Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989)

To quote NYC Krishna hardcore band, Shelter: “Here we go again.”

The sequel to SSI’s inaugural gold box game, Pool of Radiance, was 1989’s Curse of the Azure Bonds. That game is also the sequel to Jeff Grubb’s novel, Azure Bonds (1988) which introduces Alias, the amnesiac swordswoman. This tabletop product is…I don’t honestly know. I didn’t play the Azure Bonds computer game so I am relying on online summaries, but I did read the novel, and so all three are muddled together in my head. The cover says the adventure is based on the novel. And the back copy says the videogame is coming soon. So I think this is the middle of the three products. The adventure sure feels videogamey, though less constrained than Pool of Radiance. The maps have more variety in shape, and they aren’t all strung together—there is a lot of traveling going on.

Lotta early Forgotten Realms lore going on. I kinda forgot how big a deal Alias and her saurial paladin sidekick Dragonbait were. A lot of stuff that I think of as so strongly characterizing the first era of Forgotten Realms is pretty fresh and new here—Zhentil Keep, Fzoul, Myth Drannor, even Elminster! I often think the Realms are boring, and I think that is actually true, 90% of the time, but this little slice of it is so full of promise, I can’t help but dig it. It’s weird that it seems to belong more to a videogame than the RPG setting though.

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