I was at a loss in Dusk, so I started wrapping up some loose ends while figuring out where to go next. Note for self: Find a way to cure petrification on the go.
Once I was out, I decided to try out some places where I was too weak before.
- I explored the rest of B-1 wilderness, namely that one area where you couldn’t rest. I got through it and my reward was a chest containing the Silver Key. My notes tell me there’s a silver door in Raven’s Lair (B-2).
- I tried beating the black knight in B-2 and failed. A level 8 party isn’t strong enough.
- I went to Raven’s Lair to use the key. I eventually got to a room with a gold message: Etched in gold, message 6 reads: BOOK-DONE.-A-SELF-THAT-FROM-KEY-YOU-BE-TO-SEEMS. There was a similar golden message in a room below dusk, this one unnumbered, and it read YICU2ME3. The other room, with the Rakshasa, didn’t have any messages, but the chest after the fight contained a Chain Mail + 3, which I gave to my cleric.
- I gave level 2 of Raven’s Lair (in B-2) a shot, and mapped a lot of it, but some of the encounters there include giants, groups of multiple 5 and 8-headed hydras, and other in those categories, so it’s way out of my league.
- I tried the lich group to the south, but that ended up worse than the fight against the black knight.
B-2 Cave (Medusa’s Lair)
Medusa’s Lair turns out to be the official name for this cave. How do I know? Because I went in, there were several locations where I found “suspicious looking statues” and I got my ass kicked by a group of basilisks. I know my mythology, so I Googled and as it turns out, this is what the place is called.
Most of this area can be explored by a level 8 party easily, because almost all of the encounters are fixed. There were some traps that did a lot of damage, but all of them can be avoided with levitate. Several rooms have encounters on each square. A lot of them are easy, against skeletons, troglodytes and fire lizards, but some of them are really hard, against White Wolves or large groups of Deadly Spores.
Deadly Spores are monsters of the plant category, sharing their sprites with Strangling Vines and similar things. The uniqueness is that they explode, killing themselves, but also doing some damage to the entire party. The damage isn’t huge, but if you fight ten of them, it usually means everyone except for the fighter and paladin ends up dead. Not unconscious, dead. On the other hand, they are worth a lot of experience, so it might be worth the trouble to try and train on them.
In any case, I explored most of the place and only had a small part to the east and slightly to the south left. This is where a fixed encounter against a group of basilisks can be found. Since I have no way to cure petrification on the go, this means Medusa’s Lair will be off limits for a while at least.
E-2 Wilderness, Teleportation!
This is where things start to really get weird. E-2 was the final desert area, so that’s why I went there, to try and complete the “Explore the desert” quest I was sort of on. Spoilers, it didn’t work. Even after mapping the whole thing, I couldn’t complete the quest. I remember Killburn telling me to report to the other lords, but I tried with Hacker and Inspectron and got nowhere. I may have to try with some of the other lords.
In any case, as I said, the place was full of teleporter traps, so it took a while and a lot of deaths to fully map it. Eventually, I found an oasis, sort of like the one with the clerics in D-1, and that’s when it got weird.
There was a crashed alien craft there, with an alien who I had a choice to be aggressive, neutral or friendly to. Choosing friendly had him tell me one of his guys is posing as a false lord, so I should be careful. I don’t know which lord that is, since I haven’t met all of them yet, but I guess I’ll find out.
Oh, he also referred to my party as “varnlings”, so I’m guessing the name of the world where Might and Magic Book One takes place is Varn? I should’ve maybe read the manual or something.
There was one more thing here. Behind the alien, there was an alien device, which gave everyone in the party an extra 4 in Intellect, which was pretty cool.
Ruins of castle Dragadune, E-1
I still didn’t find the shrine under Dusk, so I thought it might be in castle Dragadune. If it was, I didn’t find it. What I did find was that castle Dragadune consists of four levels. The first three were actually relatively easy, but the last one is insanely difficult, or extremely easy, provided you get really, really luck.
First of all, let’s see what it is that I found in there…
- A fountain at level 1, giving everyone +4 to luck
- Another silver message at level 1, this one labeled F. This means there are at list six of them, and I have four. It as cryptic, as the other three:
- The passage to the area below Dusk on level 2. It’s actually a useful shortcut, avoiding several fixed encounters.
- Notes from a guy named Croak, who I’ve been reading about even back in Serial. All I know is that he’s some sort of legend and he “rediscovered” Dusk.
- Messages about some sort of checkered pattern. Various walls were covered with it and it’s important, somehow.
- Another golden message, this one numbered 8. I already have number 6, as well as one that wasn’t numbered. They seem to form an anagram of some sort, but I can’t figure it out yet:
- A “Cult of the New Order”. They might be related to the checkered pattern, or to the golden messages. I just fought a group when I entered a room with this name on it.
- Clerics of the south at level 4, but they want me to strike three gongs throughout the level.
And this is where the difficulty lies. Level four very rarely has random encounters and most of them are manageable. There are barriers scattered throughout the level, which block the passage to the three gongs, but also allow me to enter various teleporting traps. These traps can, at random, send me to one of the gongs.
The problem is that there are also a bunch of fixed and extremely difficult encounters throughout the level and very often, the traps sent me to rooms where I can’t avoid these encounters. Even when that doesn’t happen, I often end up in a random encounter which is too difficult and I lose all of my progress. What’s worse, the teleport traps sometimes throw you into an encounter directly, so you never now.
Basically, you need to get extremely lucky, or you need to be strong enough to handle the difficult encounters. Without either, the clerics won’t help me. Maybe I’m missing something, but that’s what it looks like right now.
That being said, I definitely am getting stronger. I found another defense cloak and gave it to Rax, my robber. Now four of my characters have an armor class of 11, so I can hold out quite well.
Lancelot is currently level 9, while the rest of my party is still at 8, but is slowly getting to the next level. I’m not sure when I’m getting level 5 spells, but hopefully, it isn’t too far ahead.
I’m definitely not stuck. There are still areas to explore and revisit. It’s just that I managed to pick the wrong region to go to next.
Also, the maps and other stuff are coming along nicely. Here’s the link to my Google Drive if you want to check the files out: