|C� |5Fun 'N Games|C � ^1 Dark Designs I |C � |5Fun 'N Games|C �
The past year has been a frightening time for the people of the
borderlands. A mysterious warlord has appeared from nowhere and begun massing
an army amidst the mountains of the north and destroying everything in his
path. The army is backed by a large number of otherplanar creatures: demons,
devils, and chaos avatars reinforce his more mundane goblin troops. They pour
out of Mount Delkeina, an ancient holy mountain, to replace any troops lost by
the warlord. The major nations are squabbling amongst themselves and refuse
to acknowledge the threat, so the borderland's only defense is its stock of
^1IN DARK DESIGNS I: GRELMINAR'S STAFF^0
The warlord's reinforcements must be cut off before anything else can be
done. The gate the monsters are pouring through must be closed.
Unfortunately, the only one with the power to do this passed away several
years ago. The great wizard Grelminar's castle has decayed to a ruin. It is
populated by several bands of evil creatures who use it as a base for raiding,
and by other beings who have been magically caged by the wizard. You must
retrieve Grelminar's staff, which holds the power to close rifts in the
continuum. It should lie in his private laboratory on the third floor of the
castle, but getting it will not be easy.
^1HOW TO PLAY DARK DESIGNS^0
Dark Designs is a role-playing game in which you lead a party of four
characters through a ruined castle. Since the castle is inhabited by many
vicious evil monsters, you will be called upon to vanquish these creatures of
chaos. You will gain riches and build up your experience, exploring the secret
places in the castle, until you finally reach the Staff of Grelminar. Once
you find it, you must return to the town of Taprobale!
When you run Dark Designs, you'll see a title screen. If you want to start
with a completely fresh dungeon, press Control-R at this point. BUT DON'T DO
THIS! When you first get this disk, you will not need to press Control-R,
because we have four pre-made characters for you.
^1WARNING!^0 If you press Control-R, all characters that haven't completed
the quest for Grelminar's staff will be erased. This includes our pre-made
After the game is finished "Loading data," you will see a growing/shrinking
box. Every time you see this, it means the game is waiting for you to press a
key. After you press a key at the title screen, you will find yourself in the
town of Taprobale, or, as we computer folks call it, the Main Menu.
Before we get into all the things you can do in town, let's see what
happens if we use the pre-made characters and enter Grelminar's Castle. Press
"G" (or click on the letter G) and you will go to the castle.
You will now see a different screen. Here's a description of each
important area of the screen:
Adventurer's View: in the upper left corner is a representation of what the
group is seeing. Ahead of you is the entrance to the castle. This window
will also display the two parties in a combat situation, or characters when
you choose to examine them.
Auto-Map: in the upper right, you will see a window with a small arrow in
it. That arrow is your party, and the direction it points is the direction
you are facing. In almost all games, you must do this tedious mapping
yourself. In Dark Designs, you can see where you have been, so you can figure
out where you need to go. A square will be colored in if you have not
explored it yet. A small colored square means there is something special
there. Mind you, "special" and "good" do not mean the same thing.
Message Window: across the center of the screen is the Message Window. Here
you will see a description of the area you are walking through. When you are
in combat, your options and the battle description will be shown in this
Character Status Window: this window displays the current characters in
your party. Here's a description of the information presented on each line:
Number: the numbers 1-4 are used as a quick shorthand for each character.
More on that later.
^1Name:^0 your character's name.
^1Body:^0 this is a representation of how healthy each character is. The first
number is how many "body points" your character has. The second is the maximum
your character would have at the peak of health. So, if you get hit by a
monster, some of your body points will go away. If you go below zero, you will
be knocked out. If you go way below zero, you will be dead. Healing (by a
priest or in town) will raise your body points. You must pay careful
attention to these, as a character can get hurt quickly in a fight, and
resurrection is expensive. In many fights, your priest will spend all his or
her time healing people rather than fighting. If your body points go below
half, your current points will be highlighted, if you go below ten points,
both your current and maximum points will be highlighted.
^1Status:^0 this is what state each character is in. You can be "fine,"
"KO" (knocked out), "Dead," and a few other states you'll find out about.
^1Magic:^0 this is much like body points, but it is magic points. You can
see how many magic points you have, and how many you have at maximum strength.
Watch these carefully, too, as getting stuck in a bad area with no healing or
no offensive spell ability is a desperate situation. Magic points are
restored when you return to town, as it is assumed you have rested.
