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Might&Magic Old School Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers):

JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
Looking at @BelgarathMTH enjoying a documented run through Pillars of Eternity, I've thought: why not to make a thread for other games. There're wonderful people here, and listening to their opinions and feedback is one of the best experience I have.

And it just is that I've decided a run through one of my favourite games, Might and Magic VI the Mandate of Heaven. And this is how this thread has been born.

This game was released on April 30, in 1998, and just like Baldur's Gate, has been my friend since then.

The game could be seen as "awful" and "outdated" by many players nowadays but for me it's still great, because the graphics doesn't mean much to me. The atmosphere, the gameplay, the music... They are still amazing.

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So, meet a BG-inspired party of Anomen (a paladin), Yoshimo (an archer), Aerie (a cleric) and Edwin (a sorcerer) in the world of Enroth.

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The party had "cheated death", had been taking lessons from Gorion Falagar, and after 3 year arrived to New Sorpigal.

The situation in the world is bad. New cult of Baa, the loss of king Roland, bandits and brigands everywhere.

So far, Edwin (did you doubt he's the main in the group?:) and Co has visited houses in the town, talked to people and took several quests.



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Everyone is welcome to this thread! If you like old school RPGs, if you played the Might and Magic series, have fun.

You can start your own adventures in these games (there're many of them, with Might and Magic: 6, 7 and 8 regarded as the best ever) and post your progress here. Or just have a look here from time to time.

The Might and Magic games are perfectly suited for no-reload/minimal reload runs because if all your party is killed, you're resurrected, without gold and all, but you can still continue the adventure.

Cheers!

NihilusCahirBelgarathMTH
«134

Comments

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    @bengoshi , What a wonderful idea! But darn, now I'm torn between continuing in PoE and starting one of these.

    I don't know how to take screenies in MM6. Do you know the control and what folder the shots go to? If it were on Steam, I could just use F12 and use the Steam folder, but I'll be using GoG. I wonder if GoG Galaxy has screen shot support?

    BTW: Wouldn't it make more sense to have Yoshimo develop Disarm Traps skill?

    EDIT: This is very frustrating. I can't find any information about how to take a screenshot in MM6. Google is no help at all.

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    Okay, here's the party I created to enter here. I wanted to avoid duplicating any of @Bengoshi 's choices.

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    I assume that "no reload" means the party can die, but must accept the consequences of being resurrected. Or, should a party wipe mean "game over"? If it means the first thing, I will be using the banks for the first time. Maybe "minimal reload" means keep a counter of resurrections? I know this game so well, there's a chance I won't need any, though.

    I selected party starting skills to demonstrate their classes rather than what I know to be the optimal choices. Minsc will be our all-around tank and repair item expert. Dynaheir will focus on magic and identify item. Imoen will train in disarm trap and perception. Branwen will be the party merchant. They will all develop their allowed weapons and armor to mastery.

    I'm still trying to decide whether to give Dynaheir leather armor. The game allows it, but it doesn't seem very Baldur's Gate like to put a mage into armor. I'm thinking of using Minsc in plate, Imoen in leather, Branwen in chain, and Dynaheir in no armor.

    Resurrections: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    Ohhhh yeeeaah!

    I think that a "no reload" means that the party can die and accept the consequences. This is one of the main features of the series, even the narrator uses the "cheated death" phrase.

    But you can follow another rules yourself, if you wish. Maybe a party wipe is too much for you to continue a no reload game.

    Thumbs up for following a BG spirit, Belgar! I don't remember the game too much, this is why in the character creation I gave Anomen, not Yoshimo, Disarm Traps and Perception skills - so that more skills available from the creation were possible for party members right from the start. Almost every non-weapon and non-armour skill was distributed.

    Those portraits suit Minsc and Dynaheir a lot ;)

    BelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    Okay, I guess I'll work on this for the rest of today. I went to Castle Ironfist, got bow skill for everybody in the party, and killed as many fanatics as I could get to without getting shot down by lizard men.

    - Went back to New Sorpigal to start work on clearing the area of goblins and evil mages.

    -There's already a change in what I would usually do in honor of the no-reload spirit. I've always save-scummed npc's without even thinking about it. Now, I figure that's against the spirit of the rules. Well, I just happened to stumble across two of the most valuable and rare npc's in the game, a gate master in Castle Ironfist, and an enchanter in New Sorpigal. I don't need them yet this early in the game, but I decided that it would be better to hire them now while I can, than to not be able to find them when I need them for stage two of my game. I had to both bribe and beg both of them to get them hired, and between the two of them, they will be taking 30 percent of my gold find. So, consequences and stuff. This should make playing an old favorite more interesting.

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    @Bengoshi , thanks, I think I got the hang of the Snapper utility now. It should make posting much easier. Thank you for the tip.

    Party level: one
    TPKs: zero

    JuliusBorisov
  • Sir_GarrickSir_Garrick Member Posts: 32
    This was one of my favorite games as a kid. I just finished a run of 6-8 a couple of months back. I've never tried a no-reload run, but I have tried a speed run. I think the quickest I ever beat Might and Magic 6 was about 5 months, doing every quest and using a lot of cheesy tactics.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    Hi, I hope that nobody will mind if I make multiple posts during my play sessions. It's easier for me to post as I go, rather than to finish a huge, lengthy play session and then try to sort through everything in a longer post.

    So far today I've:

    -Cleared out the (early accessible) exterior map of New Sorpigal
    -Cleared out the lesser Temple of Baa (ha, I typed "Temple of Bhaal" first) over the New Sorpigal Caves (haven't gone down into the caves yet.)
    -Cleared out the top floor of Goblinwatch.
    -Entered the Goblinwatch code, jumped to the lower levels, and fought my way back to the surface (barely).

    I'm about to go back to clear out the rest of Goblinwatch after resting and selling junk.

