Baldurs Gate II Arcanum Wizardry 8 Myst Riven Journey to the Center of the Earth

Worlds of Xeen Walkthrough part 2

Once you're past the early game and have all the travel skills (Pathfinding, Swimming, Mountaineering, and Navigation) at your disposal, you have the capability to reach almost every area in the game. Not that you should, of course; but you can. So the second part of this walkthrough is broken down by towns, areas, and dungeons in rough order of their difficulty.

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Don't feel constrained by this at all--you can wander in and out of map quadrants at will, do part of a town and leave the rest for later, poke your nose into a dungeon just long enough to grab one really good piece of treasure and then run for the hills. Except for the desert and lava areas, all of the quadrants are safely wanderable long before you have the muscle to actually do the quests on them, so if you like to meander there is no reason not to. You can also usually successfully explore a dungeon/town/area that's too high-level for your party by taking it slowly and exceedingly carefully, portalling back to town a lot, resting often, and spending a lot of time casting buffing spells.

Hopefully this walkthrough will provide you with a rough guide to what exists in each of the game areas, without spoiling any of the puzzles or quests. For completeness' sake, I'm including the earliest areas of the game too, although I've already covered them in more depth and with beginners' tips in the Early Game walkthrough. You should always search everything you find--beds, crates, display cases, chests, corpses, piles of garbage, trees--as there are often coins, gems, food, or random treasures stashed within them. This is basic CRPG practice and I'm not going to be repeating this advice in every location unless there's something special to be found there (if a tree has something REALLY nice in it, I'll let you know, but you can shake it down for your 2d6 gold pieces without any help from me. (-: )

1st-4th Level Areas

Vertigo

You can complete this whole town as a Level 1 party, if you're either careful about shooting things from afar or sleep a lot.

1) The mayor has a quest for you: rid the town of vermin. As with all Xeen towns, once you complete the mayor's quest, the village fountain will stop being deadly and become beneficial (though not very).

2) Once you've finished this, the mayor will alert you to the Red Dwarf Mines quest as well. Don't neglect to return to him after finishing the dungeon, as he'll have another reward for you.

3) You can learn Cartography and Pathfinding in this town. Skills are expensive, so don't waste money buying ones you don't need--remember that you only need one Cartographer (sorcerers have this skill automatically) and two Pathfinders (rangers have this one automatically).

Quadrant F3

This is an easy quadrant; you could clear most of it at 1st level, though your party need to be swimming and mountaineering enabled to reach some of it. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) Four fountains and a shrine. I took diligent notes on the location and effects of each of these things ten years ago, but the fact is, it takes so long for your whole party to drink from them that they're effectively useless. Their effects are all temporary and wear off as soon as the next day begins. The one in the southwest corner raises your level by 5, which is probably the most valuable of them. For your time, praying at a temple a few times in a row is a better way to gird for a tough combat, though.

2) Entrance to Vertigo.

3) Entrance to the Red Dwarf Mines.

4) Entrance to Castleview.

5) Myra the Herbalist has a quest for you: fetch her some Phyrna roots.

6) Derek the Ranger has a quest for you: rescue his girlfriend Celia.

7) Orothin has a quest for you: find his lost whistle. He tells you exactly where to go, and the spells he offers as rewards are very useful in the mines and the Castleview sewers, so this quest is probably worth a detour to complete. If you can swim you can just follow the river west and south.

8) The two helmed statues go with one of the quests and you can't do anything with them until you've completed that quest.

9) There's an orc outpost in the mountains; destroy it for loot, XP, and to stop the orcs in this quadrant from respawning. This is a common Might and Magic theme and you'll be seeing it a lot.

4th-8th Level Areas

Red Dwarf Mines

There are nine of these mines, with the earlier ones being easier than the later ones. The first five are easy to complete as a 4th-level party, which you will be when you leave Vertigo, but you'll probably need to go back and train before tackling the four deep mines. That's okay, you'll have to be going back to town frequently to sell off your loot anyway. Good thing the magic mirror in Vertigo accepts the same level codes the mine carts do. (-:

1) Lots of stat barrels down here. The same color liquid permanently raises the same stat, always, in every dungeon, in every Might and Magic game ever made. Some things are simply constants of the universe. Bottoms up. (-:

2) Some of the crates require a certain strength or higher to open them. If you can't get them open, return to them once your strongest character has quaffed from a few strength-raising barrels.

