxe notes and reviews for adventure set #1, Beginners Adventures.

Source

Eamon Deluxe 5.0 files EDX\C\EAMONDX\E001\INTRO.BAS and EDX001RV.TXT

Date

June 2012

Author

Frank Black

License

The use of this item is permitted and constitutes fair use on the grounds that it's free or in the public domain.

Notes

This adventure collection contains all of the Classic Eamon adventures which were written for beginning level characters to earn experience and wealth the "honest" way, without cheating or using a character editor.

Most of these adventures were very strict about enforcing the Beginners Only rule in their Classic format and would (literally) kick out any character that wasn't a fresh creation from the Main Hall.

The Eamon Deluxe conversions, however, put no such restrictions upon the player and even strong, high level characters are free to explore and pillage any of these settings if they can handle a light scolding from the person in charge of that particular area.

The Eamon Deluxe 5.0 Demo Adventure has also been included with this set. Unlike the rest of the collection, the Demo Adventure has not been scaled down for beginning level characters, but rather it is recommended that at least a medium level character is used when exploring Eamon Deluxe's most famous and ever-changing little mysterious house in the forest...

The 5.0 Demo Adventure is a good introduction into how the Eamon Deluxe gaming system works and goes over almost every aspect of common game play while still maintaining a consistent story and sense of adventure. It is highly recommended to new players and those who have played older versions of Eamon Deluxe before the 5.0 revisions.

Note: It is recommended that those who are new to Eamon Deluxe read through the Player's Manual before starting an adventure. The Player's Manual has detailed explanations of all the commands used on adventures as well as other general details about basic Eamon Deluxe gameplay. All game manuals can be read from the Eamon Deluxe Main Menu or found online at EamonAG.org.

Those who are familiar with other versions of Eamon will recognize a lot of similarities to the classic versions. However, Eamon Deluxe has many significant enhancements and features which are also detailed in the Player's Manual. For a quick reference, type HINTS once you have started playing an adventure and select hint number one, "GENERAL HELP."

Cheers,
Frank Black
June, 2012

Reviews

Beginners Adventures

The first volume of Eamon Deluxe is unsurprisingly comprised of seven beginner level adventures intended to ease players into the system lightly, as well as introduce Eamon Deluxe and its concepts. Though several of the titles (including the traditional Beginner's Cave) originally would only allow new characters freshly created at the Main Hall, Frank has modified the set so that any character can enter. This means a starting player can play through all of the beginner scenarios if they want (provided they can stomach the tantrums thrown by the various Guardians of Beginnerhood). In fact this might be a good idea for anyone who wants to build up their character through pure adventuring rather than using a pre-generated character or modifying a character with the editor.

Also it goes without saying that as part of Eamon Deluxe, some of the problems which I see mentioned in the Eamon users club reviews that had to do with earlier versions of the Eamon program, such as not being able to abbreviate commands, or having text disappearing off the screen are not an issue here. Nevertheless, these are fairly bare bones adventures with a beginners' theme (including the first ever Eamon adventure by Don Brown), thus they tend to take the simple loot and pillage approach to the action, not that there's anything wrong with that.

The Beginner's Adventures was of course where I started with Eamon Deluxe, and had the effects in the Beginner's Cave not grabbed my interest, I probably wouldn't be playing too much more of it today, so I'll always have something of a fondness for several of these, simple though they are. The basic fantasy principle they're based on, dungeons, magic traps, grabbing loot and rescuing maidens, is actually rather refreshing these days, especially when the authors have taken the time to add in atmospheric descriptions or special effects, short though some of these may be.

To quote The Sound of Music, the very beginning is certainly a good place to start.

The Beginners Cave

This was of course the first Eamon adventure I played, probably along with most other people, and as an introduction to the system it serves reasonably well. The layout is very simple really just a long corridor with a few doors off it containing possible companions, several fights and, of course, treasure. Having an actual damsel to rescue along the way as well is a nice touch since it gives your quest slightly more purpose beyond just looting in a Warlord's cave, though it would have been nice to get some prior indication that she was missing in the first place, rather than simply running into her as, effectively, just another treasure item.

The descriptions were short and to the point, but little touches, like the engraving on magic swords, add to the atmosphere and Frank has put in one or two extra bits of description and added a couple of previously hinted at artifacts here and there in addition to the faithful replication of Donald Brown's original design. The environment still feels a little sparse in comparison to other outings and I am not a fan of the "It has a sticker on it," method that is used for one item.

The thing, however, that surprised me the most (and indeed really caught my interest) were the several special effects. Magic spells, a secret door, a disguised monster and a very interesting death trap (though since I saved first, I didn't mind the death trap even the first time it happened). These turned what was a fairly simple kill-and-loot scenario into something a lot more fun. Indeed one minor problem I had with the adventure is that you can run out of monsters to fight before trying one of the cooler combat effects!

