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 Black Dragon

 
   
 
 
Black Dragon

INTRODUCTION

BLACK DRAGON, one of CompuServe's online games, is played in a ten-level
labyrinth/dungeon with each level being a 15 x 15 grid. The object of the
game is to build up a character capable of surviving all ten levels in order
to ultimately confront and defeat Asmodeus who dwells on Level 10. (The
direct access address for BLACK DRAGON is GO GAM-590.)

 When you first start the game, you'll be asked to enter a saved character's
name or to press the  key to create a new character. When you create
a new character, the game randomly rolls three 6-sided dice for six attri-
butes: Endurance, Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Hit Points.
If you roll low stats, answer "N" to roll a new set of stats.  Try to create
a character with at least 16 HPs (Hit Points) and a STR (Strength) of at
least 14. After you've created a satisfactory character, give it a name, and
you're ready to start.

 As the game progresses, your stats will be increased by potions, books, and 
EPs (Experience Points). Note, too, that these stats can just as easily be
decreased by potions and books. Books are purely random as to their benefits 
or detriments; however, potions can be examined to determine whether or not 
they are good. Prudence and caution are advised for reading books; when in 
doubt, DON'T DO IT! Also, never assume that books purchased from vendors are 
safe; they almost never are.

 To help you locate stairways and pits, I've numbered the grids, from left to
right and top to bottom, 1 through 15.  Therefore, the upper left-hand corner
of each level in the labyrinth is 1-1; the lower right-hand corner is 15-15.
The first number given in a coordinate will always be the column; the second 
number will always be the row.

 STRATEGIES FOR SURVIVING LONGER THAN A FEW MINUTES

 On your first ventures into the labyrinth, never stray far from the upstairs
(12-8).  When you leave the labyrinth, your HPs and spells are automatically
restored to their top levels; they're also restored to full when you do a SAVE
within the labyrinth. After battles or encounters with exploding chests, HEAL 
to restore some (or all) of your HPs. (Each HEAL uses one cleric spell.) 

 Experience earned during fights and gold (and gems) taken out of the 
labyrinth all go toward gaining you your next experience level. Gold found and 
spells purchased from the vendor cannot be taken out of the labyrinth; 
however, magic items and arrows found in chests, and stat increases acquired 
from the usage of potions and books remain intact.

 The labyrinth is reset each time you exit, and monsters and items are replen-
ished in random positions. Always explore as much as you can (especially if 
you were lucky enough to have purchased or found a potion of Treasure Finding)
before exiting to gain experience levels faster.

 When you start gaining levels and finding magic items, it's a good idea to
save your character file.  If you're in the labyrinth, type SAVE. This will 
save your current location in the labyrinth and end the game. The next time 
you play, you'll start in the labyrinth where you stopped. If you're outside 
the labyrinth, type QUIT to save your game. When you play again, you'll start 
outside the labyrinth.

 CAUTION: Typing QUIT while inside the labyrinth does NOT save your game!

 There is a special area on CompuServe where files you've created are saved.
To get to this area, type GO FILES. Here, you'll find a menu of commands you
can perform on your files. Select item #7 (COPY a file). When you're asked for
the file name, type DRAGON.DAT (this is the file containing your saved BLACK
DRAGON character file). Next, you'll be asked for the destination file. Call
this file whatever you want, but be sure you use a file extension of .DAT (I
called my destination file WIZZY.DAT).  Doing this little housekeeping chore
insures that your character will keep progressing. Should you die (and you
will!), GO FILES, select item #7, and this time use the file name you copied
your DRAGON.DAT file to previously, and call the destination file DRAGON.DAT.
This restores your character file to where it was when you last saved the 
game. To summarize:

 SAVING THE GAME
 ---------------
   File Name: DRAGON.DAT
   Destination File: NAME.DAT

 RESTORING THE GAME
 ------------------
   File Name: NAME.DAT
   Destination File: DRAGON.DAT

 Continue to explore the labyrinth close to the exit until you have gained a
level of experience. When you've gained two or three levels, venture a bit 
farther away from the exit until you can win all your battles with little or 
no HP loss. Remember to save often! Soon, Level 1 will seem so boring, you'll
be ready to tackle Level 2.

