We gained access to a cave that used to be guarded by crazed druids. Barging into random caves is no way for an intelligent adventurer to act. We needed a plan and for that, we needed to know the lay of the land.
We returned to the Oak Grove, continuing to explore in the western direction. The river flowing south from Middlegate widened here, either flowing into a proper lake, or perhaps even into the sea. Tasting water just for the sake of knowing this seemed as not very prudent in a world as reddened with magic as Cron is, so we decided on being patient and contended with finding the true nature of the bay at a later time.
At the centre of the lake, there was a small patch of land. From a distance, it simply looked like an island with a small hill, but was we got closer, things grew disturbing. The island was connected to the mainland with a thin strip of dirt, impossible not to have been swept away by the tides by now. More importantly, the area surrounding the hill was completely flat – not flat in the geographical sense, flat in the geometrical sense. There was not a curve to be found.
The hill was no ordinary hill either. It was hiding a castle. At the road towards it, there was a sign, simply proclaiming Evil Zone. At the gates, there was another sign, proclaiming Sorcerers Only. This was enough for us to turn around and go north. Whatever that place was, it was unnatural and probably too dangerous.
This is probably one part of the two areas described by the sorcerer statue in Atlantium. Stuff like this seems like end-game content, so I decided to avoid it for now.
On the northern shore of this large body of water, there was a serene forest with smoke rising over the trees. The smoke belonged to a campsite built by an old knight. We approached and greeted him. He welcomed us to his camp and we talked for a spell. He revealed to be a knight, former in the service of the King. His passion has always been jousting, but he has no one to compete against anymore.
Lorelei was a fresh face, so he asked us to challenge him, but his skill turned out to be beyond her abilities. He said he’ll be waiting for the day when we get strong enough and sent us on our way. Before leaving, he told as to look for a passage in the dense forest to the north.
We followed his advice and indeed did find a path through the forest and into the mountains beyond. As soon as we stepped into a clearing, suddenly everything went dark and the mountainside turned into stone walls. Somehow, we got teleported into a stone structure.
With no clue where we ended up and slightly terrified, Alana immediately used her Surface spell. We appeared in front of a castle – The Great Luxus Palace Royale. Aleens scrying revealed us to be beyond the pass guarded by the hostile lord’s castle, north of the Desert of Desolation. A way to go past the enemy was indeed an important find, but for now, we simply used Fly to go back to Middlegate.
After a short rest, we returned to the strange mountain area and quickly realised there are three other magical portals, each leading to a castle. This might prove useful in the future, but with our knowledge of magical flight, Aleen has a hard time understanding how this is preferable and the rest of us lean on agreeing with her.
The Jouster is a random encounter and he hits like a train. From what I can tell, he’s described by the Knight statue in Atlantium, so it’s another class quest. Everything I wrote here, I pretty much made up. There’s no conversation involved. It’s simply a hostile encounter with a very strong enemy that I had to run away from.
As for the teleport, it’s actually a hub. Four teleports lead one to each castle – the Royal Palace as well as castles Pinehurst, Woodhaven and Hillstone. I guess it’s a sort of shortcut for those who like to use it. As with Secret of the Inner Sanctum, there’s little point to it with the Fly spell.
Days Go By
It’s been twenty days since we discovered the portal mountain. Through this time, we used the teleports as well as other methods to explore a relatively large part of the world. We now know how all four of the castles are connected with the five towns and we mostly have full knowledge of the main roads. As for the wilderness, there is still a lot to explore.
To the south of Castle Pinehurst, there, past a network of hidden passages, there is an area inhabited with trolls. Trolls are brutish and mindless creatures, but they are easy to kill and they somehow got their hands on a lot of treasure, probably by scavenging the corpses left behind by the undead infestation nearby. We might periodically return here to refresh our supply of gold and items.
Seriously! These trolls might be story related, because they only attack one at a time, but they almost always drop some good treasure, so it pays to attack them. They are also relatively nearby, if you don’t use the secret passage from the Pinehurst area (A2). You can actually approach the region from B3, where the access to the four portals is, or you can simply Fly there directly, since I’m now familiar with region coordinates.
While we’re at the subject of region coordinates, I did my counting after making progress on the world map, and it seems Middlegate is in C2, just like Sorpigal was. With that in mind, the portals are in B2, but they need to be accessed from B3. The Oak Grove is in C3 and the troll area is in A3.
Also, the world either seems to wrap around, or there exist inaccessible parts, because I can definitely see a desert west of Pinehurst, even though Castle Pinehurst is placed at the western wedge of A2. If the world wraps around, this might be the Desert of Desolation, which starts in D2 and definitely continues to E2.
The undead weren’t the only thing on the peninsula in the bay, though. A host cloud dragons with their wyvern subjugates made the peninsula their nesting ground. This would actually explain the undead. No doubt the countless victims of the cloud dragons included necromancers or creatures of magic, which would cause the undead to rise.
As lucrative as fighting the lone trolls was, defeating the dragons was far more so, though also infinitely more dangerous.
There are two encounters against a cloud dragon and a pair of wyverns on the peninsula in A-3. These are tough fights, but with healing, I can survive long enough to just barely beat them. They drop a huge amount of gold and usually some pretty good item rewards. I got several upgrades here before I decided to move on.
The dragons also imprisoned a small battalion of knights. I offered to free them, but the zealots were under command of the hostile lord we already had dealings with. Even approaching their cages was accompanied by threats and weapons being drawn.