    In this shot, we almost get overwhelmed by goblins and vermin after jumping into the lower caves of Gobllinwatch. Dynaheir passed two blue potions of mana to Branwen so she could just barely keep us alive with First Aid spells (basically Cure Light Wounds).
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    Dynaheir has discovered through alchemy how to make Essence of Might, and Essence of Speed. For the no-reload concept, I am not looking up any formulae. I always remember the formula for Essence of Might in MM6 for some reason. I stumbled onto the formula for the Potion of Haste by sheer luck. ("Hmm, let's see what happens if I mix green with yellow.") Dynaheir died twice figuring out what could be mixed safely with a Potion of Haste, when her experiments blew up in her face. Luckily I know to only conduct alchemical experimentation while standing in front of a temple.

    All characters have now drank an Essence of Might. I decided to not drink any Essence of Speed until I could make four - I found and bought reagents and bottles to make three, plus the last Potion of Haste, when I ran one red reagent short. As soon as I can find one, we'll all have permanent Super Speed (Think Dexterity, not Haste - in this game, Speed=Dexterity, Haste=Haste)
    imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage


    I am still trying to figure out what makes an interesting no-reload screenshot for this game. A thorough journal would take hundreds of screenshots. There are so many battles, and so many interesting things to look at and take shots of. I'm thinking maybe I should just take shots of the party almost getting wiped, and then a victory shot, for those battles only, and then just otherwise summarize what we've accomplished. What do you think, @bengoshi ? I'd like to study how you update and post screenshots for your own run.

    Party Level: 3
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    In my updates I'll try to focus on the story, about how the events become more clear to the adventurers, and will try to cover every interesting detail they learned or found (so that people who didn't play the game could enjoy it as well and understand something about the game). It's like reporting a BG run. Everyone is free to post here as he/she likes, really.

    Let's see.

    Edwin and Co decided they have to find out what was going on in the world, so the first thing to do was exploring the whole area, getting acquainted with local enemies and trying to solve small quests they had gotten.

    Near the town, the party found a sword in the stone. In order to get it out Anomen had to come back to the town's centre and gulp from the locat fountain that happened to up anyone's Might score temporary. Voila! Anomen got a shiny new sword, the most powerful weapon the whole party possessed.



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    New Sorpigal was besieged by goblins and mages from nearly all sides. So the adventurers slowly began to deal with enemy groups here and there. Only Yoshimo had a bow*, Edwin could support him with damaging spells so the progress was not quick. Aerie was busy with constant healing of herself and others in the group, the Anomen's sword came handy in those moments when retreating was not an option for the group.

    *I felt that going to another area in the circustances when you don't know what's happening in the world, without getting any experience was not suitable for this run.

    After clearing the area from any mage and goblin, the adventurers found that there were 2 dungeons: the Abandoned Temple of Baa and the Goblinswatch - an old fort now inhabited by goblins.

    Also, they got a solid advice from their tutor, about the general direction of their actions:



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    "Free Haven". Where might that be?



    In the Temple that turned out to be a huge dungeon with lots and lots of corridors and sideways, the party found the Candelabra Andover Portbello asked them to find. But it was decided that returning such an evil item was a bad idea. From the gossip around the town, the adventurers began to understand any follower of Baa was not a good person for that world.

    Slowly, very slowly, with constant retreats to the local temple in order to cure poison, disease and just wounds from hard fights, the adventurers cleared all the abandoned shrine of Baa. They found a little girl missing from the town, the cobra eggs, the spider queen's heart and other useful items. Finding an enchanted axe with the fire damage and a nice bow for Yoshimo were especially handy.



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    Fighting with only one archer in the group was hard but as soon as everyone got enough XP, they left the Temple and went to get a new level (for that they had to visit a training ground in the town).

    After clearing the Temple the adventurers went to the goblins' fort. There a riddle awaited them Edwin's wit helped to find a right combination:



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    NILBOG



    After killing the last enemy in the fort (it was A LOT easier for the party after cobras, bats and spiders in the Temple of Baa) the adventurers returned to the town and decided that getting a companion bringing them more money would be a good idea (Aerie and Edwin became Experts in Meditation, getting a lot more mana points, Aerie additionally became an Expert in Body Magic, Yoshimo became an Expert in Identify Item, while Anomen became an Expert in Disarm Traps and Perception). Also, the spell books and learing skills costed a lot.

    The spellbooks were especially useful. For example, the Body Magic spell improving Accuracy. Or a Stun spell from the Earth Magic.



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    The town counsel gave them a new quest so the party had to set off for Castle Ironfist. They heard people in the town talked about bandits on the western roads, so they decided to use horses.



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    Here's the progress table:



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    Party Level: 5
    TPKs: 0
    Number of deaths of different party members: 0

    BelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    @bengoshi , Ah, okay, your run will be quite awesome to follow!

    I'm going to take a bit of a different approach. I'm going to post as though my readers already know something about the game, and try to do things a bit more like the original no-reload thread at Bioware. Some story and roleplaying, but mostly just information about what I'm doing.

    So, I unfortunately have to stop my run for tonight, but, here's what I've finally accomplished:

    I used my gatemaster to go to Mist, because I needed spear expertise for Minsc. I will eventually train Minsc in the best martial weapons I can find, and it just happened that the best weapon I've found on my first session is a spear, so, Minsc is concentrating on spears for now. Imoen's perception has gotten Minsc a suit of plate mail. We would have had no access to the plate, or a lot of other treasure, without Imoen having invested at least a little in perception. We have also been to Castle Ironfist to get plate expertise for Minsc, and both dagger expertise and disarm trap expertise for Imoen.

    After clearing the Mist map of rogues and fanatics, and collecting the quests to be had there, we will stay at the inn and then use our Gatemaster to return to New Sorpigal in order to train Dynaheir in expert fire magic.

    Up next: Clearing the Mist Islands exterior, then back to New Sorpigal and to the caves underneath the Lesser Temple of Baa there.