Speaking of fights, this is obviously stated as a beginner's game and the enemies are lightweight, plus you get some decent companions to help as well.

Truthfully, if you are just looking for one beginner level adventure before moving on, there are some better adventures in the set. And playing this one is a little pointless if you intend to play the Enhanced Beginners' Cave as well, since that replicates absolutely everything from this adventure, while adding a fair amount of new content. If, however, you are interested in visiting the place where Eamon began or just want to try everything then it's not a bad intro.

Alternate Beginners Cave

I was actually rather surprised that the Eamon Users Club review for this adventure gave it such a lukewarm reception. I personally think of it as an introduction to Eamon which is a distinct improvement over the original Beginner's Cave even.

It's a good deal larger than Don Brown's cave, though not confusingly so, and more is made of the descriptions of the various rooms and objects making for a rather colourful underground complex. There is a slightly more coherent overall theme (there are no random hermits or pirates, though randomness is all a daily part of Eamon), and there are some rather nice specials to surprise you and keep you on your toes. These include a couple of slightly obscure events (though Frank has provided hints which can lead you to those).

The fights are generally easy and you have companions to help you, and of course there is plenty of treasure for building your character's wealth. One fight is especially hard, however using the right item can get you past that and there is a nice reward for doing so.

Also, though having no objective introduced at the start, there is a rescuable maiden, albeit a slightly less logical maiden than the noble lady of the Beginner's Cave (what this particular maiden is doing in an underground cavern is a little beyond me).

One issue with this adventure is that what appeared to be the last room ends in front of a door welded shut, which feels a little of an anticlimax, having to retreat rather than explore further, despite the dramatic fight and treasures in that area.

Despite that issue though, Rick's cave might actually be a nice adventure to start on if you're just planning on playing one or two beginner Eamons, since it does pretty much what the Beginner's Cave does, just with slightly more style.

Beginner's Forest

This is notable for being the only one of the beginners adventures not set in a dungeon, however it seems that getting out of the dungeons also gets you into lots of trouble since this is one of the harder adventures in the set. Though, thanks to Frank's wizardly talents, several of the more critically nasty points have been made somewhat less fatal in quite an amusing fashion. Also several special events that were a little irritating in the original version have now received a word or two of explanation, so that careful reading of the text can help avoid them.

That's about all of the bad points though. This adventure has some nice features, one being a well described environment which includes some fantasy, fairy tale like locations around an enchanted forest. There are a number of enemies to battle and friends to back you up, ranging from trolls and giants to King Arthur's knights. I wasn't sure what a contemporary outlaw like Jessie James was doing in the forest, but hey: randomness is a regular part of life on Planet Eamon. And, other than a couple of very obvious digressions, the setting stays extremely consistent.

There were a couple of special events to keep things interesting, including one rescue. The rescue is also part of one of the specials and gains you a good reward for your actions.

Though hard to take too seriously given its fairy tale atmosphere, the fantasy setting also makes for an interesting visit. Be prepared for some tough combat though, unless you use Frank's work around (check the HINTS). Fortunately the Eamon Deluxe 5.0 revisions have made this adventure a bit more fun to explore than its previous, more frustrating incarnations.

Beginners Cave II

The intro text for this one pretty much tells you that it's intended as a money maker, which really is its main focus. Although there is a lot of treasure to grab, I actually found this to be the least appealing of the Beginners Adventures. The room descriptions were extremely short and many didn't particularly say much more than the room name with shown exits. "You are in an east/west corridor with an exit to the north" adds little to the already struggling atmosphere of the game. Plus the map is simple to the point of boring, consisting of three long passages off a central hall with rooms along the ends.

There were no specials, not even disguised monsters or surprises. The only items of interest to find were a couple of fairly obvious secret doors. There is, however, a lot of combat interaction involving some rather strange dungeon inhabitants. There is some humour to be had from reading their descriptions (I quite like the idea of a dwarf cyclops).

I'd only recommend this one if you're after lots of quick money, especially enjoy combat or just want to play everything.

Enhanced Beginners Cave

This is obviously a complete clone of the original Beginner's Cave with some rather nice extras added in. The pirate theme gets a little expansion, a couple of extra monsters put in an appearance, and there is a new secret passage to find.

This is a nice, short intro to Eamon with all of the same special effects found in the original Beginner's Cave plus the bonus exploration of the expanded content. Indeed if you only wish to pick one of Beginners Caves to explore, I would recommend this be the one. It has the same lighthearted, adventuring atmosphere that made Donald Brown's original so engaging; a theme that's very much continued in some additional descriptions Frank added to the recent Eamon Deluxe 5.0 revision. (I found examining the cat idol to be quite fun.)

