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Dorgath

Difference Between Avenum, Avadon, and Geneforge

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I've only played the Avernum series but GOG is having a sale so am wondering if there's any difference between the game series? Aside from setting?  I mean, the only thing I can really think of something like Baldur's Gate was single hero and you found companions while in Icewind Dale you get to create the whole party, but I get the impression that Avadon and Genefore are all still party games? So are there any differences at all?

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Well, based on what I know (I've never bought GeneForge, but I have played some demos; also, when you refer to the Avernum series, are you talking about the old 1st trilogy, the 2nd trilogy, or the new 1st trilogy?):

 

1) Avernum is 100% turn-based, but Avadon and Geneforge are both real-action outside of combat.

2) In general, Geneforge is NOT party based; that said, you can create permanent creations if you want.

3) In Avadon, all abilities have cooldowns preventing you from using the same abilities each turn. (There is also a fatigue cost which works like spell points in Avernum, but in general, you use way less of it in Avadon 1 and Avadon 2 while you auto-regenerate fatigue in Avadon 3.)

4) Avadon's stat system is class-based. (Geneforge employs a semi-class-based system by adjusting skill costs.)

5) Unlike Avernum and Geneforge where you can allocate points in abilities at the start, in Avadon, the only decision you make at the start is your main character's class.

6) Avadon has a much more linear plotline compared to the more open-ended nature of Avernum 1 and 2.

7) Unlike Avernum, moral and ethical choices appear in Avadon and Geneforge (a lot more so in Geneforge.)

 

That probably covers some of the major differences. That said, the Avadon series is great, so I would suggest purchasing it. Geneforge is probably good as well.

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It's very much not like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale — those both use Dungeons and Dragons rules, take place in the Forgotten Realms setting, etc. Avernum, Avadon, and Geneforge have similar graphics and user interfaces (including similar dialogue systems) but are otherwise almost entirely different. They have different rules/game mechanics (other than generally having turn-based combat), different settings and characters, etc.

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Here's another view:

 

On the surface -- in terms of graphics and UI -- the games look quite similar.

 

Characters and skills available vary more from game to game.  Avernum gives you a party of 4 classless characters whose skills you can develop as you wish, and varies least from the "traditional RPG" formula.  Avadon lets you swap characters of 5 different classes in and out of a party of 3.  Geneforge gives you one full PC plus the option to create (and recreate) minions (without custom skills or inventory) as you go.

 

Underlying game mechanics have a huge amount of overlap in all three series.  Turn-based combat is definitely not the only thing they have in common when it comes to rules and game mechanics.

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I didn't mean the Spiderweb games are like Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale; I was just using them as an example of a totally separate game series but although both are rooted in D&D, the type of party is one of the main differences of the game.

 

1) Avernum is 100% turn-based, but Avadon and Geneforge are both real-action outside of combat.

 

I'm interested in this statement.  This sounds to me like BG and IWD, where if you don't press the Pause button, time flows (outside of combat) so day turns to night turns to day if you just leave it running.  Is that what you mean here for Avadon and Geneforge?

 

Thanks for everyone's answers!

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51 minutes ago, Dorgath said:

I'm interested in this statement.  This sounds to me like BG and IWD, where if you don't press the Pause button, time flows (outside of combat) so day turns to night turns to day if you just leave it running.  Is that what you mean here for Avadon and Geneforge?

 

 

Thanks for everyone's answers!

There's no actual day-night cycle in Avadon or Geneforge, but NPCs will walk around on their own in real time outside of combat. You can check out the free demos and see for yourself if you want a clearer idea.

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2 hours ago, Dorgath said:

I didn't mean the Spiderweb games are like Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale; I was just using them as an example of a totally separate game series but although both are rooted in D&D, the type of party is one of the main differences of the game.

I didn't interpret you to mean that, either. I thought that you meant that the difference between Avernum/Geneforge/Avadon is like the difference between Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale — which it's not. BG and IWD (at least IWD 1) have a lot more in common with each other than the Spidweb series have in common with each other. (I think Slarty's description of "huge" overlap is overstated, but, eh, differences in opinion I guess.)