    I am thinking that I will keep Imoen focused on air magic. Her "class" as an "archer" follows her potential from BG as a thief>mage quite well. Dynaheir will handle the other three schools of elemental magic. Branwen is our only divine magic specialist. She has expert in Body and Spirit now, the most important two schools. The only important spells in the Mind magic school are Resist Fear, and Remove Paralysis. Branwen will wait for these, and will only ever become an "expert" in Mind magic as she becomes a "master" of Body and Spirit.

    Dynaheir will begin saving alchemical reagents to increase our stock of "Restoration" potions before she does any more experimentation. ("Restoration" potions remove almost all deadly conditions in the game, and are almost a requirement for going to Silver Cove with its paralyzing gargoyles.)

    So, as of Play Session 1, Minsc is expert in spear and plate, Dynaheir is expert in identify item and soon Fire, Imoen is expert in disarm trap and daggers (expert dagger means "dual wield" in MM6), and Branwen is expert in Body and Spirit (for "Cure Light", Bless, and Heroism as soon as I can buy or find the spellbook for Heroism.)

    My characters' skill screens are shown here:
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    Party Level: 5
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    Btw, just a fun aside - the awesome power of alchemy in the Might and Magic games makes me think of this:

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    Update 10/26/2015:

    -cleared the exterior of Mist Islands.
    -returned to New Sorpigal and completed the initial quests there.
    -travelled to Castle Ironfist and cleared out most of the exterior areas.

    I'm still trying to figure out a good posting strategy for these updates. I don't think I want to work too terribly hard on making them detailed, because I get the feeling that only @bengoshi is even remotely interested. Is there an audience for these posts?

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, I took a lot of them. I was thinking of trying to describe every photo or set of photos, but maybe I'll just post the photos. Also, if there is interest in the run, maybe I should just post photos every play session of where my four Baldur's Gate characters are as far as their character development, and there's also a screen I can post that lists all my completed quests.

    Doing this has given me an idea for a potential Baldur's Gate run where I actually choose one of the NPC's and play that NPC as the Bhaalspawn. The "doppelganger" would then not exist in that run. So, if I were to say, decide to play Branwen as the Bhaalspawn, the version of Branwen petrified at the Nashkel carnival would not exist for that run.

    Also, doing this with @bengoshi has reminded me that Might and Magic 6 is hands down my favorite game ever. It has more replayability than any other game I've ever played, because the character possibilities are endless, *all* of the treasure chests are randomly generated, and the open world is three-dimensional and huge. It and its offspring Might and Magic games, 7 and 8, are the only games I've ever played where there is meaningful flight. Yes, you can fly, just like Supergirl, and you need to be able to do it to fight monsters that can also fly. Yes, dragons in this game *fly* as they are supposed to be able to do. Not to mention harpies, gargoyles, etc.

    Might and Magic 6, 7, and 8 even place a bit higher on my all-time Top 10 list of games than Baldur's Gate, though the BG franchise is a close second.

    So, today's photojournal:
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    I think I missed the photo where Dynaheir discovered the Rejuvenation potion formula (removes magical aging caused by use of Divine Cure and Divine Magic, two critical black potions that Dynaheir still hasn't discovered.) I caught the photo showing her discovering Extreme Energy, and a death photo showing how risky alchemical experimentation is in a no-reload run - just discovering Extreme Energy and Rejuvenation without looking them up in a walkthrough cost us two "deaths" for Dynaheir, and two Raise Dead fees totaling 1200 gold that we could ill afford at the Ironfist temple, plus the cost of lost reagents, plus the 300 gold cost of repairing her "robe" that Minsc couldn't repair yet. We also used a lot of blue potions to keep Branwen healing while we were clearing the immediate area of lizard men archers.

    Still, we *must* have ultimate knowledge of alchemy, even if we need a thousand resurrections! (Gritting teeth, frowning, narrowing eyes, and setting stern, steely resolve like Professor Snape.)

    Party Level: 7
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    End of play session 10-26-2015:

    Attacking the thieves' guild in Castle Ironfist. Things do not look good. Ohmigod.
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    OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod! Is this run over as a "no-TPK"?
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    Oh no! The mother of all wrong turns! Minsc is strong enough to carry three unconscious women, but he ducks into a storage closet instead of to the exit! I really thought my no-TPK status was done and over here, but Minsc managed to duck out and not get cornered!
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    We are free! Minsc and Boo stand ready! We will find healing for our witches, and return to kick evil's butt! Buttkicking for goodness!
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    Things go a lot better when we return to kick evil's butt! Uh oh, evil, mighty Dynaheir is wiggling her lips! Watch out evil! When mighty Dynaheir wiggles her lips, evil has its butts liberally kicked!
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    Treasure! And a guildmaster's key! Could this be the key to Sharry's cell that tries to shoot lightning at Minsc and Boo?
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    Yes! We have rescued fair and innocent Sharry! Now to return her to her home in New Sorpigal! We are all heroes, you and Boo and I!
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    Summary photos:

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    Party Level: 9
    TPKs: 0

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
    JuliusBorisovWilbur
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 7,785
    edited October 2015
    Sorry to interrupt, but just wanted to chime in. Might and Magic VI remains a very unique and enchanting, detailed, massive, and just plain quirky RPG. From the way you are basically forced to explore every square inch of the world to progress your characters, to the almost comically weird character and NPC portraits, the sprawling dungeons that seem to have no tangible relation to the word whatsoever except to be awesome, and a soundtrack that is second to none. However, what I note most about this game is how impossible it was until I taught all my characters the Archery skill. It seems like I spend most of my time in the early parts of this game doing nothing but flinging arrows. I'm not even sure you can survive the first dungeon without doing so. And melee characters are comically weak. But hey, what's a RPG without complete imbalance?? This is an all-timer for sure. It's two immediate sequels simplified things quite a bit, but Mandate of Heaven is one of the true "worlds" in the history of the genre, as much as any Elder Scrolls game.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    @jjstraka34 , Why don't you join us and post a run, for old times' sake? C'mon, it'll be fun. :)

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    Update 10/27/2015:

    -Completed Dragoons' Cavern in Ironfist

    Imoen's expert perception finds a sweet chainmail for Branwen lying on the floor - and then a fantastic shield - and then another high grade chain. These guys are *really* careless about leaving armor lying around.
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    Lots of great treasure chests here:
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    This one has a fantastic new mace for Branwen:
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    Nice daggers for Dynaheir and Imoen, including one that does cold damage:
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    More treasure, and a nice new winged helmet for Minsc:
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    This is the boss of this dungeon. He's always a dangerous pain in the butt for parties of the appropriate level for this dungeon. He almost one-shots party members several times, but luckily we all have enough hit points to withstand at least one blow. He has a brigand with him. Kiting is liberally used.
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    Victory!