3) There are plenty of secret doors in here--use Wizard Eye to locate them, or just inspect dead ends carefully. You have to bash the doors in to open them, which damages your lead characters somewhat.

4) If you examine gold veins, you can mine them for gold--quite a lot of gold. You may also cause a cave-in. Be wary, and reload the game if you need to; cave-ins are random.

5) You can learn Danger Sense in Mine 3 and Direction Sense in Mine 5, if your party doesn't have any dwarves or druids (who start with one of those skills automatically).

Castleview

You can complete this town readily enough as an 8th-level party. It would be brutally difficult for a 4th-level party to survive the combat quests or the traps in Ellinger's tower, but there are several easily accessible puzzle quests in town with huge XP rewards; you can get from level 4 to the survivable level 8 from those quests alone. If you're not interested in combat challenges at all, you can dart in and collect the easy XP right after Vertigo, cruise through the Red Dwarf Mines as an 8th-level party, and then take Castleview at your leisure with the extra level and stats you got in the mines. Or you can just do this town when you're done with the Red Dwarves. All three routes work just fine.

1) The mayor has a quest for you: rid the town of Gremlins. As part of your reward you'll get some "energy disks" that don't seem to be of any use. They'll be helpful later on, so don't worry about them cluttering up your inventory.

2) A guy named Joe is hanging around here and will sell you a treasure map for an exorbitant price. I suspect he's meant to be the same Joe who pulled the extermination scam on Vertigo on the other side. (-: The map is a rip-off, of course, but buy it anyway; you'll be able to exchange it for a good treasure map later.

3) You can learn the Swimming, Pathfinding, and Cartography skills here. Remember that all six of your characters need to know how to swim before you can enter the water (humans have this skill already).

4) Miles the Cartographer has a Dell Magazine-style word puzzle for you that you can solve easily using the Darkside of Xeen map (there's a scanned in copy of it here, if you've mislaid yours.) You get a whopping 100,000 XP for this.

5) Dysson the Puzzlemaster has a trio of chest puzzles for you. The first two have nine chests apiece which you have to close and open in the right order to get another substantial XP award. You can figure out the pattern from the numbers and letters on the chests (the numbers should be opened in an easy numerical pattern, and the letters should be opened to spell out a word.) They're also both pretty easy to do by trial and error. The third room has a chest that moves around the room when you try to approach it--you'll get access to that one later.

6) Four Drawkcab monks are hanging around here playing word games. Listen to them carefully; if you talk to them in the correct order (you may need to think about this for a few minutes to figure it out), you can get another easy XP reward, and what you learn from them is also a clue for later in the game.

7) There's a secret door in town with some hidden loot behind it. Use Wizard Eye to spy it, or just keep your eye out for suspicious dead ends. (-:

8) Nadia the Hoarder has a quest for you: fetch her necklace from the sewers.

9) Jethro the Mapmaker has a quest for you: free his brother.

10) The sewers are relatively easy as a dungeon, but you should probably have Suppress Disease and Suppress Poison learned before attempting it (to cure these conditions entirely, visit the temple or drink some of Myra's antidote potions). There's a guy down here who will give you a quest to kill the Rat Queen, but you may encounter the Rat Queen first if you're not careful. The questgiver, Valio, is by the entrance nearest to Nadia if you want to be sure to talk to him first--you'll still get the reward either way, but I find it annoying to be thanked for completing a quest by some guy I've never met before. Opening Valio's chest is amusing, but wait until after you've finished his quest for him, and you probably want to save first. You can also learn Direction Sense down here (druids automatically have this skill), and there are more stat-raising barrels. Two of the stairs up lead to parts of Castleview you can't access any other way (one with trapped treasure chests in it, the other full of tough Gremlin Guards, so be careful if you're low-level), and one leads out to the countryside (where you probably don't want to be yet).

11) Ellinger's Tower is an easy dungeon for a young party, plenty of puzzles and secret doors, but no fighting. Traps can pick you off if you don't have a lot of hit points, though, so be wary, and keep Clairvoyance on (it's part of the general temple blessing). You need a key to enter, which you can get from one of the city's other quests. Your answer to the question posed by the mirror doesn't have any meaningful repercussions--each answer provides you with a different route to the second level of the tower, but there's nothing of note on either route (though the path of the 'nobler' answer does have a bit more treasure in it.) Once you reach the end of the tower, Ellinger has important information and a plot quest for you. You can also exit the top of this tower to the Darkside skyroad.