 MOVING AROUND IN THE LABYRINTH

 Travel is accomplished by typing N, S, E, or W to indicate a compass
direction. When you come to a stairway, you'll be told which direction it 
goes and asked if you want to use it. Answer "Y" to use the stairway or "N" 
to bypass it. An accurate map is a MUST in this game. If mapping's not to 
your liking, there is a complete set of maps available in the Gamers' Forum's 
LIBrary 9 (Computer RPGs) under the file name BLKDRG.MAP. Download the file, 
print it out, and keep it handy for your explorations.

 Every now and then, you'll find a room in the labyrinth which is completely
enclosed (e.g., no visible means of entry). Use the PASS magic spell to pass
through the wall. If you've bought (or found) a potion of ASTRAL FORM, this
action won't cost you a magic spell.

 If you should inadvertently stumble into a pit, use the "+" key to return to 
the level you were on when you fell (this action uses two magic and two cleric 
spells). Or, if you don't mind where you'll wind up, cast a TELEPORT spell to 
go to a labyrinth level of your choice; the drawback is that you'll wind up in 
a random spot on that level.

 NOTE: You must have the Wand of Teleportation in order to use the TELEPORT
spell.

 CAUTION! If you're going to use the "+" key, be sure you move over one square 
before going back up to the previous level, or you'll wind up over the same 
pit and fall right back down. 

 Falling into pits will reduce your HPs dramatically, as will the stronger 
monsters just waiting for your poor body to fall down to their waiting fangs 
and talons; I would advise you not to do this too often.

 MONSTERS WHO DO STRANGE THINGS TO YOU

 Oh, sure, there are Elves and Pixies and the odd Doom Dog or two waiting for
you down there. But what other horrors lurk? Well, there's the Vampire Bat 
which picks you up and deposits you elsewhere in the labyrinth (luckily, on 
the same level, but sometimes over a pit). Then, there's the Floating Energy 
Mass which saps your HPs, and if your purse is exceptionally rich, monsters 
run away with all your gold. But the worst of the lot is the Wight. Not only 
does it whittle away at your HPs, it also drains your experience levels. You 
can just about plan on making a trip to restore your saved file when you 
encounter this thing in the early stages of the game.

 If your DEX is high enough, you can try EVADING monsters when you confront
them in the corridors. If you can't evade them, try BRIBEs. If you offer them
enough gold (usually half of what you're carrying), they'll let you off the
hook; otherwise, fighting is just about your only recourse. If your WIS is
high enough, you can try using MAGIC or CLERIC spells: use cleric spells on
undead monsters, spirits, and wights; use magic spells on all other monster
types. Be careful, though: magic spells have a nasty habit of backfiring, but
cleric spells never do. (Note: Successful bribes and evasions do not gain
experience points!) Remember, too, that you can't evade Death.  Fighting seems
to be the best defense against all monster types.

 With the exception of the monsters on lower labyrinth levels, those on the
upper level have an experience level of 1. Level 1 monsters can be found on 
any level, but once you venture down to Level 2, you'll find monsters of every 
level of experience waiting for you. The monster on level 1 with the highest 
number of HPs is the Level 1 Black Dragon. Once you've increased to Level 2 or 
3, you should be able to beat it with little or no HP loss. Black Dragons are 
very important monsters: they usually carry chests containing magic items.

 When you're REALLY strong, you can start fighting Vendors. Be forewarned,
though: Vendors are tough, they can cast magic spells, and they often have as 
many as or more hit points than Asmodeus. Also, if you fight a Vendor, all the 
others you meet on _any_ level of the labyrinth will automatically fight you. 
Their antagonistic attitudes will prevail until you succesfully bribe one; the 
others you meet will trade with you after that. The treasure to be gained from 
Vendor-fighting can be worth the trouble: very strong characters should 
(A)ttack Vendors at the first opportunity.

 POTIONS, BOOKS, CHESTS, AND MAGIC ITEMS

 Earlier, I mentioned being able to tell whether or not a potion was good.
When you buy or find a potion, always (E)xamine it first. This action uses
one cleric spell, but it's worth it. If the spell fails, you can continue to
examine it until you receive an answer. If you use up all your cleric spells
without successfully ascertaining a potion's nature, it's better to (L)eave
the potion than to risk (D)rinking it. When you find a Vendor, if you have 
enough gold, always buy a potion. Eighty-percent of the time, the potion is 
good.