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    This is a problem. I don't remember which one of these chests has the harp we need for the quest. If I choose the wrong one, we will be teleported into a mob of slimes that we can't handle yet, and my no-TPK status will likely be over. I *think* it's number two or number five, but I decide to go all the way back to the surface and rest first, and then come back, so that my party has a chance in heck against the slimes if I choose badly. This game *really* wants to kill you. It wants your blood. It *hates* no-reloaders with a passion.
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    Yay! I chose well!
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    We teleport via gatemaster to Mist Islands to train our newly gotten levels. Dynaheir decides to buy up alchemical reagents and risk some experimentation. Yay! She discovers Essence of Endurance! Yay, she discovers Essence of Accuracy! And she only died in explosions twice and cost us 1200 gold in resurrection fees.
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    Party summary screens. Notice that our physical stats are now awesome sauce thanks to Dynaheir's alchemy (Branwen's stats picture refuses to upload for some reason):

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    Oh, there went Branwen's stat picture now. (This site worries me a bit as it seems to glitch if you try to upload too much.)
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    Next up: Temple of Baa

    Party Level: 11
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 7,785
    edited October 2015

    @jjstraka34 , Why don't you join us and post a run, for old times' sake? C'mon, it'll be fun. :)

    Ha! I've never been a no-reloader in games, they have Roguelikes for that....but I am in the middle of a playthrough (along with dozens of other games at any given time). I'm actually in the exact same dungeon you just got out of. That Veteran is a bastard for sure, the toughest part was getting him to actually follow my party into the hallway so I could kite him for what seemed like miles. I can't tell if they wanted the game designed this way, or if it's just the way things ended up, but there is seriously no way to play this game without every character having a bow, and at least two of your characters having strong magic attacks. I have a melee fighter with a shield but I really don't know why. And I don't have the first clue how anyone would play this game in real-time without pausing. I think I'm on the last part before that harp. I swear I've put 3 or 4 hrs. of play-time into that dungeon this go-round.

    Also, are you guys using a hi-res mod or something?? Or is that just the way the screenshots look on the internet?? I've never seen the game look that clear before.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    @jjstraka34 , no mods. The screenshots look pretty much what the game looks like on my TV screen, so I don't know.

    You build melee characters because as the game progresses, bows get weaker and less effective. They're only the best weapons in the early game. That's a lot like it is in Baldur's Gate. Melee weapons with high skill do way better damage than either bow or magic. (If you get a lucky hit against a monster's resistance, and at high levels they *all* have high resistance to *everything*, attack magic can be useful, especially since it's at least a guaranteed hit even if the monster resists it. Mana drains awfully fast, though, even with maxed out Meditation. I am very conservative about using attack magic, though implosions are useful against liches, and distort mass is useful against the few creatures who aren't resistant. Other attack magic is situationally useful if you know every monster's weak resistance areas.)

    Also, make sure you are maxing out your melee damage with clerical bless and heroism spells.

    End of play session 10/27/2015:

    Cleared the side tunnels in the Temple of Baa.

    This game is really great for celebrating Halloween, since you fight hundreds of spiders, skeletons, and evil priests. In these pics, we trap-summon our first horde of nearly 100 skeletons. (There's a second horde coming up.) This would be game over if I were caught by surprise. Even knowing it was coming, I can just barely get us out of the temple alive. But I did, we rest, and now we're ready to go back in fresh to do battle with the first Halloween horde.

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    Party Level: 11
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    @jjstraka34 , I just thought of something. I keep the expert Torchlight spell active at all times with Dynaheir. That's likely the difference you see in the screen brightness and detail, if you don't use the Torchlight spell.

    JuliusBorisov
  • WilburWilbur Member Posts: 1,173
    This thread is making my fingers itch for a run. I'm not a no reload type of player myself, but I think I will have another "regular" go at this. This is one of the better games that I have played almost to the end and never finished.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    The adventure of Anomen, Yoshimo, Aerie and Edwin.

    After arriving to the Castle Ironfist, the first thing the band did was talking to people living nearby. Among them, Amanda the Wind Master offered her services of Flying. It was unbelievable.



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    The party quickly needed money for hiring her. Thankfully, the area was heavily inhabited by different lizardmen and fanatics of the new cult of Baa.

    So after spending a day fighting the party welcomed Amanda to their booth.



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    Now, with the Fly spell, the band could feel themselves a lot more sure while meeting any monster in the wilderness. Anomen, Aerie and Edwin learned the Bow skill, so they could freely explore the whole location.



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    OOC: The NPCs really change everything in this game. @BelgarathMTH found a way to use the Town Portal while I found the Fly spell in the beginning of the game.

    Now, the band felt they could visit all the possible areas around the Castle Ironfist, to gather more information about what was happening in the world. For a start, they could return to New Sorpigal and reach all those islands around the town which they hadn't been able to reach before.

