Solo Strategy Guide by Riverwind

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 10/29/01 | Printable Version

Pool of Radiance:  Ruins of Myth Drannor--PC
By:  Andrew Shih (
10/29/01, Version 1.0


As legend has it, Myth Drannor abounds in monsters as well as magical 
items--only advanced adventurers need apply.  And yet, the Pool of 
Radiance CRPG has you starting out with level one characters!  Not only 
that, but the turn-based system takes a lot of time and 3rd Ed. tactics 
take a  long time to master.  It should come as no surprise then that 
trying to complete even the first level of the first dungeon can prove 
trying if not almost impossible, and that the first impression of even 
the most fanatic fans is unlikely to be favorable.  But if you show some 
patience and perseverance, you should succeed, and hopefully find Pool 
of Radiance to be an ultimately satisfying experience.  


This is a strategy guide, not a walkthrough.  The philosophy of this FAQ 
is not to help you cheat, but to help you become a better CRPG player so 
that you won't need or even be tempted to cheat.  Also, my favorite 
class is cleric--that's what I successfully soloed with and recommend, 
so this guide will be written primarily from the perspective of a solo 


If Pool of Radiance is hard enough as it is, why go solo?  Is this a 
strategy guide or a suicide guide?  I will give several arguments why 
going solo can actually be easier than playing with a party of six.  
First, that has been my experience.  I've finished PoR twice, the first 
time with a party of six and the second time solo.  Even factoring out 
the fact that the second time through, I knew the answers to the various 
puzzles, I found my solo experience to be a much easier, not to mention 
more satisfying and enjoyable, experience.  I say factor out because in 
both games, I cleaned house killing just about all the monsters, and so 
even if my soloist didn't know the answer to the puzzles right away, it 
would just be a question of time, of wandering through empty dungeons--
it would not be any harder to win than it was.  Second, soloists get a 
lot more XP.  Now there are three components to XP:  quest, combat, and 
rogue.  Quest XP's I suspect are not divided up among party members but 
rather each individual member gets the full amount.  Combat XP is 
divided up, and soloists thus get more than party members.  However, the 
combat XP awarded in PoR is rather stingy.  Nevertheless, given the 
sheer quantity of battles, combat XP does add up especially towards the 
middle to end of the game.  Now with rogue XP, you get XP whenever you 
find a secret door, disarm a trap, or unlock a door or chest.  This is 
specific to the rogue, and such skill-based XP is not shared with other 
party members.  This rogue XP is considerable--in fact, in the beginning 
to middle of the game, rogue XP actually exceeds combat XP by a 
substantial margin.  Anyway, it follows from this discussion of XP and 
its components that the way to maximize combat XP is to go solo, and the 
way to exploit rogue XP is to be rogue or part-rogue.  One more thing 
deserves mentioning as far as the XP scheme--the cap is 16L for single-
classing, but 32L for multi-classing.  This is important because based 
upon my experience, you do in fact reach 16L if you travel with a party 
of six, but 32L only with a soloist.  So soloists ultimately gain more 
levels.  But it's not just that--even if everyone were to reach L32 
whether traveling alone or in a group, soloists would still have the 
advantage of a faster rate of progression which is crucial for a 
competitive edge over the competition.  For example, what good is a 
paladin in a party of six whose turn undead level is always several 
levels below that of the undead he encounters, and who eventually 
acquires the ability to destroy undead which are half the level he is--
after the fact?!  The point I'm making is that you need a spell or 
ability when you need it.  You don't want to fall behind your opponents.  
It's use it or lose it.  A third reason to go with a soloist does not 
have to do with strategy or chances of success per se, but rather with 
the enjoyment versus boredom factor.  It already can take forever for 
the monsters to move.  Now even though under the turn-based system, you 
can take all the time in the world to move, what you probably want to do 
at this point is to move as quickly as possible to at least speed things 
up from your end.  But having to plot and coordinate the actions of six 
different characters every single round can take a while to do, or at 
least to make sure that you do it right.  It's not just about who to 
fight or which spell to cast, it's also about who needs healing, who 
needs protection, etc.  Now some players may respond that they like this 
aspect of the game, that that's part of roleplaying.  Fine.  But after a 
while, especially given the tremendous number of battles that need to be 
fought, it can become repetitive.  And I don't like having an Achilles 
heel.  Even in a battle which is going overall very well, there is 
always that one party member who needs to be looked after or tended to, 
delaying victory accordingly.  Perhaps worst of all is when one or more 
party members die, and that means having to backtrack and exit a dungeon 
level you were making good and exciting progress in, and going all the 
way back up to the surface to find the high-level priest.  At the very 
least, it means resting to regain and casting some raise dead spells, or 
reloading the game and refighting the battle.  The impetus for my idea 
to go solo was when my cleric got tired of having to resurrect half the 
party after every other battle, and also of being preoccupied with 
healing the party in the midst of battle and not getting to fight on the 
frontlines or cast offensive spells or otherwise fulfilling her 
potential.  And that is what CRPGing is about--fulfilling your 
potential.  And you do that most in PoR with a multi-classed soloist.