 Never buy books: you'll find them all over the place, and they're almost
never worth spending gold on or reading. If you do decide you're going to read
books, save your character file often: once you've found a book, you can't
save your game or quit until after you've read it, usually with detrimental
decreases of your stats.

 If you're getting low on spells, buy them from the Vendor if you have the
gold. You may find spells and potions in chests, but chests are found infre-
quently just sitting around the hallways (unless you're under the influence of 
a Treasure Finding potion), and are usually hard-won by battling Black 
Dragons. As you gain in levels of experience, though, about 50% of the 
monsters -- not just the Black Dragons -- will be carrying chests, and you'll
find them littering the hallways once you've gone into the lower levels and
returned to the upper levels.

 When you do chance upon a chest, you can (E)xamine it to learn what the chest 
contains for one cleric spell. If you choose not to examine it, (D)isarm
it -- NEVER simply (O)pen it unless the disarm action states the chest is 
not trapped. Sometimes you'll be told you can't open the chest; then, use the 
(P)ry command to open it. 

 Chests can contain tons of gold, gems, potions, books, spells, magic items, 
arrows, and/or other chests. Open chests you find within other chests using 
the method described above. Only chests contain magic items.

 The nature of the magic items you'll find increases in value and helpfulness
as you delve deeper into the labyrinth. On Level 1, expect to find a Helmet
of Defense, a Ring of Protection, and Boots of Levitation.  

 Note: To use the levitation properties of the boots, you MUST turn them on 
using the LEVIT spell. After acquiring the boots, using LEVIT does not require 
a magic or cleric spell; once you have the boots, turn LEVIT on and forget 
about it. When you exit the labyrinth, the boots automatically turn themselves 
off; remember to turn them on again when you reenter. 

 Always SAVE your game as soon as you find a magic item!

 Later in the game, the arrows become extremely important. Try not to use
them until you start exploring Level 6 and lower. Arrows work on all monster
types except Asmodeus.

 MAGIC ITEMS: WHAT THEY BUY YOU

 As mentioned above, the Boots of Levitation aid you in crossing safely over
pits. Sometimes, though, they will fail -- especially on level 3 and lower -- 
and there's nothing you can do about it except be ready for the occurrence by
staying healed or as close to your maximum number of HPs as you can.

 The Wand of Teleportation will allow you to use the TELEPORT spell at no
cost of magic or cleric spells. Teleporting takes you from one labyrinth
level to another and deposits you in a random position. You can also teleport
to a random position on the same labyrinth level. Note that you cannot use
the Wand to exit the labyrinth completely: only the use of the stairways or 
the "+" key will do this.

 CAUTION: The Wand of Teleportation has a limited number of uses. Unless
you have a very strong character who can make it back up to the surface by
climbing stairs without fear of monster attacks, it is best to save the Wand
for teleporting your poor, near-to-dead body out of the lower levels to one
on which you can survive.

 The Staff of Healing is a marvelous gadget! Having one in your possession
allows you to fully heal yourself without using cleric spells. Once it's in
your inventory, when you cast HEAL, you'll be asked whether you want to use
the Staff. If you say "Y," you'll be completely healed up to your full HPs. If 
you say "N," you'll be healed the usual random number of HPs at a cost of one 
cleric spell.

 CAUTION: Do not use the Staff of Healing indiscriminately! It has a limited
number of uses; when it's used up, it vanishes from your inventory.

 The Ring of Invisibility allows you to turn yourself invisible using the
INVIS spell at no cost of magic or cleric spells. Being invisible has its pros
and cons, however. On the plus side, monsters won't see you. The down side is 
that while invisible, you won't find any treasures.

 Note that magic items which have a limited number of uses will be found 
again; so, if your favorite toy disappears, just keep disarming and opening
chests: you'll soon find a replacement. Consequently, items of protection
(such as shields and helmets) will not be found again once you've acquired
them; you'll never have more than one of each magic item in your inventory
at any time.