Just like the original Beginner's Cave, this is a good adventure to choose when playing Eamon Deluxe for the first time or if you plan on playing just the one adventure in the Beginners Adventures collection. There is at least a larger area to explore in the Enhanced Cave and, unlike John Nelson's own Beginner's Cave II, the new material and setting adds something to the environment.

The Training Ground

Like the Alternate Beginner's Cave, this got a rather less than enthusiastic review from the Eamon Users Club, yet it is possibly the best adventure in the entire Beginners set. It has a good amount of special effects, interesting descriptions and several fun artifacts to read and examine. This includes several embedded artifacts such as those found in more advanced adventures, which means taking careful observations of your surroundings generally pays off.

Among the specials are a couple of hidden monsters and a (vaguely) secret door to discover. While there is no quest, there are a good amount of fun surprises. Most of these are well done and some are indeed quite strange (in a good way). This marks the first adventure I've played so far that gives the Power spell a good work out too, with one surprising result that can be slightly inconvenient, though not so much so that it spoils the adventure. It's more of a quirky challenge really, and checking the HINTS can avoid a potential panic at a sudden unrequested change to your character.

There is a pamphlet near the entrance that refers to the setting as "The Barrow Downs Training Ground". This appears to be random, however, and I encountered no references to wights or any other undead creatures from Tolkien lore. It seemed to be more of a haunt for brigands and magical creatures instead.

Most of the combat is easy for a beginning character, with one of the harder fights being avoidable, plus you get some nice help from the companions you pick up along the way. One tip: if you run into a fight against multiple enemies alone, you may need to FLEE until you come across some companions to aide you.

Aside from the tough fights, I very much enjoyed this adventure. The room and artifact descriptions were lively and engaging (I particularly liked the descriptions of the three books) as well as the descriptions of the various denizens you encounter. The rewards, in terms of specials and weapons, were very nice and it was overall a very fun dungeon to explore.

Technically this is not for absolute beginning level characters because some of the specials require your character to already know their magic spells a bit. It is mostly scaled towards starting level standards though and is a very nice adventure to use to advance your character and have some fun with the various special effects along the way. I highly recommend trying this one out.

Eamon Deluxe 5.0 Demo Adventure

This is a fairly simple slash and grab adventure scenario for starting level characters, intended as an introduction to the world of Eamon Deluxe. There are, however, a number of very nice points that make the 5.0 Demo Adventure stand out from the other titles in the Beginner Adventures collection.

Firstly, though there is indeed a classic dungeon with treasures, this isn't in fact all that the setting contains. Its entrance and introduction set the scene with you exploring an abandoned building which quickly turns out to be the home of a thief who's gotten himself into trouble with an underground criminal gang which employs brutish monsters as its extra muscle.

While not an original or highly fleshed out plot, this does at least give a little more explanation to what you are doing, and means that the enemies, albeit the usual giants and ogres, have a little more purpose than just random wildlife which got in your way; the treasure was slightly more logically explained as well, rather than just being a natural feature of underground dungeons.

The plot also gives something of a quest feeling to the game even though there aren't any outlined objectives. The quest feeling is compounded in the final showdown (which will be a rather tough battle for beginning level characters) and the fact that you do get to rescue the thief himself. It even has a very nice exit at the end of the dungeon to go back to the Main Hall, rather than the common practice of making you backtrack to the entrance that is found in many other adventures.

Another major factor I enjoyed in this adventure as opposed to the others is the huge range of embedded artifacts. Though there are no puzzles such as passwords, you have to make far more use of the EXAMINE command than in any other title from the Beginner Adventures set. In fact, just about every single piece of furniture mentioned in the room descriptions is examinable, sometimes to your profit, and several monsters are carrying useful artifacts so using the inventory command on them is recommended too.

The adventure isn't entirely stand alone either since, as well as some comical references to popular interactive fiction, there are also references to some other Eamon adventures which those experienced in Eamon gaming will pick up on, while new players will possibly find them a tantalizing hint as to what the rest of Eamon Deluxe has to offer.

Though it is a demo adventure which uses only the power of the basic Eamon Deluxe system itself, the large number of embedded artifacts (those which only show up in the descriptions of other things and not directly until you have examined them) means that players should keep an eye out for objects to EXAMINE, since the game strategically uses these artifacts to create its puzzles without the addition of any special programming. In fact, several points can't even be passed without examining your surroundings carefully.

My only minor criticism is that several artifacts are a little fourth wall breaking, such as a "message" which exists only to test in-game error handling; or mentioning that a certain monster has specific attributes, a certain artifact is of a specific type, etc. But there are very few of these instances when compared to all the other items in the game and this is, after all, a demo adventure for the entire Eamon Deluxe system.

Either way it's certainly worth a visit, and a very fun introduction to Eamon Deluxe 5.0 gaming.