Might and Magic Book One is light on the story, but from what I can tell, Book Two aims to remedy this, at least to a degree. Even the manual starts with a story about Corak.
Corak the Mysterious
Corak was mentioned in Book One in several places, known as a great explorer, warrior and hero. He was the one who rediscovered Dusk and the last mention of him I saw in Book One was in the Ruins of Castle Dragadune, on wall inscriptions.
Well, as it turns out, Corak might just be an alien, though maybe not one of the aliens we encountered in the first game. He was in Varn searching for the escaped alien prisoner, the being called Sheltem.
But before that, there was the story of how the world of Cron was created.
First, there was nothing. Then something came out of nothing, and it allowed for life to form – the elementals appeared, fire, water and air. Then the earth elementals arrived and created the landmass of Gralkor. The other elementals tried to push them back but failed.
Soon, strange, pathetically weak humanoid creatures arrived. They weren’t powerful, but they were adaptable and soon spread all over Gralkor. Gralkor tried to destroy them, but the humanoids used magic and created a terrible weapon – a magical orb held by four talons, each talon capable of controlling one of the four elements.
Kalohn, a human male, weak in magic but somehow capable of surviving the orb’s effects, used the weapon to defeat and banish the four elemental lords to the four corners of Cron. He places a talon in each of these corners and kept the Orb for himself.
For nine centuries, civilization prospered, but then one of the lords struck back. Unable to enter the world again, he studied magic instead, and created a terrible creature – the first dragon. The power of the Orb faded with time, so Kalohn was defeated with ease, but the creature itself fell as well.
Centuries later, sword and sorcery rule Cron, where law and order used to rule.
CRON? I thought it was V.A.R.N. Well, the subtitle of Might and Magic Book Two is Gates to Another World, isn’t it? Also, we used a portal to get here. My best guess is that Cron is Corak’s original world.
A New World, With the Old Team
We will be following canon here. In Book One, Loreley, Priscilla, Rax, Robin, Alana and Aleen used the gates to another world to enter Cron. Because of that, they will be continuing the story of book two, so a transfer was made.
How to Transfer from Might and Magic Book One to Book Two?
It’s simple, really. Open the folder of Might and Magic Book One, find the file roster.dta and copy it to the folder of Might and Magic Book Two. I’m talking about the GOG version of the games here, of course. Once you copy it to the proper location, start Might and Magic Book Two and opt to transfer characters. DOSBox will place the game’s initial folder under C:\, so just type in C:\ROSTER.DTA
How does Transfer work in Might and Magic Book Two?
Again, it’s relatively simple. Characters above level 7 will be level 7 at the start of the game. Gold will drop down to 1000, gems to 100 and food will be placed at 40. As far as I know, age transfers. All attributes will drop down to 20. Anything below these values transfers over directly as it is.
We start in Middlegate, on day 1 of the year 900, at the inn. One step forward, and we are greeted by the spirit of Corak.
Fantastic adventure awaits you. Challenging quests abound and battles innumerable must be fought. Do you have the might to emerge victorious? Only time will tell.
A thought crosses our minds. Why would Corak imply might is required to emerge victorious. Why wouldn’t magic be sufficient? One would think both would be equally valued in this world. The spirit was gone before we could ask, though.
In any case, the passage through the world gates seems to have had an effect on Aleen and Alana. They have forgotten the incantations for some of their basic spells, including Location. Hopefully, someone in Middlegate will be able to teach them.
Dragons do not seem to be an issue in Cron, because Middlegate is a surface town. Homes with rooftops were a thing of stories and books until now.
Services seem to be of a higher quality in Cron as well, with the local tavern offering both drinks and food. We tipped the bartender in hopes to get some information. Apparently, bartenders in Cron are as cryptic as in VARN. “Childern at 0,15” was all she would tell us.
The tavern also offers some delicacies, but with names like Horror’s d’oevures and Soup de Ghoul, we decided not to take such a risk for now. Risks seem to be following as, though, because walking around the tavern, we soon fell through a fake wall and into an encounter with some killer cadavers, sprites and witch’s cats. How do we know they’re witch’s cats? Well, they are black and wear pointy hats.
And with that, our first battle was won. The cadavers were the only threat in that group of monsters, so they were the first to fall. Once they were disposed of, it was easy to deal with some cats and sprites.
The Gateway Temple
The local temple offered familiar services, but was also able to teach us some of the spells we forgot, as well as some new ones, albeit for a fee. It was definitely a place of business, with the truly useful spells being far costlier than the meager cantrips.
Middlegate had no training arena such as the ones we had in Varn. Instead, training was offered out in the open, in a walled of area, by a man named Turkov. Though we required no training at this moment, we took the time to get to know the man who will be honing our skills for the foreseeable future.
The Wizard, Nordon
The tradition of adventurers doing unusual services to people of power seems to live in Cron as much as it did in Varn. In a passage south of Turkov’s training area, there was a door. Passing next to hit, we heard a voice summoning as inside. The wizard Norton immediately recognized our profession and asked us for our services:
Numerous rewards will be yours if you retrieve one of my magical golden goblets, ruthlessly stolen by the dreaded goblins who dwell in the cave below.
The people of Cron are much more talkative and forthcoming when it comes to asking for help. Had this been a Varnling wizard, he would have probably say something in the lines of “Get me my cup and the reward is yours!”, without providing any information whatsoever.
S. J. Blacksmith
Though we’ve been searching for it from the start, since we couldn’t take any equipment with us through the gate, it was only later that we managed to find the local blacksmith. He seems to offer some specials which change daily, but none of those interested us. Instead, we bought a set of basic weapons and armor to equip ourselves.
Hopefully, killing monsters is as lucrative in Cron as it was in Varn, so soon, blacksmiths will be buying from us instead of the other way around.
