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Comparing Avernum 1 with the remake AEFTP

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If you like Geneforge the Avernum 1 remake should be right for you. I call it GA1, Geneforge Avernum 1 because it uses Geneforge 5 graphics and it is very simplified in some areas like food, rest and identification of items. Jeff altered the style of the game in ways that are good and bad. At least he kept the outdoor zones.

I think it is quite good and well worth playing but if you are coming straight from A1 some of the changes could be unwelcome to you:

No exploration spells like Light, Unlock Door or Far Sight.

Can't cast spells while wandering outdoors?! In that case, don't end outdoor combat until everyone has been healed.


Daze is helpful in beginning battles, you may find yourself swarmed by enemies.


You can't increase some skills till you increase others before them, the hierarchy of skills sounds like bad news but it is okay in practice.

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Personally I prefer A1 to EftP because the latter feels more gamey and the former has things the latter doesn't. Sure, the former lacks things like a map, scrolling the screen, and a quest log, but the change in movement removes some things that really helped it stand out. The loss of Guardians and Black Shades removes one of the more interesting (occasionally frustrating but interesting) enemies you fought, and the change to how Secret Doors work made it less rewarding to find them.

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the change to how Secret Doors work made it less rewarding to find them.


You really preferred beating your head systematically against every wall in the dungeon? To me, looking for secret switches felt more like actually searching, rather than just mechanically following a procedure.


I mean, you're not the only person to prefer to the old-style secret doors, it's just kinda baffling to me.

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Well, the other strategy for the old style secret doors was to look for areas on the map that had a suspicious lack of anything in them. That *did* feel like searching. There was no need to bash into every wall everywhere.

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You can't use items outdoors?! What does Jeff have against the outdoors?

One of the uses of the Orb of Thralni is using it to cross a river that is in your way, I think I read someplace that Jeff made flight over water impossible so you don't drown.


You can still fly across water, it's just that flight works differently in EftP. You use the orb, click on your destination and go directly there. You can select a destination that would otherwise be obstructed by water or lava between you and the target location, but you can't actually select a destination that's in water or lava. If the destination is too far away or otherwise unreachable, the attempt to fly will just fail and you'll stay where you were.

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It could be worse, PCs could be required to have a permission note from their mothers before they use the Orb.


At least in the outdoors you have First Aid after finishing a battle.

All skills are flat-rate, that is good for acquiring levels in the Priest/Mage Spell skills. Cave Lore is not cheap the way it was in A1.

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Coming from Avernum 1, the remake sure does look different. The people and the terrain is still familiar. But the game is different, Jeff tried to make it a real remake.

GA1 is simplified in the area of missiles, resting, food and identification of items.

Bowdlerized or Geneforge-ized in certain areas: no shock floors, no swamp floor, no Safe Travel...

If there are no life drain attacks that is good for the PCs.

If there are no Recall Crystals, you could find yourself being pursued by a group that you can't handle. You can use them from anywhere at all.

Spell levels don't seem to mean all that much. In A1 the levels meant a lot for some spells, but not all of them.

Press that 'U' key in every room, it reveals all objects of interest, (containers, buttons and so forth) including the ones that you just missed.

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Hierarchy of skills complicates things in that regard. To get all the Disciplines you must have high Sword/Pole Weapons skill, which cuts into the points left for higher skills.

Resistance was not a trainable skill in A1, here it is a magical skill, not helpful for front-line fighters. To get 1 point in

Resistance you must spend 2 points on lesser magical skills.

Mages should find the Swordmage trait deals with the effects of encumbering armor or shields.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You don't need too much Cave Lore or Arcane Lore. For the latter you have the Sage Lore trait.


Some collated data on the spells.


Mage Spells

Cost, Lvl, Name, Effects

1, 1, Bolt of Fire, Strikes one foe for a small amount of fire damage.

6, 1, Call Beast, Summons a single beast to aid you in combat.

12, 2, Cloak of Curses, Gives your group's attacks a chance of putting a random curse on the target. You can only have one Cloak at once.

8, 2, Daze, Confuses all nearby enemies. They will have a chance of not being able to move or attack for a short time.

8, 3, Haste, Enables the recipient to perform more actions in combat for a short time.

10, 4, Slow, Slows nearby enemies, causing them to occasionally miss a round in combat.

10, 5, Icy Rain, Strikes all foes in a small area with a damaging rain of ice.

8, 6, Spray Acid, Covers target with a large, magically-summoned globule of corrosive slime, which damages it over time.

30, 6, Cloak of Bolts, Makes your group's missile weapons do more damage. You can only have one Cloak at once.

15, 7, Minor Summon, Summons a creature to aid you in battle.

10, 8, Lightning Spray, This spell sprays lightning at several foes, doing considerable damage.