We had no intention to risk our lives freeing someone who would attack us immediately after the act, so we let them rot.
They did have mercenaries with them, though. Luckily, the two friendly faces were caged separately, so we free them and they made a run for the nearest town, telling us to find them there if we ever need an extra pair of swords.
There’s a bunch of small islands to the south, each with a cage on them. One of the cages holds two hirelings. They tell you where they’ll be waiting once you free them, but I wasn’t paying attention so I don’t know where that is. This is why I said “the nearest town”.
As for the other islands, those cages contain hostile encounters against White Knights. I have no idea how to do damage to these guys, so I just didn’t free them for now. The thing about the hostile lord is just something I made up to make sense of it.
I only explored the islands in the A-3 area, though there seems to be a few more in the A-4 area to the south.
The Plane of Water
At two occasions, while scouting the sea with Walk on Water, we accidentally entered a magical whirlpool, which took us to a strange area of unknown location. We explored this area for a bit, so we are certain it was the same place on both occasions, but we didn’t stay there for too long.
Despite the dangers involved, thorough exploration has proven to be fruitful once again. A pack of monsters in the western part of the bay held a magical trident of great beauty, made out of dark steel. It was sharp and it was well crafted, that much was obvious. Lorelei immediately took it in her hands, giving her magical sickle to Priscilla. Priscilla was apprehensive at first, but soon saw the wisdom in this action. She can heal, but Lorelei cannot. If there is only one thing you can do in a fight, you might as well do it to the best of your abilities.
We don’t have much knowledge of the elemental origin of Cron, but this was certainly an entrance to the elemental plane of Water. Even lingering there for a few moments transferred magical knowledge into our minds, teaching us the incantations required to cast the Water Encasement spell.
We managed to get back to Middlegate with the help of magical flight.
The area is isolated and I wasn’t able to figure out where it is on the world map, but it’s definitely on the surface, since I could use Fly to get away. There’s a portal to the plane of Water in the southwest, but I didn’t take it yet, assuming it’s far too dangerous right now.
The Edge of Desert
We decided to go the other way, to the Desert of Desolation, to explore its outer edges and figure out the size of it.
On the southwestern side of the desert, there was a large, but sparse forest. In the southern part, a group of shamen held their rituals and they did not appreciate us interrupting them. In the northern part, there lived a tribe of leprechauns.
These mischievous creatures might not be physically dangerous, but for anyone with monetary ambitions, they are the worst thing they could encounter. A leprechaun possesses the ability to remove any wealth a person holds and transfer it into a magical micro-dimension of their own making.
A leprechaun is a natural bandit of the worst kind. They can remove your wealth in an instant and there is nothing you can do about it.
A shaman can cast Paralysis on the entire party, which sucks big time. With a lucky shot, they can easily kill your party instantly, without doing any real damage to them.
As for the leprechauns, they are as I said. They can instantly destroy all of your wealth and they did this to me on several occasions. Luckily, they also drop about 50-55 thousand gold in total if you defeat them, so they never leave you completely broke. Still, thanks to all the dragon slaying, I was rich and now I’m not any more.
The desert was large, too large. We needed our rest.
Side Note: Party Progress
Levels! I got a level!
Might and Magic Book Two has that latest MMO expansion effect when it comes to leveling. Getting from level 9 to level 10 was painfully long, and getting to 11 will be exponentially longer.
The thing is, I can’t be sure why that is. It’s possible that the game is balanced that way, but it’s also very possible that I’m simply lagging behind in equipment, due to starting at level 7 with the character transfer, which is why I’m unable to fight level-appropriate battles yet.
I’ve noticed that higher level battles do offer experience in the thousands and gold in tens of thousands, so it might be that things will speed up eventually. Even if they don’t, the sheer amount of item upgrades is more than enough to keep me going, regardless of leveling.
But let’s get back to our side note. How’s the party progressing? Since I only noted the upgrades last time, I’ll list all of the equipment this time.
Lorelei, the Knight
- Plate Mail +2
- Iron Helm +1
- Quiet Sling +2
- Magic Charm
- Dark Trident
- Hero Medal +2
I found the Dark Trident in the sea of A-3, guarded by a monster encounter. It’s a definite upgrade over the Ice Sickle, which is a slight upgrade over the Flamberge +2 which Priscilla was using at the time.
Priscilla, the Paladin
- Iron Helm +1
- Voltage Bpw +1
- Plate Armor +2
- Hero Medal
- Ice Sickle +2
Rax, the Robber
- Crossbow +2
- Thief’s Pick +2
- Blazing Axe +4
- Silent Horn +3
- Large Shield +3
Alana, the Cleric
- Hero Medal
- Quick Flail +2
- Scale Armor +6
- Large Shield +3
- Helm +4
Robin, the Archer
- Great Bow +1
- War Hammer +2
- Hero Medal +2
- Ray Gun +1
- Chain Mail +4
Aleen, the Sorceress
- Dagger +4
- Magic Charm +3
- Silent Horn +1
- Padded Armor +2
I went through several items which were straight upgrades over the things I had on me, but which had alignment limitations that stopped me from using them.
It looks like alignment limitations are random in Might and Magic Book Two. In the Inner Sanctum, specific items had specific limitations, but here, I’ve seen Hero Medals for evil, good and neutral characters. I had to sell some very powerful items due to this.