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They all use the same combat formulas, including to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and effect resistance rolls.  They all have the same basic 4 stats that every entity possesses (even though full PC skills vary from series to series) and those stats are used in identical ways.  And while active abilities "vary", they all use a nearly identical basic chassis for them -- scaling with the same stats and parallel skills, using the same targeting rules, the same potential areas of effect, the same elements, ancillary effects, etc.  Armor and resistance mechanics are identical.  Mechanics surrounding the gain and loss of status effects are identical (and most status effects are identical, too).  Enemy stats scale in the same way.  Default enemy AI is identical.  Pathfinding is (ugh) largely the same.  The movement and AP systems overlap significantly (despite some differences).  Where things are different, if you look chronologically, you can see that changes were often made to all series at the same point.  For example, the Haste and +1 AP item mechanics changed in the same way for Geneforge and Avernum at the same point in time.  I could keep going...

 

(I should clarify here that I'm only considering the most recent versions of the six Avernum games -- not the old first trilogy, which has much less overlap (including with the other Avernum games).)

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A lot has been said about the gameplay, so I'll focus more on the story structure and world.

 

Avernum is a fairly open world, especially 1 through 3 (the second trilogy tends to be more linear than the first, but with 6 ending the series somewhere in between). They're huge games with tons of dungeons and stuff to do, and they take place mostly underground besides 3. The stories are often straightforwardly good guys vs bad (with some nuances at times), but the strength of the writing is in the worldbuilding - the underground world is unique, atmospheric, and rich in detail.

 

Geneforge has a complex world built on genetic engineering, which creates a lot of ethical problems. There's lots of different factions, tangled politics, and moral ambiguity. You have lots of meaningful choices that can completely change the outcome of the story.

 

Avadon is the one I am least familiar with. It is the most like a contemporary western RPG and has the most traditional fantasy world of Spiderweb's games. It's fairly linear with some choice, though not as much as Geneforge. You play as an enforcer for a pretty shady empire and there is some ambiguity and complexity to the different countries and factions - but again, not as much as Geneforge (since I'm not too familiar with Avadon, mostly going off what I've heard from others).

 

Also Nethergate should be mentioned. It takes place in a mythic/faerie Roman Britain. You can play the game as either Romans or Celts. The two-faction system is pretty unique. You'll follow the storyline from opposite perspectives - like enemy NPCs as one faction will be allies in another, or a big Roman town might be a dungeon for the Celts.

Edited by Jawaj

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9 hours ago, Ghosts out of my sight said:

They all use the same combat formulas, including to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and effect resistance rolls.  They all have the same basic 4 stats that every entity possesses (even though full PC skills vary from series to series) and those stats are used in identical ways.

 

There are significant exceptions to this. For example, Intelligence and Endurance in Geneforge have a multiplicative effect on your spell energy and health respectively, whereas in the new Avernum trilogy they have an additive effect.

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The game mechanics are recognizably from the mind of the same designer, who has certain formulas he overall likes and styles of abilities. Even particular stats often recur, though with some variation in what, exactly, they do mechanically. The games themselves play somewhat differently because of the central differences in what your party is (several classless PCs, one PC with entourage, or several classed PCs).

 

—Alorael, who still says overall, holistically, the games are more similar than they are different. By memory, picking up Geneforge after having played Avernum 1-3, or Avadon after having played Avernum and Geneforge, seemed much easier than picking up an entirely new game with unfamiliar style.

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Thanks everyone!

 

I think I have a better idea of what Avadon and Geneforge are about thanks to everyone's input.  Obviously yes, playing the demo is the best way to find out but I don't have a lot of time (as a sidenote, I actually am in the middle of Avernum 6, have Crystal Souls on hold, and switched to Icewind Dale 2 and finished the first chapter) so I just wanted to get a feel of what I should try/buy first :)

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