Spending a few days in Tundara was enough for us to realize we were just wasting our time. Fighting any battle in the magically protected outer walls of the city was more or less impossible. We decided to move on, by taking the portal to Vulcania.
Though Vulcania was not plagued by any specific issues, it was quickly proven to be a more dangerous place than even Tundara. The streets were roaming with powerful creatures, with an ambush waiting around every corner. The creatures seemed organized and well equipped, as if someone was helping them. Keeping that in mind, we had very little issue with relieving them of their equipment, taking it as our own.
The entire northern part of town was apparently lost to the creatures. No one even dared approach these streets, which allowed us to investigate freely and even find a Lava Bomb someone left behind. Aside from that, all we found was injuries and death. What coin we managed to acquire in the previous towns was all but lost now.
Our funds dropped so low, we considered abandoning our plan to explore the Atlantium, the fifth town, at least for now.
Vulcania is an ancient town, surrounded in prophecies, one of which was the motif the main square was designed around. Four statues decorated the square, each carrying one part of the prophecy:
Water, Fire, Earth and Air All have a King in their Lair. They hold the talons you need to find to save Cron before its time.
If our experience in Varn told as anything, it’s that ancient prophecies and cryptic messages almost always hold a meaning. Cron must have guardians, just as Varn did, and we will need to fight them eventually.
Against our better judgement and in disagreement with our wallet, we decided to explore the final of the five largest cities of Cron anyway. We took the portal from Vulcania and our trip was over before it began.
Sadly, our funds were an even bigger issue in Atlantium. The local mages demanded an exorbitant membership fee of 50 000 gold pieces, as did the local locksmith for his services. The other establishments were somewhat cheaper, but Atlantium was definitely to most expensive of the towns we have visited. We decided to leave as soon as we can and only return once money wasn’t an issue anymore.
That being said, we did pay a visit to the local temple to make a donation, as we did with each town we visited.
Atlantium was explored extremely quickly, mostly due to its modern, planned layout, which made the town far less confusing to navigate than what we were used to. Soon enough, our map was complete and we used the portal to return to Middlegate.
As with Might and Magic Book One, Gates to Another world has five towns, with the next more expensive than the previous. The difference is, they are all connected with each other, each town having a portal to two other towns, except for Middlegate, which only has a portal to Sandsobar.
I made a donation to each temple because, though I missed what Nordona was telling me after I freed her children, I did find out I needed to do this through other means: Why? I’ll explain that in a moment.
First, I have to say that I ran out of skill slots. I didn’t really count the number of skills and I somehow assumed only the robber has thievery, but apparently, each character only has two slots and I ran out of them two towns ago. This sort of sucks, because Atlantium was offering training in Gladiator combat, Athleticism and Heroism, among others, while Vulcania had Soldier and Arms Master.
Atlantium also had statues, one for every class, with hints pertaining to some sort of special, class related characters and me needing to defeat them. This might be an early instance of class quests or something like that.
Yes, home. The portal from Varn was a one-way journey, so we will have to make Middlegate our home from now on.
After a meal at the Slaughtered Lamb, we stopped by at the local temple. The priest heard of our generous donation and gave as something he called a Fe Farthing as a token of gratitude. We had no idea what it was, but we knew exactly what to do with it – the fountain at the northeast corner of the town.
We threw or flicked, as the faeries would say, the farthing inside the fountain and out came a key with a royal emblem engraved on it. We weren’t sure but we decided to give it a try.
We took the northern road out of town and rushed towards Castle Woodhaven. As expected, this was the key we required to enter the castle.
Being a guest at a lord’s castle, this time in a land where Lords actually hold some power and aren’t just remnants of a destroyed civilization, we decided not to look around too much, instead going directly to the throne room.
Lord Hoardall gave us a quest. We are to find a Sharp Sabre and bring it to him…
It seems power corrupts. Not morally or ethically, but in a very mundane manner. Lord Hoardall has an issue with hoarding. His halls are covered with random trash, most of it completely useless, and now he wants more of it.
Very well, if this is what it takes to get some information, we will find him a sharp sabre.