 In addition to the magic items which give you free use of the magic spells
available in the game, there are protective items which add to your strength,
endurance, and dexterity. Some of these are the Helmet of Defense, Sword of
Sharpness, Armor of Valor, Elven Boots, and Ring of Protection.
 
 ET CETERA

 Type HELP at any time during play to see a list of the valid commands. Most 
commands can be abbreviated to one or two letters; some require additional 
letters to avoid conflicts (INVEN and INVIS are just two of these commands).
Additionally, you can type GUIDE to see a list of the commands available and
what each does.

 Be careful not to type (K)ill: if you answer the response incorrectly, you
will destroy your current character.

 Type DATA (or "D") to see your character's stats. This is useful (and a time
saver) when you bump into a vendor. When you're asked for your response, type
"D" to see how much money you're carrying: there's no sense (T)rading with
the vendor if you haven't got enough gold to buy anything.

 During monster encounters, your command prompt changes to "Fighting:". Valid
responses during battles are (F)ight, (A)rrow, (M)agic, (C)leric, (B)ribe, and
(E)vade. If you try a bribe, you'll be asked how much gold to offer the 
monster. If you don't offer at least half of what you're carrying (sometimes,
more!), the monster simply laughs at you and attacks. If your DEX isn't very
high and you try to evade, the monster will be amused and attack. Fighting and
spell attacks are much more satisfying and successful.

 "F" means you're just bashing away at the monster for all you're worth using
whatever weapon you're carrying. Typing "A" means you're firing an arrow at
the monster (you must have found arrows before this command is available). 

 If you decide to try using a magic or cleric spell against the monster, 
you'll have a choice of four different spells for each spell type at your 
disposal. Using magic gives you a choice of Fireball, Lightning, Plague, and 
ESP. Using cleric gives you a choice of Pray, Dispell, Holy Word, and 
Exorcise.

 LABYRINTH LEVEL DETAILS

 The following paragraphs will give the placement of pits, stairways, enclosed
rooms, blocked areas, and wrap-around walls for the various levels. If you're
not going to do your own mapping, you should print out the maps in the
BLKDRG.MAP file (LIBrary 9, Computer RPGs) and note these locations directly
on the maps. Remember that the coordinates are given in column-row sequence.

 NOTE: You can use the (P)ass spell to move through the perimeter walls to
their opposide sides (e.g., you can (P)ass from the western side to the
eastern side).

 LEVEL 1

 There are two upstairs (12-8 and 2-14) and five downstairs (3-1, 14-3, 9-14,
14-13, and 14-15). There are two pits (5-3 and 8-10) and one enclosed room
(14-14).

 LEVEL 2

 There are five upstairs (3-1, 14-3, 14-13, 9-14, and 14-15) and four 
downstairs (11-2, 10-7, 11-9, and 8-15). There are two pits (7-6 and 14-11)
and one L-shaped enclosed room which encompasses 4-11, 4-12, and 5-12.

 LEVEL 3

 Other than the perimeter, this level has no walls whatsoever. The designer
did, however, place room-dividers where pits and stairways are located. There
are four upstairs (11-2, 10-7, 11-9, and 8-15) and six downstairs (8-1, 6-3,
13-3, 13-6, 2-11, and 6-12). Note that the downstairs located at 13-3 and
13-6 do NOT have a corresponding upstairs on Level 4! 

 The pits are located at 11-1, 4-2, 8-4, 12-4, 2-5, 5-5, 10-5, 6-6, 7-6, 9-6, 
11-6, 2-7, 9-7, 3-9, 4-9, 9-9, 12-9, 14-10, 10-12, 6-13, 5-14, 7-14, and 
11-14 (whew!).

 LEVEL 4

 There are four upstairs (8-1, 6-3, 2-11, and 6-12) and three downstairs
10-4, 8-10, and 8-12). There are no pits at all, and one enclosed room (10-5).

 LEVEL 5

 You'll need to make frequent use of the Pass spell on this level. Make sure 
you have plenty of magic spells before coming down here. The grid is cordoned 
off into four main sections: the largest section covers a rough triangle from
1-1 to 15-11; the next largest is roughly square covering from 1-6 to 10-13;
the last two sections are basically oblong with the first covering from 1-13 
to 7-15, and the latter from 8-14 to 15-12.

