The desert was large and dangerous. The result of our exploration was not matching our efforts. There was a dangerous cave and there was sand; nothing else. Within a few days, we were back in Middlegate.
To the Goblin Lands
To the northeast, there were the goblin lands. A few weeks ago, we went there, hoping to find Vulcania, but gave up after several goblin ambushes. We were stronger now.
We were much stronger now.
The goblins posed no threat at all. Even their orc leader could barely put a dent in our defenses.
In fact, they were pathetically week, to the point where we took pity and them and decided not to raid their villages.
There was a reason he goblins settled there, though. Dragons don’t bother with pathetic creatures and goblins don’t bother with pride, so the nearby dragon flight served as convenient, though slightly dangerous protection.
For us, the flight served as a source of gold and danger for a while, but not for too long. They seemed far to organized, so we did not want to risk meeting the brood mother (or –father, we do not discriminate).
The area near the road in D-1 had frequent goblin ambushes. Goblins are weak, but they attacked in scores here, so it was a bit annoying to fight them. There were also a few goblin villages where the game gives the choice to raid or ignore them. For now, we ignored, but they probably reset anyway.
North of the road, you mostly fight Cloud Dragons and Earth Wyrms. Both can be defeated, but with some bad luck, both encounters can be extremely dangerous. The biggest danger, though, is the fact that one of the encounters, which seems to be random, is against an extremely dangerous opponent whose name I forgot. What I do know is that can do several hundred points of damage to everyone in the party, so there’s no chance in hell I can defeat it right now.
At the far end of the dragon infested area, there’s a cave called the Dragon Dominion. Suffice to say, I got in and immediately went out.
At the far east of the road, in a small canyon, there’s a fixed encounter against a large group of orcs and their leader. As with goblins, orcs are weak. Their leader can pack quite a punch, though, so it’s important to kill him first. The encounter provides decent experience for the effort, but not much else. It might be quest-related or something.
Further east, we realized how close we to Vulcania when we gave up a few weeks ago. “Just around the corner” would be a very appropriate phrase here. Unfortunately, the name of the city is Vulcania for a reason. It was built near a volcano, and the volcano is active.
Getting murdered by falling debris did not interest us so we returned to Middlegate, as we always do.
Vulcania is at the very edge of E1. A few steps past the city, you get a chance of randomly being hit by eruption debris and outright killed, so there was no point in trying to explore the place for now. There’s also an alternative route into E1 in the northern part of D1, but the same thing happens a few steps in.
The Southern Marshes
We’ve been to Sandsobar, but we are still not familiar with the lands between it and Middlegate. We knew there was the castle Hillstone along the way, but that’s all we knew.
Instead of visiting Hillstone and getting another, undoubtedly pointless task from the local madm… err, lord, we decided to explore the nearby marshes. Certainly, there would be poison and disease, but there’s bound to be treasure as well.
First, we took a walk along the edge of the marshlands, simply to get an idea of how large they actually are. The walk took us several days, so it’s safe to say the marshlands are large.
Several days later, after some preparation with items and spells, we stepped into the muck, starting from the eastern side.
Mostly, it was empty and flat. Packs of aggressive swamp dogs roamed freely, but they posed no threat to our experienced group.
Several large rocks decorated the landscape, with bright lights floating around them. It was a thing of beauty from a distance. From up close, it was pain and death for the careless – lightning bugs.
There was a cave in the middle of the marshes, with signs discouraging random adventurers from entering. For now, we decided to take heed, but soon, we would be back and ready to loot and pillage, or more likely, carefully map and explore.
As I said, the two swamp areas (D4, C4) were mostly empty. A few cliffs have fixed encounters against lightning bugs and you get attacked by swamp things, acidic blobs or random low level swamp-themed enemies. Other than that and the cave, belonging to a person named Dawn, if I remember correctly, there was nothing else.
Keeping up with our tradition, we went back to Middlegate and decided to return to the western regions, to fight orcs, corrupt merchants and gryphons, but with no intention to try and explore the snow wastes.
As it turns out, the Circus was in operation. The last time we were in the area, the season just ended, so all we found was empty ground.
It was entertainment for the common people. Our party would easily be able to handle the various tests and games, so we opted out, for the sake of giving the common folk a chance. Lancelot took part in the strength challenge once, just to get a single cupie doll as a souvenir and we moved on.
Instead, we went and took care of the orc army camped nearby. Within hours, several hundred orcs were no more.
We also took the secluded path behind the Circus grounds, where we knew wild Gryphons roamed. There were more than we expected, and the path was far longer than we thought, but after a while, we found a clearing, where the Archer was waiting.
In Atlantium, several inscriptions told legends of famous adventurers, each mastering their own craft. We already met the Jouster and the Guardian, who we’ve failed to mention in this journal. This one was the Archer and we wanted to talk to our own archer, Robin, in private. Our issue with that was that our own archer was not able to get here on his own yet, so we told the legendary adventurer we would be back later.
I already mentioned Atlantium in one of these side notes. I found the Jouster, which is supposed to be the knight, in B3. The Guardian, I’m guessing the paladin, is in C3 and apparently, the Archer is in B2. I have no idea what I need to do with these guys, but the Archer seems to require me visiting him with only Robin in my party, which I can’t do, since I would have to fight a bunch of gryphons on the way to him.
The circus provides a bunch of challenges you can take part in, but all you get for winning are cupie dolls, so there’s no point. I remember a random NPC asking for one of those, though, so I took one with me, just in case.
The Cold Northwest
After hundreds of orcs, corrupt merchants and gryphons slain, the cold northwest suddenly seemed very alluring.