    BelgarathMTHlolien
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    Update: 10/28/2015

    -Completed the Temple of Baa in Ironfist and returned the Chime of Harmony to New Sorpigal

    Oh boy, that's a lot of evil clerics shooting lighting bolts! This is not going to end well. Retreat!
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    After several guerilla attacks and retreats, we finally prevail against the evil clerics in the Temple of Doom. The last one standing rings a gong and summons a horde of over 100 skeletons. Again with the skeleton hordes? Sigh.
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    Dang it! This is worse than "Jason and the Argonauts". Look at all those red dots representing skeletons on the map in the upper right corner.
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    Several near death experiences and attack-and-retreats later, we are finally victorious. We gather up all the gold and keys, and finally discover a secret room that contains a chest with our quest item.
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    Zounds! Those evil Priests of Baa hoarded gold in their own gold garden! We're rich! We're rich! Hahaaa! We're fabulously wealthy!
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    The town of New Sorpigal is grateful for our heroism. Wait, I have this letter from the Prince of Thieves I forgot you were interested in. What, you never asked me to desecrate the Temple of Baa and recover the Chime of Harmony for you? But you're grateful that I've gone and done it anyway? Awesome Sauce!
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    Dynaheir decides we can spend some of our fabulously wealthy wealth to finance more of her alchemical research. We buy up lots and lots of bottles and reagents, and make sure temple services are standing by.

    Yay! Dynaheir discovers Essence of Intellect!
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    Dynaheir's and Imoen's physical stats to intelligence are now much better balanced after each of them drinks one of these:
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    Yay! Dynaheir discovers Divine Cure! Restores 100 hit points! These will save our lives frequently once we're up against the likes of Titans, Hydras, and Dragons, especially when Minsc drinks them!
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    Yay! Dynaheir discovers Extreme Resistance - +20 to all resistances. Now she has to test this new chemical with all six of three base mixtures and three compounds (red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green). Better living through chemistry, dudes and dudettes!
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    Yay! Dynaheir discovers Essence of Luck! We really need four of these to counterbalance the hits to luck we took when we drank Essences of Accuracy. Now we won't get poisoned, cursed, paralyzed, and other gods-awful "conditions" as frequently. Or at least we won't as soon as we can find enough reagents to make four of these.
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    Squee! (Jumping up and down for joy!) Dynaheir discovers Divine Magic! This will again save our lives against Class VI monsters (you know, Titans, Dragons, etc.) countless times, as it keeps our casters casting with 100 mana per gulp restored.
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    We teleport to Free Haven to check out the shops. We find a Fly spell in the air magic shop! Yay! Now Imoen can gift our party with the power of flight! We'll be a "Quartet of Kryptonians". I've been waiting to say that. Quartet of Kryptonians. Stunning aerial photos coming soon. I'm such a nerd.
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    Our "fabulously wealthy" fortune from the Temple of Baa is now spent, down to our last 1000 gold, after buying Fly for Imoen, Water Walk for Dynaheir, training Minsc and Branwen in expert shield, and financing reagents, healing, and raising for Dynaheir's dangerous research. Now we need money to keep training, and to finance Dynaheir with reagents, reagents, reagents as she shifts into production mode for her budding alchemical empire. (I want everybody in the party to have at least four each of Restoration, Divine Cure, and Divine Magic.) Money is hard to earn and all too easy to spend in this world, just as in the real world.

    Summary photos:
    imageimageimageimageimageimage


    Party Level: 13
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited October 2015
    Stardate 10.28.15, supplemental:

    I decided to try ridding the Mist Islands of their Silver Helms problem (Evil paladins - yes, there is such a thing - not Blackguard, just really evil people who call themselves "paladins" and really believe that they are paladins while perpetrating their cruelty upon the world).

    I wasn't at all sure that Minsc, Dynaheir, Imoen, and Branwen were strong enough. Lo and behold, they totally were. At least, until we encounter a stupid platform leaping puzzle.
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    Now, I hate platform leaping puzzles in this game, or in any RPG. I think they totally violate the spirit of the game. They destroy my immersion, and go against every reason I play RPGs. RPGs should have nothing to do with finding the correct combination of keystrokes to navigate a 3D leaping puzzle.

    So, I thought long and hard about how to deal with this in a no-reload. It's easy enough to accomplish by saving every stage of success along the way. There are six or seven "waypoints" along the leaping puzzle. If you fail at anyone of those waypoints, you fall into a basement, and from there you have to click on a mural and get teleported out to near the dungeon entrance, where you have to fight through a small mob of mooks and then heal up and return to try again, from the first of the waypoints.

    So, I adhered to the "no-reload" concept and tried this procedure six or seven times. I quickly realized that taking the "no-reload" concept to this extreme with this game, such that you have to do platform leaping puzzles over and over and over, was going to kill my interest in playing. So, I propose a rule right now for MM no-TPK runs. "No-reload", interpreted here as "No-TPKs", should not include puzzles that violate the spirit of RPGs by requiring keyboard acrobatics.

    I think one of the reasons MM 9 failed was that the devs moved even more towards "keyboard acrobatics puzzles", instead of classical RPG.

    So, after save-scumming my way up the seven or so levels of the hated platform jumping puzzle, I was able to resume my "no-TPK" run in the spirit in which it is intended.

    We complete the platform jumping puzzle and return to our regularly scheduled programming. Who's this? Could it be a "damsel in distress"? I think Archbishop Humphrey wanted one of those, didn't he?

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    Ah, he did want one, and we just rescued one. We are all now honorary crusaders (paladin promotions). Too bad we don't have any actual paladins in the party. Oh well, it was still a really good thing for gold and xp.
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    Party Level: 13
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    The adventure of Anomen, Yoshimo, Aerie and Edwin.

    The letter they had from the start of the game was finally brought to the castle. It turned out that there was no king there, only a little boy, Nicolai the prince, and his regent, Wilbur Humphrey. The boy was bored of staying in the castle and managed to slip away with the party.

    But the moment everyone were ready to sleep, Nicolai vanished. They remembered, though, that the boy talked about his wish to see the travelling Circus.

    Soon a house of the Seer was found. He gave his advice on what the party should do.