Why cleric?  When first exploring Myth Drannor, clerics may seem to be 
superfluous.  Their traditional role, especially in a party, has been 
that of healer, but who needs a healer when there are plenty of healing 
potions, and rooms around every corner where you can rest and restore 
all your hit points.  In fact, the computer doesn't even keep track of 
how often you've rested.  I have two answers to this argument.  First, 
there will be times when you need to heal in the middle of a battle.  
Secondly, as will be discussed below, a cleric does much more than just 

Clerics can fight, and whereas under 2nd Ed. rules they made decent 
fighters, under 3rd Ed. rules they fight almost as good as fighters, 
especially if they add in a few levels of fighter for the fighter feats 
and the greater weapon selection.  The main difference is this--besides 
being right behind fighters as far as attack bonuses, they can get 
additional attacks per round just like fighters.  Fighter-Clerics are 
much-improved in 3rd Ed., because their attack bonuses are now additive 
rather than exclusive.  What that means is that formerly, a L 10/10 
Fighter/Cleric fought better than a L10 Cleric but no better than a L10 
Fighter.  The cleric attack bonuses were discarded entirely, and only 
the slightly higher attack bonuses of the fighter were considered.  The 
non-fighter class might as well be a mage, and would fight just the 
same.  But now under the new rules, a L 10/10 Fighter/Cleric fights much 
better than a L 10 Fighter, although a little behind a L 20 Fighter.  As 
far as additional attacks, you get an additional attack for every +6 
attack bonus, and it doesn't matter which class those attack bonuses 
come from.  It should be noted that rogues have the same rate of 
progression for attack bonuses, and also get a sneak attack to boot.  
However, clerics can wear any armor, while rogues cannot wear anything 
more than leather without impeding some of their abilities.  Also, 
clerics get d8 hit points per level, while rogues get d6.

Additionally, clerics have the single-most important ability in the 
game:  turn undead.  It is no exaggeration for me to say that roughly 
half of all the monsters you are going to encounter are undead.  Now 
turn undead obviously doesn't work against non-undead.  But various 
spells such as incindienary cloud for instance don't work against 
undead.  And whereas comparable spells are not acquired until you reach 
high levels and then you can only cast them a few times per day, turn 
undead is something which clerics are born with and can cast many times 
per day with the extra turning feat.  

Finally, contrary to the stereotype and also to the situation in other 
CRPG's and under other RPG rules, clerics in PoR do have offensive 
spells targetting groups of monsters, not just healing spells and other 
spells affecting individuals.  A unique advantage of the cleric over the 
sorcerer, however, is that even though many of their spells do similar 
things, clerics can wear armor while sorcerers have to deal with a 
failure rate if they wear any armor.  Now 10% with leather armor is 
probably something which most players playing sorcerers can live with, 
in fact it may seem a godsend after those days in which sorcerers 
couldn't wear any armor period and even multi-classed sorcerers would 
lose their ability to cast spells if they wore armor.  I am a bit of a 
perfectionist though--even a 5% failure rate with the best leather armor 
is 5% too much.  Another way to go about casting sorcerer spells while 
still having a decent AC is to combine sorcerer with monk, or maybe even 
to go with a cleric/sorcerer/monk.

