, sometimes called Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures
, is a RPG Game Maker
released in 1993 by SSI Inc., which allows to create RPG games in the "Gold Box
" style, much like Pool of Radiance
or Secret of the Silver Blades
. The game's system is based on Dungeons & Dragons
(and is apparently a mixture of the first and the second edition). The basic world given to the player is based on the Forgotten Realms
role-playing game setting, but this is in no way binding.
A small but vivid community quickly was born; despite FRUA
's age and the fact that SSI doesn't exist anymore, the community still exists, albeit smaller than before. Over seven hundred designs (FRUA
games) have been created so far, and the development of 'hacks' allowed to remove most limits and modify many things which were so far unchangeable; apart from classic fantasy designs, games have been made in Sci-Fi, oriental or even contemporary settings.
The Magic Mirror
is THE repository of FRUA
designs, resources and knowledge. There's also a forum
is an attempt at a much-improved remake of UA
for modern systems.
This game/program exemplifies the following tropes:
- Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Due to 1st-edition D&D rules.
- Art Evolution: Comparing the oldest designs to the newest ones shows how much the community has progressed. (It also helped that computers themselves developed during all these years, allowing easier graphics editing and the like.)
- Artificial Stupidity: Computer-controlled NPCs (party members that join throughout the game).
- Character Alignment: Lawful, neutral, or chaotic good, neutral, or evil, as any D&D game.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure: Averted, as movement rate decreases with increasing encumbrance.
- Divine Intervention: The "in-universe" explanation for the test mode's "instant victory" button in battles.
- Experience Points: It's D&D, after all.
- Faux First-Person 3D: In the "dungeon" levels (of course, these are used for anything from cities to forests to actual dungeons).
- Final Death: A couple of ways to do that.
- Game Breaking Bugs: There are quite a lot, unfortunately, and part of becoming a FRUA expert is learning how to work around them.
- Game Mod: Creating these is the whole point, but the hacked designs go a step further. There are even entire "worldhacks" which change the game extensively, moving it from Medieval European Fantasy to a Wuxia or superhero setting.
- Game Over: "The monsters rejoice, for the party has been destroyed!" (Originally from Pool of Radiance.) Or, if you died outside combat, simply "The entire party has been killed!"
- Locked Door: You can use doors locked with keys, but there are also "locked" doors (that need to be bashed or picked by means of a skill roll) or "locked wizard" ones (can only be opened with the Knock spell).
- Monty Haul: Many badly made designs shower the characters with money. One design in particular (From Beggars to Heroes) was content to throw thousands of money at you for the meekest reason. (For example, as poor beggars in the starting town, you can walk around and meet an unlimited number of rich people every few steps who will shower you with riches every time.) Oh, and you get experience for these, too.
- Old Save Bonus: You can import the characters from one design to another (if you know how). Designers are expected to always give the player an opportunity to save the game (and thus, the characters) just before the design ends.
- Overworld Not to Scale: The "overland" levels, which are simply a big map over which you move the token that symbolizes you party.
- Plunder: One of the principal ways of getting items.
- Sturgeon's Law: Not so prevalent nowadays. Though mostly because the fanbase has shrunk to a few devoted fans who have experience with the engine.
- The Six Stats: Makes sense, as this is Dungeons & Dragons.
- Universal Poison: Neutralize Poison and Slow Poison reverse death by poisoning, although there are subtle differences in monster immunities that can come out in monster versus monster battles.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted - you can pick up enemy equipment after every battle, unless the designer specifically turned it off for this battle. Not that it's very fun to pick up tons of useless flimsy helmets and maces off these goblins' corpses...
Notable games made for FRUA include:
- Curse of the Fire Dragon - An epic fantasy adventure which can readily compete with some of the finest old-school RPG's.
- An Oriental Alphabet Primer - A horror story told through word usage examples in a school textbook.
- Legacy of the Dragon - The player takes on the role of an infant red dragon.
- The Sect - You face an evil sect gradually taking over your land. Epic in scale, and contains a bit of A Nazi by Any Other Name (the bad guys say 'Heil', burn books, and exterminate people by fire) in the vaguely medieval-German setting.