We found a secret room both behind the blacksmith and behind the inn. Within both, we found monsters, no doubt planning some type of mass robbery. While they were easy enough to dispose of, a moment of carelessness while opening one of the chests of equipment they had with them caused a trap to trigger, killing Lorelei. Sadly, this meant we were forced to part with 700 of the 6000 gold we took with us from Varn. Hopefully, we will make up for it quickly.
This actually came true quickly. Items are dropping from monsters left, right and center in Might and Magic Book Two. I’ve been regularly receiving Plate Armor +2 from random fights. There also seems to be much more variety, possibly even prefix-based item generation, but I might be wrong there.
A woman named Nordona was living in a large home to the southwest. The house was so large, we wrongly assumed it was a public service building, so we barged in without knocking. She was startled and asked us to leave, so we apologized and did just that.
Just north of her home was a portal, usable by the public. For a fee, it can take anyone to a place called Sandsobar. The portal operator was not talkative, so we weren’t able to find out what type of place Sandsobar is. For now, we will remain in Middlegate.
An expert locksmith owned a shop in the west of town, right next door to a ranger. The locksmith was a strange one, trying to offer us a strange key for the price of 500 gold, claiming it would be worth it. Later on, as our riches grew bigger and 500 gold seemed like spare change, we decided to pay up and take the gamble.
The ranger, on the other hand, offered to teach us how to travel through forests more effectively, for a hefty price of 2000 gold. We weren’t sure how useful exactly would that be, so we politely refused, at least for now.
Not all tutors in Middlegate were so interested in profit, though. A humble cartographer, living in the northwest of town, offered to teach us his trade for just a symbolic fee of 10 gold. Lorelei agreed, so she will be handling our maps from now on.
Overall, Middlegate has as much content as several Varn towns combined, with a castle added on top. Not a single house was empty and a lot of characters offered training in skills, which is a new addition to Gates to Another World. Each character has three skill slots, so it’s important to pick wisely, though not too wisely, since there’s also a character in Middlegate offering skill deletion services.
A New World Indeed
A town as buzzing with activity as Middlegate didn’t exist in Varn for centuries. The more we explored, the more aware we became of the damage the dragons caused to the Varn civilization. Unable to return to the old world, we could only hope that our past accomplishment would give the people of Varn a chance to grow. For now, all we could do was to take in as much of this new world as we could, including the nonsensical parts like the one we encountered in the northeast of town.
There was a seemingly normal fountain there. Upon our approach, these words formed in our minds:
Fanciful Feldecarb Fountain flows full as fluttering faeries frolic fastidiously. Flick a farthing?
Answering positively would result in the faeries simply naming as fools and sending us on our way. Perhaps this is an elaborate puzzle created by a wizard with a sense of humor. In any case, there was nothing to be done about it right now, so we decided to leave it as it is.
I have no idea what a “farthing”. It sounds like money and it would make sense with this being a fountain, but I’m really not sure. In any case, I don’t have it yet.
Time to do Good
We found the stairs leading to the dungeon below and began to map this dangerous place. The fights were numerous, and the foes attacked in large numbers, but eventually, we prevailed and made sure to map the entire layout of the cavern to facilitate future adventurers.
Seriously, I’ve heard about this issue, but I didn’t know it was that bad. The enemies really are numerous, which makes the fights a bit tedious sometimes. At one point, I was attacked by about 50 bloodsuckers. Sure, they couldn’t do anything to me, but it still took a while for me to kill them all. I need a group targeting spell, stat.
On the other hand, one thing became much less tedious – mapping. There’s a fountain next to the Middlegate Inn basically provides you with a mini-map of your immediate surroundings. Additionally, the game maintains the entire map of the area, which is shown when you use the Location spell. All you have to do is step on a tile to have it mapped.
Also, your orientation (north, west, east and south) is constantly displayed on the screen, so it’s much harder to lose your bearings.
I’m still drawing my own map, though. The game doesn’t show secret passages or locations of note – just walls and doors, so it isn’t perfect yet.
It was only a matter of time before we wound the goblin headquarters and retrieved the Golden Goblet from their leader. Nordon was grateful and even taught us the Eagle Eye spell before sending us to his sister, the women whose home we so rudely barged in before.
Eagle Eye gives the same effect as the fountain next to the inn, so I’ll be constantly using the mini-map from now on. Sadly, I still don’t have a group attack spell.
She had another task for us. Her children were stolen by the kobolds below. Strange thing about it, though. We have already beaten the kobolds and there were no signs of the children – only empty shackles.
We feared the worst and rushed to their lair. Luck was on our side. It would seem that the child-stealing group wasn’t present when we last stormed the place. They had the children with them and soon they were safe at home with their mother, Nordonna.
That’s some clever naming right there – Nordon and Nordonna. I’d love to have a chat with those parents. I really did think I was looking for children. Even the barmaid referred to them as children.
She to, was grateful and her children were now available for hire at the Middlegate Inn. What? Apparently, those caves are darker than I though, because I presumed I was rescuing children. The fact that they were abducted by kobolds strengthened my assumptions.
We went to see them in the light of day and our suspicions proved true. They were pathetically weak, certainly no fit four our experienced group.
The two guys I rescued are the first available hirelings, which is another addition to Might and Magic Book Two. Hirelings have a daily salary, but it’s the only way to have more than six characters, so I’m sure they’re worth it eventually. I’m just not sure how range works with 8 characters, especially with these two being melee combatants.
It’s been well over twenty days since we arrived to Middlegate and it was finally time to leave the town.
Well, actually I have left once, because I wanted to see if Location gives me zone coordinates when I use the spell outside – it doesn’t. I also encountered something weird as soon as I got out, but more on that next time.