10, 9, Blink, Ensnares all nearby foes and teleports you to a new location.

40, 10, Cloak of Blades, Makes your group's melee attacks do more damage. You can only have one Cloak at once.

30, 11, Dispel Barrier, Has a chance of destroying all nearby magical barriers.

25, 12, Summon Aid, Summons a powerful creature to aid you.

30, 13, Howl of Terror, Terrifies all nearby foes, causing them to flee from battle.

30, 14, Fireblast, Strikes all foes in a small area with a powerful rain of fire.

35, 15, Arcane Summon, Summons one huge, dangerous creature to fight for you.

70, 16, Cloak of the Arcane, Makes your group's spells more effective. You can only have one Cloak at once.

40, 17, Arcane Blow, Strikes all foes in a cone-shaped area with an intense magical blow.


Priest Spells

Cost, Lvl, Name, Effects

3, 1, Minor Heal, Heals some of the damage inflicted on one character.

2, 1, Curing, This spell cures one or more of the non-mental hostile effects (like poison and acid) afflicting the target.

4, 1, Smite, Calls down wrath upon one of your foes, inflicting a magical blow.

4, 2, Protection, Shields nearby allies. Enemy blows have a lower chance of hitting and will do less damage.

6, 3, War Blessing, Blesses nearby allies, enabling them to hit more often and do more damage in combat.

8, 4, Call Storm, Calls forth an icy wind, freezing your foes and knocking them back.

10, 5, Summon Shade, Summons a shade to fight for you.

25, 5, Ward of Thoughts, Gives your group an extra chance of resisting mental attacks. You can only have one Ward at once.

8, 6, Unshackle Mind, Cures those in your party who have been charmed, dazed, or terrified.

12, 7, Heal, Heals much of the damage inflicted on one character.

18, 8, Mass Healing, This spell functions exactly the same as Heal but benefits all nearby allies.

15, 8, Mass Curing, This spell is the same as Curing but benefits all nearby allies.

40, 9, Ward of Steel, Gives your group resistance to physical attacks and acid. You can only have one Ward at once.

30, 10, Divine Fire, Creates a deadly cloud of fire, affecting all foes in a small circle.

20, 11, Domination, Clouds the mind of the target, potentially causing it to fight on your side.

75, 12, Ward of Elements, Gives your group resistance to magical attacks. You can only have one Ward at once.

75, 13, Return Life, You can use this spell to restore the life to your fallen comrades (instead of having to return to town).

40, 15, Divine Retribution, Calls down a cloud of holy power, searing all nearby foes.

40, 16, Divine Restoration, Heals damage and cures or reduces all negative effects for all nearby allies.

50, 17, Divine Host, This awesome spell summons a powerful shade, who will fight to protect you from your foes.


Cost = amount of spell points required to cast this spell.

Lvl = level in Mage Spells or Priest Spells that you must attain before you can cast this spell.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Beginning is different for a Custom character, you can only attain a maximum of 3 in Mage Spells, and you only gain the first four spells, even though you would be entitled to the fifth spell on the basis of your level 3 in Mage Spells. Ditto Priest spells.

Thus you can't start the game knowing Icy Rain, the GA1 equivalent of A1 Ice Lances.


Intelligence does increase spell energy but the increase is not as huge as all that. Ditto, Endurance does increase health but the increase is not so huge again.

No Safe Travel spell exists, hence you can never cross lava outdoors, unless you get the Orb of Thralni. Indoors, you can never cross lava unless there is a bridge available.

First Aid is very useful in GA1, restoring both spell energy and health. You won't normally need to use Energy Potions or Elixirs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dumbfounding was fun, give your front two guys some levels in Priest or Mage spells, the monsters would blaze away at them with dumbfounding rays. Meanwhile the two spellcasters would usually escape dumbfounding.


If your front rank guys have three levels in Mage spells, one of them can Haste the party. It is not likely that in one move they will destroy a dangerous monster. This frees up the spellcasters for serious damage/healing spellcasting.

My approach: spellcasters major in their chosen field, Mage or Priest, then they minor in the other spellbook. If one spellcaster is terrified or dumbfounded, the other can heal them.

A Priest will have access to Icy Rain, just the thing to finish off a group of badly wounded foes. It will cost only a third of what Divine Fire costs.

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I think it's better since characters aren't one trick ponies, and there's no single strongest build or party to use, resulting in more experimentation and diversity in parties and character builds. The higher level plus knowledge potions mean that there are variable numbers of skill points so that a fixed build really doesn't mean anything. I'll still go back to A1-3 to try something new every once in awhile. While after only two games of A:EftP, I feel like I've played everything there is to try.

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry, I know this is an old topic but I decided it is better to add comments on this topic.