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    Among other interesting things the party found in that area were another Temple of Baa, which in this case offered cheap healing services (but everyone knew it was an act of evil to use those services), and an obelisk. It had a strange text written on it:



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    Before returning to New Sorpigal, the group checked their active quests and remembered that they had been asked to return an artifact from the Temple of Baa - the Chime of Harmony.

    OOC: This is one of the greates dungeons in the computer games ever created.

    When 100 skeletons arrived, the party quickly retreated, maneuvering through the hordes of skeletons, back to a safer place. This is where all the skeletons were defeated, a pack after a pack:



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    With the treasure the priests of Baa put into their temple, the party got as much as 25k gold after getting out of the cleared temple.

    Back to New Sorpigal, the band thanks to the Fly spell visited islands nearby. One of them had another obelisk with another strange text on it.

    Also, a trap again. A lonely fire on an island. But BAM! And 40 tough opponents surrouned the party in a moment. Thanks to the Fly spell, they weren't a problem, though:



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    Now, with some money in their backpack, the party was ready to visit new areas in the world. They needed to find mage guilds selling rare spellbooks, they needed to find teachers for their skills, and they needed to gather ingredients to be able to create potions. While fighting in the Temple of Baa with the skeletons, the band was glad they had several white potions granting +20 to each attribute. The alchemy probably offered even more useful potions for the future.

    Party Level: 9
    TPKs: 0
    Number of deaths of different party members: 0

    BelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    @Bengoshi , great update. I agree about the Temple of Baa being one of the best dungeons ever designed.

    Update for Minsc, Dynaheir, Imoen, and Branwen:

    We decide to spend the merry month of May vacationing in the Bootleg Bay Islands. However, we arrive to find the area overrun with cannibals, and the local temple asks us to deal with a fallen monastery of former Order of the Fist monks who have discovered an evil crystal and decided to use it as an offering to the Order of Baa, joining the dark side.

    We defeated them. Dynaheir's Haste spell winds up being the deciding factor. Unfortunately, a problem with my screenshot organization folders caused me to lose my screenshots. (I had a bad destination path entered into Snapper.)

    So, I can only post my summary screenies of after completing this small dungeon.

    We found a rare and valuable Crown of Spell Regeneration for Branwen at an island souvenir shop:

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    Summary shots. Thanks to alchemy and two Bootleg Bay fountains, we all have superlative stats that are fairly balanced. You can get stats to over 100 in this game, but the stats have such sharply declining benefits that there is little difference between 25 and 100. 25 in each relevant stat is the sweet spot for maximum character effectiveness. The one exception is that you need some stats at 50 in order to qualify for mastery in certain skills, such as body building, daggers, or merchant.

    imageimageimageimageimageimage


    Party Level: 16
    TPKs: 0

    Next up: The Temple of Tssantssaa. But I don't get to play again until Sunday. :(

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    Update 11/01/2015:

    -Completed the Temple of Tsantsa:

    Hmm, I wonder what this key's for?
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    Why did it have to be snakes?
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    Better to pull them out into the narrow corridors so we don't get surrounded.
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    This game has really cool spell effects, but they happen so fast, they're very hard to catch on camera. For practice, I tried pressing prnt scrn just as Dynaheir cast this Ice Bolt at a queen cobra:
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    After lots of Ice Bolts from Dynaheir, Lightning Bolts from Imoen, swings of Minsc's mighty sword, and dozens of Cure Lights from Branwen, we prevail over the swarm of snakes and cannibals. Boo is pleased. Oops, more snakes in the shaman quarters behind the snake altar. Boo is not pleased.
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    Boo is pleased again. Boo hates snakes. I guess all hamsters do. Minsc doesn't like them either.
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    Oh, so that's what that key was for. It opens this prisoner cell. Who's this? Apparently they were going to sacrifice this woman to the snakes on their altar. Brrr. She wants us to return her to friend in Free Haven. We are glad to comply. Oh, gatemaster!
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    We teleport to Free Haven, and she shows us to her friend's house.
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    The shops of Free Haven are a constant temptation to spend all our gold. We find a Power Cure spell that will cost us half the fortune we found in the Temple of Tsantsa. We decide to buy it, because it's a critical spell for the end game for Branwen, and we might not be able to find it later. (No save-scumming the stores and spell guilds).
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    I was going to fly up over New Haven to go visit the local lord, Osric Temper, and show you one of those stunning aerial shots I promised, but I find out the hard way that Imoen does not have enough spell points to power flight. Oops. I train to level 18, and get Dynaheir expert air magic immediately. Too bad I already spent 13,000 gold on a Fly book and a whole bunch of skill points on air magic and gave it all to Imoen. Big oops. I've never built an archer as a spellcaster before. The mistake I've made is about the same thing as if I'd dualed Imoen from thief to mage way too soon in Baldur's Gate. We are stuck to the ground until we make enough money to buy another Fly book.

    Party Level: 18
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 7,785
    edited November 2015
    The one thing about this game that is both unique and maddening is the training and progression system. Everything requires a guild, certain levels are only available in certain cities, some of the buildings the people are in a are limited by a rudimentary day/night cycle. I remember the first time I played this game I attempted to do the Abandoned Temple WITHOUT traveling to the nearest town that allowed all players to train archery. I didn't make it very far.

    Things just get goofy in this game. You can pick up random people that can teleport you to towns, as long as you know where to go you can FLY fairly early and easily. This is one of those games which you could easily dominate once you know where all the trainers and items are, but be in for a brutal (if enjoyable) slog the first time you encounter it.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    edited November 2015
    Wonderful progress, @BelgarathMTH !

    The adventure of Anomen, Yoshimo, Aerie and Edwin.

    The ship brought the band to Mist, a chain of islands, full of magic teachers. In order to reach the Master level of Fire and Water magic it was needed 12 points in each skill. And to become the Master of Air magic one had to become an Arch-Mage.

    The party dealt with all the followers of Baa on the islands and were lucky to buy two armours with the magic regeneration enchantment.



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    Soon the party proceeded to an guarded compound not far away from the town, where the first death happened.