This was where Tundara was geographically placed. An information such as this is something your average city-dweller does not possess, since portal travel is the standard in Cron and moving about the world on foot, by carriage or on horseback seems far too dangerous.
The snow did not hide much, but it wasn’t all for nothing. On the southern edge of the plains, just slightly north of Pinesworth Castle, an abomination of a spider had its lair. It was the size of a comfortable mansion and it seemed hungry.
Then it spoke!
What has Mark lost?
It gave us a riddle. We are to guess what Mark lost, or it would devour us. How this is a riddle, we had no idea, but we met Mark already. His camp was south of Woodhaven and every traveler knew he lost his keys. This was our answer and our reward. The Death Spider, was it called itself, gave us Mark’s keys. How the creature had them in the first place, no one is likely to ever know.
We brought them to Mark and returned to the snow plains. The area around Tundara was highly unstable and after a few days of exploration, an avalanche pushed us past the mountain barrier, into the icy area beyond.
We’ve been to a similar place before, to the south. Down there, a whirlpool pushed us to the very edge of the elemental plane of water. This, on the other hand, was obviously the elemental plain of air. Taught by our experience, we set up camp and spent some time in the area.
A few days of meditation was enough for Alana and Priscilla to create a new spell – Air Encasement. With that, we took flight and returned to Middlegate before some powerful creature would destroy us, together with the camp.
The ice plains cover almost four entire map regions, but the A1 and A2, which I explored this time, had almost nothing in them. There was the Death Spider in A2 and there was Tundara itself in A1, but other than that, there wasn’t anything of importance.
Of course, half of A1 was part of the Air Elemental Plane, though I don’t really understand how that works. On one hand, there’s a portal leading to the Plane in the area, which would imply that this wasn’t the Plane yet, but on the other hand, the message about learning the Air Encasement spell was written like this was the Plane already.
Giving Mark his keys gave us 10.000 experience points, which isn’t a huge reward, but it’s repeatable, so it could be a good source of early levels. For me, flying back and forth 20 times for a single level doesn’t sound like fun.
The air elemental area, of course, has encounters with air elementals. They hit the entire party for over 100 damage per character, so they’re beyond me for now.
Side Note: The World Map
The World Map in Might and Magic Book Two wraps, which I don’t think is something that happened in Secret of the Inner Sanctum. In the first game, the area map wrapped if you used Teleport or Etherealize, but that’s it.
It wraps in a weird way to, like it wasn’t supposed to. Snow suddenly cuts off in A2 and the desert from E2 starts in a straight line. The elemental plains are even weirder, since there’s one in each corner of the map. Basically, you move from ice to fire in a single step.
It also wraps in the north and south, so it isn’t simulating a sphere either.
I’m thinking it might be some sort of side-effect of the game engine and not something intentional. For the sake of being able to write a story, I didn’t use this to enter the fire and earth plains yet.
Side Note: Party Progress
As usual, here are my characters, and here’s where they’re at…
Lorelei, level 11 Dwarf Knight
- Iron Helm +1
- Quiet Sling +2
- Dark Trident
- Hero Medal +2
- Mgt Gauntlet +1
- Plate Mail +4
The Might Gauntlets provide 7 strength when worn and another 11 or so when used. The using part isn’t important, but the constant extra 7 to strength provided a nice boost to Lorelei’s damage.
Priscilla, level 10 Human Paladin
- Iron Helm +1
- Hero Medal
- Shaman Pipe + 7
- Magic Charm +1
- Plate Armor +2
- Ice Sickle +3
Priscilla recently reached spell level 2, so she’s more useful in that department as well, being able to take over protective spells from now on. The Ice Sickle +3 dropped randomly, which pretty much proves that the Ice Sickle +2 I got in the snow area wasn’t some special artifact.
Rax, level 11 Half-Orc Robber
- Crossbow +2
- Thief’s Pick +2
- Blazing Axe +4
- Silent Horn +3
- Great Shield +2
- S Chain Mail +4
The chain mail and the shield were Rax’s upgrades this time. Her thievery is at 72%, but we still get hit by traps very often. An important change in Might and Magic Book Two is that traps are now able to hit twice, it seems. This means that traps can kill you if you’re low on health in Gates to Another World. In Might and Magic Book One, traps would only hit once, meaning that as long as you have at least 1 health left, no trap can ever kill you, only knock you unconscious.
Alana, level 11 Gnome Cleric
- Hero Medal
- Quick Flail +2
- Large Shield +3
- Helm +4
- B Splintmail +4
Alana got the helm, the shield and the splint mail this time, so things went well for her. Her spell level also went up to 6, so she can cast strong spells. The only spells I know right now are Rejuvenate, Water Encasement and Stone to Flesh. I hope to learn more soon, but I guess I should start exploring dungeons for that.
Robin, level 10 Elf Archer
- War Hammer +2
- Hero Medal +2
- Ray Gun +1
- Chain Mail +4
- Great Bow +5
The Great Bow is the obvious upgrade this time. Compared to a regular old Long Bow +1 (I think that’s what I had), this was amazing. Robin also reached spell level 2, so she took over Eagle Eye and Protection from Magic, allowing Aleen to conserve her spell points.
Aleen, level 10 Elf Sorcerer
- Dagger +4
- Magic Charm +3
- Silent Horn +1
- Padded Armor +2
I don’t think Aleen got any upgrades this time, except maybe Padded Armor +2. She used to wear a normal padded armor, but I can’t remember when she replaced it. There’s no level 11 for Aleen yet either, which means there are no level 6 spells.