There is more than one way to go about creating a viable soloist, but I 
prefer a cleric as the primary class, with some levels in fighter and a 
few in thief.  The soloist which I finished the game with started out as 
a barbarian for the "cleave" feat and the extra hit points, then added a 
cleric level for "turn undead" early on, and then a rogue level to 
assist in XP accumulation.  From then on, it was an ambitious building 
up of the primary cleric class up until the acquision of "flamestrike" 
and a decent turn undead rank, and then a brief sabbatical to improve 
fighting and upgrade thief skills, followed by the continuance of 
clerical school up to graduation to get full heal and finally firestorm 
capability, firestorm being the medieval equivalent of nuclear 
capability.  I diversified the fighter classes in order to collect the 
more important fighter feats.  By starting out barbarian, as I mentioned 
previously, I had "cleave" which gives an extra attack when you get a 
kill.  It's like a cheap and inexpensive extra half attack.  Later on, I 
added some levels in regular fighter for "improved critical," because of 
a certain awesome weapon I acquired which does quintuple damage on 
critical hits.  And so, the 32 levels which I reached about three-
quarters of the way through the game were distributed as follows:  L16 
Cleric/L6 Rogue/L5 Fighter/L5 Barbarian.


The most important thing about race is your favored class, especially 
when you're going multi-class.  The way favored class works is as 
follows:  Normally, when you multi-class, or to more accurately describe 
it, add other classes, you have to keep your classes together as far as 
levels--otherwise, you'll suffer the -20% XP penalty until you reconcile 
your classes.  This means that if say you shoot out far ahead in levels 
with your favorite class while leaving your other classes at low nominal 
levels, that the -20% XP penalty will apply to you perhaps for the rest 
of your CRPG career.  This does not apply however if the class which you 
favor is your favored class--hence the putative etymology of the term, 
"favored class."  If you are an elf, your favored class is sorcerer, if 
you are a dwarf, your favored class is fighter, for half-orcs it's 
barbarian, and for halflings it's rogues.  Humans and half-elves have as 
their favored class whatever their highest-level class is.  Now the 
"favored classes" are simply not factored into the analysis of whether 
your multi-classes have a two-point spread or more.  Which means 
basically that if you have a two-class character, you can be whatever 
levels you wish so long as one of your two classes is your favored 
class--you are for purposes of the XP penalty a single-class.  But if 
you have three or more classes, then you do have to consider.  Because 
even if say you shoot out in front with your favored classes, you have 
to make sure that you keep your non-favored classes together.  If you're 
a human level 15 cleric/level 10 fighter, and then all of a sudden late 
in your development you decide to add in a level 1 rogue, be warned--you 
are going to keep experiencing the experience penalty until you reach 
level 10 rogue.  Also, of course, if you shoot out in front with a non-
favored class regardless of your number of multi-classes, you're going 
to suffer that -20% XP penalty.  Clerics are not the favored class for 
elves, dwarves, half-orcs, or halflings, and so I would recommend being 
a human or half-elf unless you are going to make the second non-favored 
class co-equal in level with the cleric level and perhaps the favored 
class the lowest.

As far as racial modifiers to attribute scores, they really don't amount 
to much in the long run.  There are plenty of drinks that will naturally 
increase your attributes, and a plethora of magical items that will 
artificially increase them.  This is especially so when you're going 
solo and can hog up all the best stuff.  The same can be said of bonuses 
to saving throws, although immunities are useful.  In particular, the 
immunity of elves and half-elves to sleep and charm, actually to all 
attacks and conditions normally requiring a will saving throw, is a 
powerful defense mechanism.  Between human and half-elf, I would 
recommend half-elf because you gain immunities and don't lose anything 
by being half-elf as opposed to human.  Humans I've heard get an extra 
feat from the start.  So what.