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    Facing tough opponents, the band decided to use new spells they bought on the islands: Haste being the main factor here.

    Bless, Haste, Precision - all of them combined helped a lot against the inhabitants of the guarded compound.

    Inside, they rescued a man who told them about hidden passages in the building. After 2 hours (!) of real time the party managed to find a switch opening a way to those hidden passeges.



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    It turned out that the party saved the life of the mayor of Mist.



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    After spending all the money on additional spells (Water Walking among them) and having nothing to do on the local islands, the party used a ship to go to Bootleg Bay, another island area.

    There the band found the Circus's tents but it seemed like the Circus moved from them to somewhere else. The quest of finding Nicolai took a new twist.

    With the new spells the party didn't had any trouble dealing with bounty hunters and lizard men on the local islands, as well as monks in the local Temple of the Fist. There, Anomen destroyed an evil crystal that the followers of Baa planned to use for their evil deeds.



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    After that, the party finally reached Free Haven, the city mentioned by the Seer and their teacher. It was the biggest city they ever saw, and a lot of magical guilds were there. The Fly spell (which Yoshimo could use with 25 spell points from his 27) and another regenerating item were especially useful. Now the party didn't need a Fly spell specialist so they could keep those pretious 20% of gold found to them from now on.



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    Also, a fountain in the centre of the city helped to heal wounds, so the party decided to try their luck in creating new potions. Thanks to all the empty bottles and ingridients they managed to gather from everywhere till that moment, a recipe of Divine Cure, Essense of Might and Essense of Speed were discovered.



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    The area was full of high level archers, so everyone felt it was time to slow down a bit, to explore places they already visited till now. And to complete the quests they got from people in Enroth.

    Party Level: 11
    TPKs: 0
    Number of deaths of different party members: 1

    BelgarathMTH
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited November 2015
    @bengoshi , Awesome update, man! I envy your extreme good luck in finding not one but TWO armors of spell point regeneration!

    Good lord, this game is so huge and awesome. Screenshots fail to communicate for me how much I love the epic scope of this game! I have to leave out so much epic awesomeness. Only a video Let's Play can really give an interested classical old-school RPG player a real idea of the hugeness of this game. BlueAnkylo is pretty good, as he plays blind, and there are a few others.


    Simpelicity is an awesome guy who plays as an expert. He also has expert playthroughs of the HoMM series.



    Second update for 11/01/2015:

    Minsc gets his promotion quest to "Cavalier", which basically means boohoodles of extra hit points. This one is easy. He only needs to speak to a dwarf in an inn on the same map. Of course, if you didn't know that, you could potentially spend the whole game and never figure that out, unless you just happened to go into that inn and speak to that dwarf. And usually, you don't bother to enter into inns unless you need to rest there. And this one is way out in the middle of nowhere on this map. So, I guess the moral of this promotion quest story is that you have to explore every inch of every map in a classical RPG, and talk to every npc, everywhere. BG tries to continue this classical tradition, but I don't think it comes close to the level of "explore *everything*" that MM does.

    Oh yes, our party also learns for the first time in character that their world is under attack by devils. (EDIT: Oops, I meant they learn the *location* of the devils' front line. They obviously know about the devils being on their world from the intro movie, since they almost died in the initial landfall. BTW, that intro movie with the red dragon flying overhead, and the music, makes me think of the iconic first scene in Star Wars of the Imperial star destroyer chasing the Rebel blockade runner over Tatooine. Great stuff! I've never played another game that invoked the epic introductory feeling of Star Wars so well, cinematics, music, and all. :) )

    imageimage


    Ah, our nomination for Minsc to become a "Cavalier":
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    And the deed is done. Minsc can now become a "Champion", for even *more* boohoodles of hit points. It will involve one of the hardest dungeons in the game, though. ;)
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    Oops, we totally forgot that Dynaheir drank from the Fountain of Magic during our vacation to Bootleg Bay, and can now become a Wizard by reporting to Lord Newton about where it is. He now remembers some other stuff, including that we can get another mage promotion to Archmage by completing the Corlagon's Estate dungeon (very hard), and that we can get his approval on the Enrothian Council to visit the oracle by completing the Gharik's Forge dungeon (one of the hardest in the game).
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    Imoen and Branwen are getting jealous at their lack of gaining prestige classes. We hear that both cleric and archer promotions are available in the Frozen Highlands area. So, there we go!

    Erik Von Stromgard wants Imoen to attack and recover his old stronghold that has been overrun by ogres. Umm, okay. He also wants us to find out why his land has been frozen into permanent winter in order to gain his support on the Enrothian Council. Umm, you don't happen to have any subjects by the name of "Elsa" do you, Erik?
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    Erik tells us that the lord in charge of cleric promotions in the land is just over the mountains to his east. Too bad Imoen can't fly us safely over those mountains. So, we attack swarms of harpies, fire archers, and Magyars (think mobs of "Wonder Women" shooting lightning bolts) in order to attempt to climb through the mountains the hard way. Unfortunately, the mountains are swarming with harpy witches who can curse our entire party (disabling spell casting) with a single cast. Sigh. I *hate* harpy witches. They will be a pain in our side for the whole game.
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    Next up: Completing the first archer and cleric promotion quests. This will be a lot harder than it sounds. :)

    Party level: 18
    TPKs: 0

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited November 2015
    Update: November 2, 2015

    -Completed cleric promotion and Anthony Stone's council quest

    We are trying to get over the mountains to Anthony Stone without flying. We get disoriented and run into mobs of Magyar Matrons and harpies. This is not looking good. At all. I thought my no-TPK might be over here. Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. We barely made it back to town to get healed.
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    We finally make it to Castle Stone. Lord Stone wants us to capture the Prince of Thieves for his council quest, and to rebuild the temple in Free Haven for our cleric promotion. Conveniently, both missions are in Free Haven, so we teleport there.
    imageimage