 This level also features two wrap-around walls on its east boundary; however,
these are only one way: they'll take you to the west boundary, but you won't
be able to return to the east side using the same method except with the
(P)ass spell.

 There are three upstairs (10-4, 8-10, and 8-12) and twelve downstairs (2-1,
8-2, 8-3, 8-12, 1-5, 5-6, 6-8, 11-10, 2-11, 12-11, 6-13, and 11-14). There are
pits at 8-4, 14-4, 6-11, 15-11, 1-12, 15-12, and 10-15. The two wrap-around
walls are located at 15-11 and 15-12: the one at 15-11 will allow you to
explore the second largest section of the level, while the one at 15-12 takes
you to the enclosed room at 1-12.

 There are four enclosed rooms (10-5, 1-5, 1-12, and 6-14).

 LEVEL 6

 As with Level 5, you'll need to use the Pass spell several times to fully
explore this level. Level 6 is divided into two main sections: the larger
covers the grid from 11-1 on its north left-most edge and down, diagonally, to
1-8; the smaller starts at 1-1 on its north left-most edge, east to 10-2, and
south, diagonally to 1-7. Tucked into these divisions are three enclosed areas
which are a bit larger than "rooms."

 There are twelve upstairs (2-1, 8-2, 8-3, 12-3, 2-5, 5-6, 6-8, 11-10, 2-11,
12-11, 6-13, and 11-14) and three downstairs (13-2, 12-7, and 1-15). There are
pits at 7-2, 4-5, 6-5, and 2-7. The enclosed rooms are at 12-3, 2-4, and 6-14.

 LEVEL 7

 This level has a small and large division. The smaller starts at 11-1 and
runs south and east to 15-11. The rest of the level has a continuous path
with the exception of one enclosed room at 7-4.

 There are three upstairs (13-2, 12-7, and 1-15), three downstairs (2-1, 7-3,
and 4-7), and five pits (8-1, 11-2, 6-7, 7-9, 9-9, and 7-11). Note that some
of the pits have spikes in them waiting to impale you should your Boots of
Levitation fail: Stay healed!

 LEVEL 8

 There are no pits on this level, and two enclosed rooms: the larger is near 
the upper left-hand corner of the grid at 1-2 and runs south to 7-7; the
smaller is in the extreme southeastern corner at 15-15.

 There are three upstairs (2-1, 7-3, and 4-7) and only one downstairs at
12-9. Make sure you have the Wand of Teleport or have sufficient cleric and
magic spells to use the "+" or "-" command: the downstairs is strictly one
way; there are NO upstairs on Level 9!

 LEVEL 9

 As mentioned, there are no stairways leading up to Level 8, so you'll need
to use other means to return to the surface if you have to.

 There are four downstairs (9-5, 3-9, 11-11, and 11-12) and four pits (14-6,
2-11, 7-12, and 13-12). There are three small enclosed rooms at 8-5, 12-15,
and 15-15. The downstairs at 9-5 has no corresponding upstairs on Level 10.

 LEVEL 10

 This is the final level in BLACK DRAGON. Here, you will confront Asmodeus
and vanquish him (hopefully).

 There are no pits or downstairs on this level. There are three upstairs (3-9,
11-11, and 11-12), two enclosed rooms (3-3 and 9-5), and Asmodeus is located 
at 4-12.

 Before confronting Asmodeus, your character should have at least 400 HPs. 
Asmodeus throws fireballs at you which can levy from 90 to 125 HPs damage. The 
magic arrows do NOT work against him, but a cleric Exorcise spell appears to 
keep him from hitting you every time, and it will inflict damage on him.
Fighting also works, and remember that magic spells can backfire and inflict
damage on you both.

 Good luck!

 After you've killed Asmodeus, fight your way back to the surface (yes, the
monsters will still be willing to hinder your escape) to earn your final
reward, and to read your name with pride in the Hall of Fame!

 BLACK DRAGON is from Bob Maples, licensed to CompuServe Information
Services.

 This walkthru is copyright (c) 1992 by Barbara Baser. All rights reserved.
Not to be distributed without permission.

 

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