Alignment hardly means anything in PoR.  It doesn't affect the storyline 
or your relations with NPC's, and I don't even think it affects the 
effect of a cleric's turn undead ability.  It's important only as far as 
alignment restrictions for various classes.  Clerics can be any 
alignment, so can rogues and fighters.  Paladins must be lawful good, as 
far as monks and barbarians, monks must be lawful, barbarians must be 
non-lawful.  I went with a chaotic good character in order to add, 
actually start out as a barbarian.  That precluded adding in monk levels 
later on, which might have been desirable for the arrow-snatching feat.  
The road not taken would have been to opt for monk and sorcerer levels 
and go without armor--a rather intriguing possibility.  Another 
possibility would have been to add some paladin levels to attain an even 
higher turn undead rank,, and so such a character would have to be 
lawful good.


The pre-made cleric Skylar has decent stats, as does the pre-made 
paladin D'Arcy.  In fact, the attributes of D'Arcy in particular are way 
above what you could get through the normal starting point-system.  For 
those used to favorable die rolls, the point-system while it has a 
certain legalistic consistency to it, may seem rather harsh and stingy.  
Nevertheless, it is possible to get say a '16' in strength, a '14' in 
constitution, and a '14' in wisdom.'  I would make sure dexterity and 
charisma were not too low also.  Dexterity doesn't matter much because 
of the dexterity AC bonus cap with heavier armor, +1 with full plate, 
but it also affects thief skills as does intelligence.  Charisma affects 
turn undead.  These recommendations by the way are for some kind of 
fighting cleric combo and are based upon a human or half-elf template.  
Anyway, play around with them and see what you can put together.


It's all about attack bonuses.  The higher your attack bonus, the more 
likely you are to hit more heavily armored opponents.  As I explained 
previously, your attack bonuses are class and level-dependent and are 
additive for multi-classes.  For each +6 in your base attack bonus, base 
meaning minus the extra attack bonuses from magical items and weapons, 
you get an additional attack per round.  The rate of progression for 
attack bonuses is +1/level for fighters, somewhat less for clerics and 
rogues, and much lower for sorcerers.  A single-class cleric will have 3 
attacks per round at level 16, even more than that if multi-classing.  
The "cleave" feat as I mentioned previously nets you an extra attack if 
you get a kill during the round.  My 32L multi-classed cleric in the end 
achieved 6 attacks per round, plus "cleave," which is a lot.  

In calculating damage, it's weapon type and strength bonuses which 
matter.  Wielding a two-handed weapon yields you an additional 50% 
strength damage bonus.  Damage is multiplied for critical hits.  The way 
critical hits work is basically you need to roll in the critical range, 
and then roll again and if the second roll is also a hit, although not 
necessarily a crit, then you get a crit hit.  "Improved Critical" 
increases your critical range, while "Power Attack" is a way to do more 
damage at the expense of accuracy.

There are two types of melee weapons, with clerics being able only to 
use simple weapons, and only fighters able to use martial weapons.  What 
I find rather ironic is that monks can't use martial weapons even though 
they're dubbed "martial"--well, so much for martial arts.  Anyway, there 
are so many great magical weapons in Myth Drannor--simple as well as 
martial--that it doesn't really matter whether you're limited to 
martial.  In fact, the best weapon in the game is a certain shortspear 
which is classified as martial.  The ability to use martial as well as 
simple weapons would make more of a difference if you had a party, and 
wanted more flexibility is distributing the limited number of totally 
and truly awesome weapons, of which there are a handful.  In any event, 
if you want your cleric to be able to use any weapon, then simply add in 
a level in a fighter class.  The main thing to remember as far as 
weapons during a battle is that slashing weapons are ill-suited for 
undead because of their physical resistance, and specialty weapons are 
especially good against certain opponents.  Also, against monsters with 
poor AC but high hit points, you should employ weapons with greater 
damage potential, while with monsters with good AC but low hit points, 
the premium is upon accuracy. 