First of all, some say AV1 wall bumping had some problem but I'd say no, it didn't have a single problem in AV1, and it blended into AV1 perfectly well. It does seem to cause problems in later Avernum series; I'm playing AV2 and I get Far Sight too late, and there are places that can be not revisted so in the early game I had to bump into walls consistently, which was really not fun, I agree. However, in AV1 you get Far Sight fairly quickly and IIRC you can even start with Far Sight. No, actually I didn't even have to mention this since in my first playthrough I got Far Sight quite late, and when I got it I was SSOOOOOO enthrilled about places that I might have possibly not discovered yet and returning back to places all over the world to find hidden things was such a memorable adventure. Not to mention most of the hidden walls had some clues on it and I found some of them accidentally :) what an adventurous feeling it was... I still cannot forget it.


Secondly, indeed the increasing marginal cost of stats let players to diversify EACH character, which is rarely seen in most games. Usually the end optimization in many games tend to be something like 2 warriors, 1 magician, 1 priest yadayada.. but no, in AV1 the increasing MC is so high that you'd better make each character capable of casting some magic/priest spells and fighting at the same time, and the intensity of diversification itself brings a huge possible combinations. Actually, my end optimization is currently with 4 characters each of whom is capable of casting LV 18 priest spells and LV 6 mage spells.


Third, apart from the usefulness of using spells and items outdoors (not even discussing the impact of Safe Travel and Far Sight brought to the original game), disabling them is IMO just not a good idea. It just limits possible actions one can take. Buying a lizard meat from an outside vendor and eating it - however it might sound not 'optimal' game-wisely - is one's freedom and it itself brings numerous additional ways to enjoy the game and in some cases even strategic implications. See, some good aspects of a game need not to be directly related to the winning of the game; interaction with other objects - however it might seem pointless and even silly - is one of the prime factors contributing to fun of the game (say, as in Deus Ex). Moreover, in AV1 sometimes more than 2 groups of enemies followed you so in case you didn't heal your party fully in the previous battle casting spells or drinking a potion outside were actually useful to me.

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I just gave it a try with the recent remake as a demo version today, and I'd say it looks great at least on a first glance! Especially compared to AV1, it indeed looks amazing, I like it. I cannot comment much now since I didn't play it much, but combining all the comments above though, some changes seem questionable (no items/spells on outdoors...) and optimization seems to have become rather linear unfortunately :( but if one regard it as a different game (or as a 'modded' one) I think the game brings enough fun to old AV1 gamers.


Things I additionally noticed in the remake (but not 100% sure though; give me a feedback if I'm wrong!):

- I cannot move barrels anymore; my characters just go around of it. Less interaction now.

- Animation is good enough, but I miss the speedy battle with ching-chang sword sounds.

- When an enemy next to me is trying to move out of the close range, it got a counterattack in AV1. It does not in the remake.

- In a battle, clicking an enemy will make the character to go close to it and hit it. Same with magic. Very useful.

- Whenever I'm close to an enemy, I'm forced to be in a battle mode. Can be useful, but now it seems impossible to retain the normal travelling mode and attack the enemy with the front character.

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All of those are correct. I sort of miss being able to move barrels, but not much. The slowing penalty for moving away seems enough to me. I am very glad to no longer have to deal with the tight corridors with only my lead character being able to attack and if the greater maneuverability has caused the loss of the ability to attack in travel mode, I am all for it.

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I heard some people complaining that in AV2 remake, empire archers keep running away casting immobilization(bind?) which makes the game so annoying. Actually, I also found that archers were a bit more annoying in AV1 remake since in the original AV1 once you get close to them they take damage when they try to get out of the close range. Same logic applies to you as well, so you couldn't just keep casting spells and run away when enemies have a lot of APs and got close to you. But yeah, it was a bit harsh though :D and brought more tension to each battle since you cannot just simply back off when one of your character is in low HP.


I am very glad to no longer have to deal with the tight corridors with only my lead character being able to attack


You mean there is no tight corridor in AV1 remake, right?

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  • 1 year later...

I bought the remake on Steam and started to play. I was enjoying it. Then I thought I may as well check out the originals as well. Loaded up the Avernum 1 and have not returned to the newer one.


As someone pointed out earlier, the older game feels more immersive to me and more of an adventure.


I like the tight corridors. It makes the fighting more tactical.

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well if you count exiles then 3rd remake series and 2nd trilogy (which won't be remade somewhat likely) continues (partially) where 1st trilogy ended.

well if you count exiles then 3rd remake series and 2nd trilogy (which won't be remade somewhat likely) continues (partially) where 1st trilogy ended.


OK: the next newest from 1 would be "Escape from the Pit", then. That should be what I try.

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