    I wonder what this key does? Oh, it opens this treasure room. Meh. At least the chest with the mace had over 3000 gold in it.
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    Ah, here he is. You're under arrest, bub.
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    Even though we don't need to stay here in the Free Haven sewers any longer, I explore a bit more and pick up what other treasure I can find.
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    Now to rebuild the temple for my cleric promotion to priest. This will require me to let go my gatemaster and enchanter to hire a carpenter and a stonecutter. Ouch! The devs have conveniently placed houses with exactly these two npc's very near the temple.
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    Now I need another gatemaster and enchanter. The devs have anticipated that I will want another gatemaster and have placed Wilma in a house near the temple.
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    We spend almost *two hours* of real time looking for a replacement enchanter, by using Wilma to teleport all over Enroth. While in Blackshire looking for our elusive enchanter, we train Minsc in master swords (for free, no less!) This allows him to hold a sword in his left hand, and a spear or halberd in his right. He now does more damage than anyone else in the party. We will train him to mastery in spear now. Minsc is becoming a killing machine.
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    After two hours of real time, I begin to despair of finding my replacement enchanter. I decide to go back to Castle Stone, carefully avoiding the fire archers and Magyar matrons who can now kick our butts, since we have little resistance without our enchanter. Branwen becomes a priest, and we have Lord Stone's support on the Enrothian High Council.
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    After training the levels we gained from completing Lord Stone's quests, which has the added benefit of resetting the npc's in the towns, we *finally* find a replacement enchanter. Thank you, *gods*!
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    With our new enchanter's protection, we are able to massacre the swarm of fire archers and Magyar matrons guarding Lord Stromgard's fortress for Imoen's promotion quest. They have an awesome treasure chest that yields both an upgraded sword for Minsc's left hand and a bow that does cold damage for Imoen. Awesome sauce!
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    I've decided to use a character editor to make a small aesthetic change to my party. This does not change anything in the game other than a portrait, a voice set, and a name. I really, really need to self-insert to enjoy these games. So, I have replaced Branwen's portrait and name with my own. Meet Belgarath, the Priest of Aldur:
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    Next up: Reclaiming the ogre fortress for Lord Stromgard so Imoen can *finally* get promoted. Maybe she can take care of our need to fly after all - expert meditation has at least given her enough spell points to cast fly in an emergency, while Dynaheir is putting everything she has into getting rank 12 water so she can take over for Wilma.

    Summary screens:
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    I'm already thinking about what I want to do for MM7. My current idea is to keep Minsc, Dynaheir, and Imoen as Knight, Sorcerer, and Thief, and to play either a cleric or a druid myself as Belgarath. My conundrum between cleric or druid is that I really love alchemy, and only the druid can grandmaster alchemy in MM7, but, the druid is cut off from grandmastery of body, mind, and spirit spells. The grandmaster spell of the body school, Protection from Magic cast at grandmaster level, is a critical protective spell. Sigh, decisions, decisions.

    Party level: 23
    TPKs: 0

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    edited November 2015
    Supplemental Update: 110215

    We finally overwhelm the ogres and mercenaries who are holding Lord Stromgard's old fort. The treasure reward is awesome. We get a great shield for me and a great cloak for Dynaheir or Imoen.
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    Ah yes, Lord Stromgard wanted these keys. Imoen is promoted to "battle mage". Lord Stromgard will promote her to a full-fledged thief>mage if she can use the keys to turn off the anti-air fire from the town guard towers, which have gone out of control.
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    Next up: Recovering lost artifacts and lich skulls in Free Haven for xp, fun, and profit.

    Party Level: 23
    TPKs: 0

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,458
    Update A: 11/03/2015

    -Completed Warrior Mage and High Priest promotion quests.
    -Recovered the artifact dagger Mordred from the Dragoons.

    Before beginning today's adventure, we luck into finding a Ring of Mana in a Free Haven shop.
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    We use our gatemaster to spend a week traveling Enroth to reset the town towers. Lord Stromgard is pleased, and promotes Imoen. She now has almost as many spell points as Dynaheir (though that will change after Dynaheir becomes an archmage.)
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    We recover Mordred (an awesome +8 vampiric dagger, the best dagger in the game), and in the process, we find a Belt of Mana. Now all three casters regenerate spell points over time. Zoltan Phelps rewards us for the quest and lets us keep the dagger. Imoen will use it, as she is mastering daggers.
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    We *finally* find Town Portal and Lloyd's Beacon at the Free Haven water guild. Now Dynaheir, who has mastered water, can use these spells. We let our expensive gatemaster go and replace her with a cheap merchant who helps us save money in training and in buying and selling. Using Dynaheir as our new gatemaster allows us to teleport around Enroth almost unlimited times in a day, rather than having to rest after every cast. Opening up unlimited free teleportation is a major milestone in the game.
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    We pick up a 1600 gold bounty for a stone gargoyle from the Mist Town Hall, so we teleport over to Silver Cove to kill a stone gargoyle. While we're there, we pick up Loretta Fleise's council quest and druid promotion quest. Although we don't have any druids, it's still good to do the promotion quests for the xp.
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    Lucky shop find - next to hit point regeneration or spell point regeneration, the best affix is +10 to all resistances. We want as many item types with this affix as we can find, because they stack with multiple items. (Sadly, hit and spell point regeneration do not.)
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    Time to get myself promoted to high priest. The boss of the high priest dungeon, The Temple of the Sun in the Mist Islands, is a minotaur king. Besides hitting like a truck, he has an instant kill attack, basically Power Word:Kill. You don't want to fight this dude with low luck characters. "Luckily", we all have high luck, and all his Power Word:Kill spells fail, even though he tries many times. We recover the lost holy grail, return it to the Free Haven temple, and report to Lord Stone for our promotion. Now I have the most spell points of anyone in the party.
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    Party summary screen:
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    Party Level: 27
    TPKs: 0

    I think I'll work on Corlagon's Estate next so we can get Dynaheir promoted.

    JuliusBorisov
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