I did not find ranged weapons to be much of a factor unless wielded by 
enemy drow assassins who must have phenomenal dexterity.  The main 
problem with missile weapons is that there is no strength bonus to 
damage, even a thrown weapon such as a sling probably does more damage.  
Also, any use of a ranged weapon, whether bow or sling, subjects you to 
an attack of opportunity by any enemy standing close to you.  In a 
party, it is hard to avoid this kind of proximity--for a soloist, it's 
almost impossible unless your enemies are also wielding ranged weapons, 
in which case you're probably better off attacking them with melee. 

Positioning is important under 3rd Ed. Rules--in fact, it makes combat 
tactics much more complex than just hack and slash.  The advantage of 
being a soloist is that you don't have to worry about being blocked or 
crowded by party members--however, there is a greater chance of your 
being completely surrounded by enemies, which can spell out your doom.  
The primary thing to remember is this:  Doorways are your friend.  If 
you stand in a doorway, then you only have to fight one or two monsters 
at a time.  Also, you are subject to attacks of opportunity by fewer 
opponents if you change your position.  Another survival tip is:  Let 
them come to you.  Charging is not usually a good idea because even when 
you can move and attack, you only get one attack and lose your dexterity 
bonus to AC for the next round, not to mention subject yourself to sneak 
attacks.  And so, let the monsters charge you and get their one attack, 
or maybe none at all if they're far enough away.  And then hit them with 
your best shot.  A third thing to keep in mind is that when facing enemy 
spellcasters, all you need to do to frustrate their spellcasting is to 
move next to them.  When they then try to cast a spell, you will get an 
attack of opportunity against them.  Finally, how well you you can 
position yourself is dependant upon your movement rate, which is in turn 
affected by such things as class, feats, race, encumberance, etc.  


Clerics, who can heal a party, have more than enough healing spells for 
themselves if going solo.  Healing is normally something to be done in 
between battles, especially if you're having trouble finding a place to 
rest.   After getting to over 100 HP, the only healing spell of use 
becomes the level 6 spell heal, which heals all your hit points.  My 
ending solo character had over 300 HP, and I couldn't help marveling 
whenever she cast full heal and the screen showed "+300."  It literally 
makes the difference between life or death.  Now healing during battle 
is something which will become necessary more and more as the game 
progresses.  There are many marathon matches, especially towards the end 
of the game, where healing during battle is an absolute necessity.  Now 
there is a right way, and a wrong way, to heal.  The wrong way to heal 
is when you are on the frontline facing several opponents, and you 
decide to just cast the spell.  You are likely to be interrupted, and 
not only that, killed.  Because any and all of them not only get an 
attack of opportunity but may finish you off during their normal turn if 
they haven't already.  The way to do it is to either use a healing 
potion, where you are not subject to interruption although you are still 
subject to an attack of opportunity, or to retreat and then cast the 
spell.  It is important to keep an eye on the cursor before clicking on 
your mouse--there is a limited range of movement where you can not only 
move but also do something such as cast a healing spell before ending 
your turn.  That is signified by a plus sign next to the cursor.  
Another benefit to moving and then healing is that even though your 
opponents get an attack of opportunity, during the next round when they 
charge to attack you again, they only get one attack because you can't 
move and still attack more than once.

As far as other spells, the same principle applies.  Basically, if you 
move out of their immediate range, then even though each of them gets an 
attack of opportunity against you, once you survive that, you can cast a 
spell without fear of interruption from a safe distance.  There are some 
spells such as "harm" though which require you to either be next to or 
end up next to your opponent.  I would only cast such a spell if only 
the target was next to me, or if the option of running up to and 
touching the opponent were available.  Of course, if there are no 
opponents next to you, or if those that are are incapacitated, then you 
can cast spells with impunity.

"Harm" has already been mentioned as an offensive spell against a single 
opponent.  "Searing Light" is also useful--it's a mid-level spell which 
does medium damage, and which is particularly effective against undead 
and those sensitive to light.  It can be cast from a distance.  I did 
not find the various reverse healing spells to be useful, given that 
they only affect a single opponent, require you to be next to your 
target, and don't do much damage.  The exception of course is "harm," 
which not only has unlimited potential in doing infinity minus one 
damage to your target, but also there is no saving throw!  Only magic 
resistance, or missing your target, can foil a harm.  By the way, 
healing and harming spells have opposite effects on undead, so don't 
cast "harm" on them.  Another powerful single-target offensive spell is 
"destruction," which like the sorcerer spell "disintegrate" or "finger 
of death," will kill the target outright unless it saves.

Finally, mid to upper-level clerics acquire some formidable offensive 
spells which target groups of opponents.  Clerics get "flamestrike" not 
long after sorcerers get "fireball."  "Fireball" does damage to a 
significantly wider area, but a high-level spellcaster will do more 
damage with "flamestrike" because it is not capped at 10d6 like 
fireball.  Also, if you move and plan your strategy the right way, you 
can get monsters to cluster together so as to affect more of them with a 
flamestrike.  Clerics ultimately get "firestorm" which affects a very 
wide area.  Unfortunately, it does not do more damage than 16d6.  It 
should be noted that clerics are not missing out on much when high-level 
sorcerers get "incindinary cloud" because monsters have a tendency to 
move out of poisonous clouds.  Nevertheless, clerics wish they had the 
level five sorcerer spell "cone of cold," which is fan-shaped, d6, and 
uncapped, as well as the spells "cloudkill" and "hold monster," perfect 
for killing or disabling large groups of low to mid-level non-undead 
monsters in much the same way as clerics do with turn undead against 
undead.  Well, nobody's perfect.  If magic is your thing, then maybe you 
might consider going with a cleric/sorcerer?


What does turn undead do?  Think of it as a mass destruction spell.  If 
you can keep up to or surpass the level of the undead which you meet, 
then they're either outright destroyed, or stunned for several rounds.  
Another nice thing about turn undead is that unlike spells you cannot be 
interrupted while doing it, and this is a lifesaver when you're a 
soloist swarmed by monsters and seeking mass destruction while fighting 
on the frontline.  Finally, the undead especially are much to be dreaded 
for an important reason other than their fighting prowess--they take 
forever to move, and nothing saps morale or interferes more with one's 
use and enjoyment of the game than watching undead from PoR bide their 
time.  Some have even been reported to pace back and forth in the middle 
of a battle, for no apparent purpose other than to bore the player to 
death.  So take them out early with a turn undead so that you won't turn 
undead yourself.

Now the way turn undead works under 3rd Ed. rules is as follows:  First, 
the computer notes what your turn undead level is.  Paladins have a turn 
undead level which is two levels behind that of clerics.  For 
paladin/clerics, you add the levels of both classes and then subtract 
two.  The computer then conducts a turning check by rolling a d20, and 
then factoring in any charisma modifier you may have.  The turning check 
determines up to how powerful an undead you can affect, whether higher, 
lower, or the same level/hit dice as yourself.  The turning check table 
is not in the manual, but it is in the 3rd Ed. D&D  Player's Handbook:

Turning Check Result		Most Powerful Undead Affected (Maximum Hit 
Up to 0				Cleric's level - 4
1-3				Cleric's level - 3
4-6				Cleric's level - 2
7-9				Cleric's level - 1
10-12				Cleric's level
13-15				Cleric's level + 1
16-18				Cleric's level + 2
19-21				Cleric's level +3
22+				Cleric's level +4

There is then a damage calculation, which consists of a 2d6 roll + 
cleric's level + charisma modifier.  This determines how many undead are 
affected.  Finally, as far as the effects of turning undead, if your 
cleric is twice the level of the undead, the undead is destroyed, but if 
not, then the undead is stunned.  Now under 3rd Ed. rules, they're 
supposed to flee, and furthermore attack back in self-defense if you 
attack or approach them.  But in PoR, they are stunned and you can 
attack them.  Also in PoR, alignment appears to make no difference on 
the effect of turn undead.


Clerics don't get much in the way of skills or feats for that matter.  
Of fighters and fighting feats, I have already covered that in the 
section on fighting.  Now as to rogue skills, if you're not a full-time 
rogue, I recommend "borrowing" some rogue skills by being part-rogue.  
In fact, any soloist should be part-rogue if for no other reason than 
the extra XP from using rogue skills.  Searching for secret doors is not 
limited to rogues, but rogues do it best.  Walking rather than running 
increases the chances of finding secret doors, but given that even the 
run speed is relatively slow in PoR, who's going to not turn on the run 
option and suffer the patience of walking through the vast expanse of 
Myth Drannor?  Here's a tip which isn't technically cheating given that 
it's a legitimate game option.  Turn on the "show die rolls" feature.  
Besides giving you more feedback during combat as far as how close you 
came to hitting your opponent, etc., it also shows die rolls to 
determine whether you discover a secret door.  The point is that if 
you're just walking around, and then all of a sudden the screen starts 
showing the computer rolling dice like crazy, chances are you're 
standing next to a secret door.  All that should then be required is for 
you to select "search" from the skills menu, and then target the wall 
next to you.  In fact, throughout the game, you should make a habit of 
walking next to all the potential secret doors--they are represented on 
screen as an outline of a door without an opening.

Traps are normally on treasure chests, although sometimes they guard 
secret doors.  It is good practice to search every treasure chest before 
you attempt to open it, and then if a trap is indicated, try to disable 
it.  Unfortunately, your ability to disable traps is modified by your 
intelligence, which quite often is the attribute which you sacrifice to 
improve the others.  Thankfully, the "skill focus" feat enhances the 
ability of a rogue to disable traps.  Now whether a chest is trapped or 
not, it is often locked.  To open a chest, you need to use the "pick 
locks" skill which is itself modified by dexterity.  Unlike the "disable 
traps" skill which can be used only once per trap, with the pick locks 
skill you can try again and again until you succeed.  You can also just 
smash the chest if it's breakable.  One of my favorite ways to open a 
chest, however, especially if it may be trapped, is to cast 
"flamestrike" or "firestorm" during battle so as to blow up the chests 
in the process, and if that starts a chain reaction whereby the trapped 
chests happen to go off with say a cone of cold  onto the monsters 
standing next to them, then so be it!

Sneak attack is a great way to do extra damage, and the wispy blue smoke 
which accompanies it looks really cool.  The more thief levels you have, 
the more sneak attack damage you do.  Sneak attacks do make ranged 
attacks semi-useful.  In fact, watch out for enemy archer assassins 
surprising you with a sneak attack. surprise--very lethal.  The feat 
"uncanny dodge" if you reach a certain level barbarian or rogue gives 
you immunity to sneak attacks.  Now the way to execute a sneak attack is 
first of all if you surprise your opponent, simply charge and attack.  
The other and more common way is for your opponent to move into your 
immediate area for the first time, giving you the chance to do a sneak 
attack if you successfully hit during the ensuing round, or for your 
opponent to move out of your immediate area giving you an attack of 
opportunity.  Still another way of doing a sneak attack is to flank or 
come up from behind your opponent.  A good spot to stand if you're near 
a doorway is to hide behind the doorway a little to the side, "miami 
vice style."  Then, the dumb orc or ogre will walk through the doorway, 
and stand there looking straight ahead.  Sneak attack!!  If you are 
going solo, though, I don't recommend maneuvering deep into enemy lines 
just to get that one sneak attack because if the following round you're 
surrounded, you're in trouble.


I hope this strategy guide helps you get started or improve in playing 
Pool of Radiance.  If you have any questions, I will be on various 
forums under "Riverwind" or "Riverwind_IV."  I can also be reached via 
E-Mail at ""