As with Book One, Might and Magic Book Two keeps up with weird, but descriptive character names. There were Nordon and Nordona as a brother and sister in Middlegate, and now there’s Lord Hoardall as a compulsive hoarder. I was able to pick between four levels of quests and the one I got was the lowest, Page level. Since my computer locked up during this, I actually went in a second time, which made me realize the quest is random – you simply need to bring in a randomly selected item.
This is the type of design I strongly dislike, because it involves far too much luck, but It’s not anything game breaking, if the importance of Lord quests in Might and Magic Book One was any indication.
Back to Step One
The issue here is, though we visited the major towns, and now even spoke to a lord, there is no clear goal in sight. It’s obvious that Cron is in trouble, everyone feels it, but no one other than the dead Corak has even an inkling of an idea what that trouble is.
We were back at the start, with no clue where to go next, so we did what we do best. Explore.
We went east.
We found nothing
There was the hostile lord’s Castle, there were cliffs and there was the Desert of Desolation.
We went south.
We followed the road towards Sandsobar until we deemed ourselves to be sufficiently far away from Middlegate and ventured into the wilderness. Crossing the river flowing south from Middlegate, we soon entered a dense grove of oak trees. Druids used this grove for their ritual and they were not happy with us infringing on their sacred grounds, so they attacked us before we could explain ourselves.
Drudis are zealots, quick to attack and kill, generally causing more trouble than their worth, so we had no moral issues with fighting them.
Five pillars within the forest formed a loose circle around an altar at the center. Each pillar was engraved with a rune. Translated into the common tongue, the runes corresponded with the letters R, U, D, I and S. The altar asked for a password and we couldn’t believe it was that easy.
The password was druids.
So much for the legendary druidic wisdom. My guess is this was some fringe druidic cult, consuming far too much of the grasses they use for rituals. Entering the password would open up a chute into a cavernous passage, but our experience was telling us we would not be able to climb back up via the same route, so we decided against entering it for now.
Instead, we quickly mapped the rest of the area and flew back to Middlegate. Yes, Aleen is able to use Fly again, so exploration will be far less painful from now on. It has been 99 days since we arrived at Cron now, and it was time to rest.
Seriously, though. The password was druids, and you’re supposed to figure it out based on the letters on the stone circle. Sure, it technically is an anagram puzzle, but the solution was immediately obvious.
I actually did go inside the dungeon, but I saw I wasn’t able to go back up, so I decided to use the clerical spell Surface to get out and continue exploring the overworld, but not before going back to Middlegate because my bags were full.
In any case, I’ll be exploring the wilderness for the time being, since the milestone of exploring every town is accomplished.
Side Note: Party Progress
As I said, I’ll be updating on the progress of the party in each of these reports. First of all, none of the characters leveled up. I’ve mostly been fighting low level enemies or running away from fights, so I didn’t get enough experience. All of the characters are close, though.
Since nothing happened in the level department, I’ll be listing skills and gear upgrades. Again, all of the characters know Thievery, there’s no changing that, it seems.
Lorelei, the Knight
Lorelei didn’t receive any equipment upgrades. She knows the Cartographer and Crusader skills.
Priscilla, the Paladin
Priscilla received no upgrades either. She has the Soldier and Arms Master skills.
Rax, the Robber
Rax upgraded her Ice Scale Mail +3 to an S Chain Mail +4. I assume the “I” stands for ice, but I have no idea what the “S” stands for. In any case, it’s an AC upgrade. She knows the Mountaineer and PickPocket skills, though I have no idea how to use PickPocket. Her Thievery is at 70%.
Alana, the Cleric
Alana ditched her Scale Armor +3 and replaced it with Rax’s Ice Scale Mail +3. It was a straight armor class upgrade and it adds resistance to frost, so it was a no-brainer. She knows the Diplomat and Gladiator skills.
Robin, the Archer
Robin received no equipment upgrades. She knows the Pathfinder and Merchant skills.
Aleen, the Sorcerer
I didn’t even realize, but the Sorceror typo has been fixed in Gates to Another World, so I can finally stop making this mistake.
Aleen received no equipment upgrades. She knows the Gambler and Navigator skills.
I should add that I have no idea what most of these skills do. I should probably go back to reading the manual. I’ll probably do that before the next session, but I make no promises.