^1Class:^0 this shows what class each character is--fighter, priest, or
wizard. A fighter is the master at arms, whose superior strength, hardy
constitution, and good dexterity give him or her the ability to stand the
brunt of the onslaught and face the monsters "mano a mano." (hand to hand)
They can use all weapons and armor. A priest is a holy person that has taken
to adventuring to vanquish the world of evil. Not content to sit at home and
pray, he or she is determined to fight chaos on its own turns. Priests are
also healers. Their beliefs prevent them from using pointed weapons, and they
cannot wear armor that is too restrictive, for casting their spells requires
movement. Certain items may only be used by priests. Wizards have studied the
arcane arts and have learned the magic of offense, of conjuring fires from
nothingness. They can attack beings that mere weapons cannot touch. They
also cannot wear very good armor at all, as the magic comes from them, and
they need mobility to perform the spells. Certain items may be usable only by
Let's walk around a bit. Press the up-arrow key SIX times. This will move
you forward six times, and put you before the gate of the castle. If you go
forward once more, you'll go through the door and have an encounter! This
means some monsters have attacked your party, and it is time to fight or flee!
^1YOUR FIRST FIGHT^0
You will have the option to fight or run. If you run, you may not get
away! Let's try to fight these monsters. Press F at the "Fight/Run" prompt
Now you will be able to choose the actions of each member of your party.
Attack will allow any player in the front rank to attack any character in the
monsters' front rank. There are other options, but for now, press A. All the
monsters will have letters appear on them. This allows you to choose which
monster to attack. Press "A" to attack monster A.
You will now get to choose actions for the second fighter. Press A, then
B, to attack monster B.
Since the priest is in the back row, he cannot attack. Press F to move
forward, up to the front rank.
The wizard may cast a spell. If you press S, you may choose which spell. A
"Magic Missile" spell will shoot an energy missile at one of the monsters.
Press A, then C, to shoot at monster C.
Now you may go back (press ESC), or press RETURN to see how the battle
goes. Press RETURN.
After viewing that round, you will need to fight again. Do everything the
same this time, except you'll probably want the priest to Fight the closest
monster in front of him. Continue to do this until the fight is over.
It is very unlikely that your party is dead now, so you'll see "The party
is victorious!" You will also receive any booty the monsters had. Sometimes
the monsters will have special items that you will need. Press a key.
Your characters are probably damaged. To heal them, press "3" to examine
your priest. (The numbers 1-4 let you look at each of the four characters in
your party.) Now type "S" for Spells. You will want to cast "Cure Light
Wounds." Press "A" to choose that spell. Now press the number of a character
that does not have their maximum body points. You'll be told how much they are
healed. You may keep healing as long as your cleric has spell points. Press
ESC when you are done.
Now turn around (press the down arrow), and walk out of the castle, and off
the map (press the up-arrow key eight times). You will go back to Taprobale
(Main Menu). Let's see what else we may do with our characters here.
^1WHAT YOU CAN DO AT THE MAIN MENU^0
Now you will be at the Main Menu. Here are your choices:
Press the numbers 1-4 to look at each of the characters. If there are no
characters in the party on the bottom of the screen, you cannot look at them,
On the left are your character's five attributes. Certain magic spells or
items can alter your attributes.
On the right are your "Level," Experience Points (Exp), the Next Level's
Experience Points (Next--once you reach this, you gain a level which means you
get more Body Points and Spell Points), and how many Gold Pieces (Gold) you
At this point, you can look at either Items or Spells. In Spells, you can
cast your spells. Some only work in combat.
Spell A costs you one magic point. Spell H costs you eight.
In Items, you can Use items, Trade items, Drop items, and Ready weapons and
armor. You can only ready one of each type of most items: one ring, one type
of armor, and so on. However, you can have a large and small weapon, or a
weapon and a shield, or a two-handed weapon. If you make a new character, buy
them equipment, then ready that equipment here.
^1A)dd a character^0
Here you may add a character to the current party if there are not four
adventurers in it. Once you learn how to create characters, you may add them
to your new party with this option. You will usually want two fighters, a
priest, and a wizard.
^1R)emove a character^0
This takes a character out of your current party. To get him or her back
in, simply Add them.
^1C)reate a character^0
Here is the first tricky bit. You may create up to twenty new and
different characters in Dark Designs, enough for five parties of adventurers.
To create a character, press C. Now you will be presented with a screen
containing five attributes, and five numbers to be placed next to the
These attributes are as follows:
^1ATTRIBUTE: WHAT IT MEANS IN THE GAME^0
Strength - determines how much damage is done by your blows,
good for fighters and priests
Dexterity - determines who goes first in combat,
important for dodging blows
Constitution - determines hit points,
for resisting some magic spells
Intelligence - determines wizard magic points,
for resisting some magic spells
Piety - determines priest magic points,
how well healing spells heal you
The object is to put the attribute numbers where they would best suit the
character you are trying to make. To make a fighter, put the highest numbers
in Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Piety, and Intelligence--in that order.
To place the numbers, use the arrow keys to move up and down the attribute
list. Press RETURN to put the number at the attribute it is next to. If there
is a number already assigned to that attribute, the numbers will switch
positions, and you will be able to place that number somewhere else.
If the numbers are all very low when you start, press "R" to re-roll the
numbers. Keep pressing "R" until at least one of your attributes is 17 or
above, and put that in the most important attribute for the character you are
trying to create (Fighter, strength; Priest, piety; Wizard, intelligence).
Once you are done, you get to choose what type of character you want:
Fighter, Wizard, or Priest.
Now give him or her a name, and they are ready in the player roster, ready
to be Added to your party. However, you'll have to buy equipment (Equipment
shop) and ready that equipment (press the character's number, then "I" for
items, then "R" for ready) before you wander the castle with them!
^1D)elete a character^0
This will permanently delete a character from your disk. I did say
PERMANENTLY, and I meant it. This character will be toast.
^1H)eal at temple^0
If your cleric has few spells points or if you find yourself with far too
much gold, go here to heal everybody. Once you are more powerful, you can go
in the castle, heal everyone, go back out to get your spell points back, go
into the castle.
Here is where you buy and sell all your stuff. You'll need to equip new
characters before they journey into the castle, unless, of course, you'd like
them all to die in the first room. YOU MUST READY EQUIPMENT THAT YOU BUY. New
possessions are not automatically equipped.
Here is where wizards and clerics learn all the spells of their craft. You
pay gold, you get smart.
Enter the castle, and search for Grelminar's Staff!
^1Q)uit and save^0
This will save the game, then ask you if you want to quit or keep playing.
^1INSIDE THE CASTLE^0
To walk around, use the arrows or IJKL cluster (I=up, K=turn around,
J=left, L=right). Press S to search for secret doors on the wall you are
facing. Pressing Control-S will toggle the sound on and off. Press Q to quit
the game, and 1-4 to inspect the characters.
When you see a group of monsters, you can either Fight or Run away. If you
try to run, they have a chance to get a free attack on you.
Each character can perform one action each combat round. Attack will allow
any character in the front player rank to attack any character in the front
monster rank. If two weapons are used, both will attack the same monster.
Ex(c)hange weapons allows you to change the items you have readied in your
left and right hands. It does not take the entire round, so you can still
attack after you exchange weapons. (F)orward and (B)ack allow your characters
to move up to the front rank or to fall back. Characters in the rear cannot
be physically attacked by monsters. (S)pell allows you to cast any magic spell
the character knows. (U)se allows you to use magic items, like healing potions
and magic wands. If you wish to pass this turn, press the spacebar.
After all actions are entered, the players and the monsters engage each
other, with the character having the highest dexterity usually attacking
first. Some magic weapons will occasionally produce special effects after they
hit monsters. If you want the message to go away faster, press a key to move
quickly to the next one.
Here are all the spells a wizard may learn.
A: Magic Missile. This produces a small bolt of magical energy that will
automatically hit any monster you are fighting. It does damage about equal to
a short sword.
B: Speed. Raises the target's dexterity for the duration of a combat,
letting them dodge better and attack first.
C: Strength. Raises the target's strength to allow them to do extra damage
with each strike.
D: Stun. If the spell is successful, the target will stand motionless for
several rounds without attacking or dodging.
E: Lightning Bolt. A strong attack directed at one monster. It delivers 1-7
points damage per caster level.
F: Fireball. Damages the entire column of monsters it is directed at. Each
creature takes 1-5 points damage per level of the caster.
G: Flamestrike. Burns every monster you face for 1-4 points per level.
H: Death Ray. Usually kills one monster no matter how many body points it
Here are the spells a priest may learn and use.
A: Cure light wounds. Heals several body points. Caster level and target
Piety modify the amount healed.
B: Dispel undead. Attempts to destroy all of the undead monsters
(skeletons, zombies, ghosts, liches, etc.) fighting the party. The weaker
the monsters compared to the caster, the more likely they are to be
C: Bless. A blessed character will have one quarter of the attacks directed
at them magically warded off. The spell lasts for the length of combat.
D: Cure serious wounds. Heals a few dozen body points. When not in combat,
you will get more body points per magic point with several cure lights, but if
you are getting hit by monsters, the extra healing is often needed.
E: Death's door. If a character has been knocked unconscious (KO), this
spell with revive him. He will still have 0 body points, but will be able to
F: Banishment. The more evil the target is, the more damage they will take.
Demons and devils are hit hardest by this spell.
G: Word of Recall. Instantly teleports the entire party back to town (how
H: Cureall. Puts a character back up to their maximum body points.
Here's some hints from folks who have played this a while.
Go back and save what you've accomplished. If you keep plodding on when
you have three hit points left, you are going to die and lose it all.
Explore the first level, then go up, then go down, then go up.
Enter not the cross
Unless your crew is boss.
It will mean life loss
To the curioss. (sic) (Sorry, it had to rhyme.)
When all your party had past on the game will inform you of your
demise and quit to DOS. Restart the game to continue from your last
save. The moral: SAVE THE GAME OFTEN!
Prepare your party, ready yourself, and go exploring!
To run this program outside ^1Big Blue Disk^0, type: ^1DARKDES^0.
DISK FILES THIS PROGRAM USES: