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Pool of Radiance

DOS - 1988

Also released on: Mac - Amiga - Apple II - Commodore 64

Alt name Pool of Radiance: A Forgotten Realms Fantasy Role-Playing Epic, Vol. I
Year 1988
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Role-Playing (RPG)
Theme D&D / AD&D, Dungeon Crawler, Fantasy, Licensed Title, Turn-based
Publisher Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Developer Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Perspective 1st-Person
Dosbox support Fully supported on current version
4.6 / 5 - 73 votes

Download extras files
Manual and misc available

Description of Pool of Radiance

Read Full Description

In the annals of RPG gaming, few series can boast of being "pioneers" of the genre more than SSI with its "Gold Box" series, all based on AD&D mechanics and worlds licensed from TSR.

Of these, four games set in the "Forgotten Realms" world stand out as the best of the bunch. Comprising four games released over four years, Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Secret of the Silver Blades, and Pools of Darkness remain a lot of fun even today as some of the most addictive - albeit maddeningly combat-ridden - RPGs ever created.

Pools of Radiance and Pools of Darkness are my most favorite of the series. Pool of Radiance because it was a great beginning to a solid RPG system, and Pools of Darkness because it gives you a chance to meet famous NPCs from AD&D world, marvel at the non-linear storyline, and develop your heroes to very high levels. All four games are must-haves for RPG fans everywhere, although Secret of the Silver Blades is a disappointment compared to the rest.

GameSpot's nice History of AD&D gives a good overview of Pool of Radiance as follows: "Released in 1988, Pool of Radiance was the first of SSI's illustrious gold box AD&D series of games. Based in the Forgotten Realms universe on an actual AD&D campaign module, Ruins of Adventure, Pool of Radiance took the rules, statistics, and number-crunching of the pen-and-paper game and brought it to computer screens everywhere.

The game itself began in New Phlan, a small settlement built on the ashes of a once-great city. The player would assemble a mercenary party of up to six characters, with two slots open for NPCs. The adventure began with a block-by-block quest to rid the ruins of the old city from the monsters and evil spirits that had since taken residence, then later expanded to the outland areas of the Moonsea, culminating in a dramatic battle with the demon Tyranthraxus the Flamed One.

Though somewhat criticized for its limitations, such as the availability of only four character classes (fighter, magic-user, cleric and thief) and the low character level cap (level nine for thieves, eight for fighters and six for spellcasters), Pool of Radiance, with its detailed art (many pictures were based directly on illustrations from existing monster manuals), wide variety of quests and treasure, and fully tactical combat ultimately succeeded in its goal of bringing a standardized form of AD&D to the home computer, and laid the foundation for other future gold box AD&D role-playing games."

Review By HOTUD

External links

Comments and reviews

MrP 2021-04-19 1 point Amiga version

The Amiga version is so much better. Mouse support, real music. No PC speaker blips. I have the GOG versions, but Amiga is night and day better.
Still get railed by 12 kobolds in the Slums. This makes the new "Git Gud" crown cry with salty tears of rage. Can't even afford to raise a party member, they get ded they gone.

larry 2019-12-11 5 points is just offering the dos version of the game. and because gog has got hold of the license, all versions of the game has been removed from various abandonware and platform dedicated sites.

does that mean; it is impossible to play c64 verion of that game, anymore?!?!?!

this is also a problem for many other games!

Antipickle 2019-02-11 2 points

Had the original version on C64... and a few others, then bought the collection on PC later 8-)

Jimmie Z 2018-05-06 0 point Commodore 64 version

ANTIPICKLE... Gold boxes, yes, but do you have the GREEN BOX? War of the Lance? I have this complete. Don't forget some of the silver boxes as well.

Antipickle 2018-05-01 2 points

Still have all the gold box floppies lmao. Did anyone else find the trade bug.. give an item to someone with a full inventory and it makes a bugged item.

Edge 2018-04-20 0 point DOS version

Man played these on the old C64. Had a ball when I was a kid and still play them now occasionally. DOS Box works fine for me with W10

Mike 2018-03-22 -1 point DOS version

Using Boxer on mac to emulate DOS. The game is asking my to "put save disk in F:" and the only colors showing up are black, white, cyan, and magenta. Any suggestions?

Bigguy 2018-03-05 -1 point Amiga version

I got the Amiga Forever software and it works just fine and pretty simple. Before I got that it was a nightmare to get things to work.

SlickRCBD 2018-03-01 0 point Apple II version

To the person complaining about the journal entries, they actually had a reason for that.
The game came on 5.25" disks, and the Apple II 5.25" disks only held 140 KILOBYTES of data per side. Project 64, a precurser to for Commordore games has made an ASCII text transcription of the journal. It measures 94 kilobytes of text. The game itself came on 5 disk sides (2.5 disks). Curse of the Azure bonds had 4 double-sided disks (eight sides). Those were 140K sides. Think about how many more disks they would have needed to add all that text. Also it was displayed on a screen with 40 columns and 24 lines of text.
MS-DOS managed to get 180K per side, and using a different architecture manged to use both sides simultaneously for 360K per disk. I do not know how the MS-DOS version came, except for the "Forgotten Realms Silver Edition" compilation that somebody gave me years later so I could play the non-Apple versions, but that was on CD-ROM and the games were copied to the hard drive.
Yes, I played this game originally on a real Apple IIGS as a child. I actually played the sequel first as it was a Christmas present in 1989 and it got me hooked on RPGs as well as getting me and others to from an AD&D group in early 1990.

LegitimateEvil 2018-01-24 -1 point DOS version

So I'm trying to mount some old D&D games, I could really use some help, tried just doing it the same way I did warcraft2 and realized the old D&D games didn't use CD rom "unless I'm mistaken" can someone please give me a "copy/paste" example to paste at the bottom of my options menu. I know people name their folders differently just looking for an example to go by. FYI I'm mounting my lines in the options menu for automatic start-up rather than typing them in manually not hat it should matter its the same thing right?

jomille 2018-01-17 0 point DOS version

works great in Dosbox, just follow some internet directions or comments here to learn how to mount c and get in the right directory, use setup.exe to change the color settings if need be, use start.exe and start rocking some goblins!

mikey 2017-11-28 0 point

I can't get any of the SSI games to run in full color. Any fixes?

Gamer Dad 2017-08-31 0 point DOS version

Oh God I remember these. Some years ago I ran a sales center on the East coast and one of my first contacts wanted to buy the Pools. I called EA and ask what it I would have to do to become a dealer. I told them what my customer wanted and in 3 days I got it. Along with the full SSI catalog at the time which included all of the AD&D programs. Then some years ago, the full collection was available by Amiga on one CD, at least I think that is who sold it. It was still in DOS and just as good then as the stuff was when new. Love it1

Truss 2017-07-28 0 point Commodore 64 version

On the Commodore 64, load the game without the inbuilt fastloader. When the game ask for the code, enter a monitor or reset and type (Monitor) G1000 . Reset: SYS 4096 and the game continues to the menu.

chris 2017-07-04 2 points DOS version

how do you take someone off of Quick?

AsiaJennifer 2017-05-18 0 point DOS version

Nvm I watched the abandonware guide how to drop and drag the game into dosbox. i I typed
and it just ran so easy.

AsiaJennifer 2017-05-18 -1 point DOS version

I have dosbox. I downloaded the por dos version. I put the por files on my e drive in a new folder e:\por I never put my games on c drive, always on e drive cause that's where all my games go. I cant put on c drive because c drive has almost no space!

So how do I launch the game with dosbox from my e drive. e:\por
that is my file location.

Let me know thanks

Hydra 2017-04-01 0 point Commodore 64 version

Not sure if it's too late to say this but I still have my code wheel from the C64 version somewhere, could always dig it up hopefully if it'd help anyone.

MalikaiLorestat 2016-04-08 0 point

Got into gaming with this game on Commondore 64 computer! Never found the pool of radiance though!

smeger 2016-03-27 4 points

Techies are too busy trying to sound smart rather than give proper instruction. I have a feeling that people are trying to give instruction without realizing what platform the poster was asking about.

Commodore64 version on other sites (.D64 files): While this version "works", and there are a lot of sites out there that give you the code wheel, it doesn't work. Pisses me off because I owned the original game and my Mom threw out my wheel. Sure it must have worked with some version but I gave up after 5 hours

Commodore64 version on this site (.D64 files): This ends up prompting you to insert disk #3 (I couldn't find a way around it). I was using WinVice-2.4. I gave up and proceeded with the below.

DOS version on this site: So happy I came across this site). Had DosBox before but just downloaded it and it worked 100% with this (creating characters, saving characters). I didn't have to modify any files. I am on Windows 10 64-bit.

To play this game:

1. Download the DOS version in the link on this page.
2. Download the DOSBox application.
3. Copy the downloaded files from step 1 into c:\Games\POR\
4. Launch DOSBox
5. Type "mount c c:\games\por"
6. Type "c:"
7. Type "start"

For former posters start thinking about the audience. Not everyone is a techy and that's why they post. For help. So make it understandable.

thecoat 2015-09-07 2 points DOS version

Note on the arrow keys not working, you need to use the number pad. Also 7 and 1 allow you to move up and down the currently selected character.

knuckles 2015-07-06 0 point DOS version

Playing on win 7 64 bit perfectly, you need dosbox

RockNRollJesusFreak 2015-06-06 -1 point DOS version

IT does not work in Win 7 64bit. :-(

Miuna 2015-04-21 0 point DOS version

Reelphresh - You have to use the number-keys 1 and 7 to scroll up and down in the menu and subsequent selection screens. This is about the only option as far as i know.

Reelphresh 2015-04-12 0 point DOS version

Didn't see any mention on the arrow keys not working, anyway to fix?

Laren 2015-01-10 -1 point DOS version

Game works great and brings back memories. Thought I'd play the series again. Never finished the last one. Pools of Darkness

Jake 2014-12-31 6 points DOS version

The game that really put strategy RPG on the main stream, the original 'gold box' game by SSI. Had this (and eventually the other 'gold box' games) on the C-64 and wore the disks out playing so much. Astounding graphics for '88 probably helped make it really popular, but was certainly not the only thing. Later strategy RPG's such as Baldur's Gate, NWN and even dungeon siege can trace their legacy back to this gem. This game is probably single handedly responsible for the success of the 'gold box' series which pretty much set the standard until the mid 90's when pixel based graphics became obsolete for main stream games.

The only real complaint I have with the entire gold box collection is the annoying 'journal entry' looking up in the manual thing. Really makes the basic copy protection of the game obsolete because it requires the manual to have ANY clue as to what's going on, but really, one room 'you record what he said as journal entry 3' and two steps later 'you record the conversation as journal entry 72' then in the next room 'you record the events as journal entry 54' anyway, you get the hint. Really killed the immersion level of the entire series. Bad enough you have to stop playing to read the entry from the book, but you have to stop and search for the apparently random correct entry to boot, so that by the time you get back to the game it's like "may as well take a break now anyway since I already have."

SoulDragon298 2014-11-01 -1 point DOS version

I used d-fend reloaded to run this and my arrow keys won't work in the game. Any suggestions?

Barholic 2014-06-25 -1 point DOS version

The game starts fine, but the arrow funktions on the keyboard doesnt work and my mouse isn't recognized either. Any help? 2014-05-30 0 point DOS version

looking for pool of radiance relms wanting to go through the whole series it lease once

Bacowrath 2014-05-18 3 points DOS version

Can the game be run on a 64 bit system?

Mickey 2014-04-16 2 points DOS version

The game works fine. You have to unzip it to a directory in the root c: drive. When you run DOSbox, mount c:\ as the c drive instead of mounting the subdirectory in which the game is actually located. Then cd over to the directory where the game is and run Start.

Melkizdech 2013-12-17 1 point DOS version

Yes Brother. Many hours, many nights of Rice/Hamburger mix. Endless Summer Nights, and good-ole long road trips in 'Beast". #Clan Gerewolf for Life. ( Best days of my life was spent in the S.C.A

Windwolf 2013-12-17 1 point DOS version

this game needs to come out on PS3

Gadz 2013-12-16 1 point DOS version

It had protection. You had to enter a code from a book from memory.

admin 2013-10-10 0 point DOS version

Fixed !! ;) thx

broken 2013-10-10 1 point DOS version

its oct 2013 and i have been researching this for over 4 hrs. only conclusion that i can come up with this download game is broken. i have been playing with pool.config for ever and tried bot dosbox and D-Fend. other games i download work but this one does not *************************************DO NOT DOWNLOAD************

game will load you will try and create and get this...
you WILL GET insert disk 3 in c drive ERROR!!!!

seleuki 2013-09-11 0 point DOS version

how does one 'edit' the .cfg file. I am running (unfortunately) WIN8 and dosbox doesn't seem to understand 'edit'.

Elric Gerewolf 2013-09-04 0 point DOS version

Great Game... I remember it on Nintendo..Many many hours spent there...haha

hseiken 2013-03-17 0 point DOS version

Guys, you should get a real dos computer. :)

Ruspar 2013-01-26 0 point DOS version

Remember when all you had to do was put in the disk and hit


Tim 2012-11-12 0 point DOS version

Awesome game

da9els 2012-10-10 0 point DOS version

Just to clarify:

Create directory "Games" on C:
Create directory "POR" inside "Games" - like this "C:\Games\POR"
Extract files to this location.
Create directory "POR" on C: - "C:\POR"

Edit "POOL.CFG" to match what ETwin wrote:

Save and exit.

Type: "mount c c:\Games"
Type: "mount d c:\POR"
Type: "c:"
Type: "cd POR"
Type: "start" - and enjoy!

guest 2012-10-03 0 point DOS version

Review of Pool of Radiance for DOS:

Will 2012-09-27 0 point DOS version

What I did was change the two paths to ".\" without the quotes in the cfg file

Oy 2012-09-25 0 point DOS version

I'm in XP, I've saved the files in C:\Games\POR\ and edited the config to the following:

run start

I can get past the disk 3 issue, but when i try to save my character, it says:
"Put save disk in F:"

Any ideas how to get past this?

Eli 2012-09-16 -1 point DOS version

Hi folks,

So sorry, I have the same issue upon creating a character "please inser disk 3 into drice C". Any hints on how to solve this?
Thank ya

ETwin 2012-07-22 0 point DOS version

Save files in C:\Games\POR

Edit Config

mount c c:\Games
mount d c:\POR
run start

The Great One 2012-07-03 0 point DOS version

Place the game here:


Mount D C:\games

Modify the config to read D:\POR\

It will work.

... 2012-05-14 0 point DOS version

Just commenting to say thanks, and also confirming that this copy works without any problems in dosbox.

Fox 2012-04-07 0 point DOS version

Same problem mentioned previously. Tried the suggested solutions. No go. Really. Really. Want to play this game...

Alatraedies 2012-01-07 0 point DOS version

sorry all, Pools of Radiance works fine *without* DOSBOX etc here in my case Windows XP pro. I only encounter those errors when trying to launch it with DOSBOX. Enjoying this site, keep the great work goin'!

Alatraedies 2012-01-03 0 point DOS version

I did exactly as Spideymagu instructed, in my case, moving the contents of the unzipped archive to C:\POOLRAD.

However, the exact same error, actually worded as this: "Insert disk 3 into drive c:" is continuing to persist and halting 1st character creation process and the whole game. any more help please? Thanks! great site, reviews, and ratings, enjoying it.

Alatraedies 2012-01-03 0 point DOS version

I confirm and am duplicating Paradigm's 'Please insert disk 3 into drive C:' locking up the game upon first character creation attempt.

Bass r 2011-10-26 0 point DOS version

I have pc re sold no book lost book to game

Spideymagu 2011-10-10 0 point DOS version

That is an easy fix Paradigm. There are two ways to fix this. first way is to name the folder you have it in Poolrad. The second way is to open the folder for the game, then open the file pool.cfg and edit the two lines c:\poolrad to your folder name.

admin 2011-02-23 0 point DOS version

Changed the game, you won't need the manual anymore.

Paradigm 2011-02-23 0 point DOS version

While this game appears functional, assuming you can get past the copy protection, it is not PLAYABLE. Any attempt to create a character results in the message "Please insert disk 3 into drive C:".

I loved this game as a kid. Does anyone know where I can find a true copy? Even the re-released game that came on the gold box CD collectors set had this problem.

Write a comment

Share your gamer memories, give useful links or comment anything you'd like. This game is no longer abandonware, we won't put it back online.


Buy Pool of Radiance

Pool of Radiance is available for a small price on the following websites, and is no longer abandonware. provides the best release and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide .

Game Extras and Resources

Some of these file may not be included in the game stores. For Pool of Radiance, we have the following files:

ManualRulebook English version 5 MB (DOS) MiscPrintable code wheel English version 138 KB (DOS) MiscAdventurers Journal English version 6 MB (DOS)
ManualEnglish version 704 KB (Mac)

Other Releases

Pool of Radiance was also released on the following systems:



Apple II

Commodore 64

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