12) You can search benches to talk to townspeople. This will be true in most populated towns other than Vertigo.

Quadrant E3

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 4, but you'll need the swimming and pathfinding skills first. Besides wandering monsters, things of note:

1) An orc outpost; destroy it for XP, treasure, and to stop the orcs in this quadrant from respawning.

2) You can learn the Spot Secret Doors skill here, if you have no gnomes in your party (gnomes get this skill automatically). Remember that only one character in your party needs this skill.

3) The Spring Druid is on this map, and you can start a long quest to visit the druids of all four seasons in the proper order. This quest is the only way to reverse magical aging that you'll have for a while.

4) In the woods, you can find the Dungeon of Death. You'll need a key to get in which you can only get in the toughest city on the Darkside, so you won't be entering this one for a long time. Which is good, because it's unsolvable until you have a late-game quest item anyway.

Quadrant E4

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 4, but you'll need the swimming and pathfinding skills first. Besides wandering monsters, things of note:

1) Entrance to the Temple of Yak. You need a key to enter (you will get it from a nearby questgiver,) and you really won't be able to complete the dungeon till level 12 or so anyway.

Quadrant F4

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 4, but you'll need the swimming and pathfinding skills first. Besides wandering monsters, things of note:

1) Toad Meadow, with the Phirna roots for Myra. No spoiler, that; they're right where she said they were.

2) Valia has a quest for you: rescue Falista the unicorn. She'll reward you with the Crusader skill.

3) Entrance to the Witch Tower. You'll need a key to enter, which you can get from a nearby questgiver.

Castle Burlock

Why do I jump to Castle Burlock next? Two reasons: having the Linguist skill makes the Witch Tower more interesting, and the princess asks you to perform a quest in Rivercity. I really despise accidentally solving a quest before it is assigned and missing out on what small bits of dialogue quest-givers have. (-: You don't have to walk here, you can just teleport via the magic mirror in Vertigo (setting a Lloyd's Beacon there makes return even easier). Anyway, if you don't steal the castle treasure or go into the basement, you can handle this castle now with no problem. If you want to clear the basement or turn the king's guard hostile by robbing him, you'd best wait till you're a bit stronger.

1) Lots of overall plot information here: talk to King Burlock, the Royal Advisor, and the Master Builder on the first floor.

2) You can learn the Linguist and Astronomer skills here for free.

3) In one of the towers is Princess Roxanne, who will give you the quest to find her tiara.

4) On the third floor are the king's treasure chests, which will turn all the guards permanently hostile if you try to loot them. It is very difficult to survive the onslaught of guards until your party is at least level 8, so if you want to rip off the king, it's better to wait and do it when you're stronger. By the time you're able to pick the difficult locks, the treasure is a little disappointing, but still -- robbing the king is a time-honored CRPG tradition. ;-)

5) Be cautious venturing into the basement--there are some serious monsters to battle down there, and it would be difficult to survive that area before your characters are 10th level. Killing the castle guards in the basement won't cause the torrent of angry guards that robbing the king's treasure does, by the way. Don't neglect to search the buckets down here, as one of them is valuable.

8th-12th Level Areas

At this level there is no reason you can't venture into any map quadrant you like to (except the lava areas, and some tough areas on the Darkside.) I'm grouping the map quadrants geographically around the cities and dungeons from here on out, with some consideration as to what level you need to be to actually pass through the quadrant easily (as opposed to battling your way through it portaling, healing, and resting between fights, which I find less tolerable dealing with wandering monsters than in a dungeon with an objective and a point.) You will get the mountaineering skill in Rivercity, by the way, at which point you'll be able to go back for the previously inaccessible mountain areas in F3 and E3.

Witch Tower

This dungeon is easily solvable by an 8th-level party, but it will be more interesting if you acquire the Linguist skill from Castle Burlock first, as otherwise many of the skulls will just be speaking unintelligible gibberish to you.

1) You need a key to enter; get it from one of the questgivers in the area.

2) Be careful with the witches; they're not too strong, but their attacks curse your items, which can be a real pain.

3) The skulls will teach you a number of useful spells if you have the gems to pay them and the means to understand them.

4) Yes, you can help the imprisoned children; click on them.

5) The boiling vats inflict a fair amount of damage to anyone searching in them, but some of them raise your stats or have good items in them. Clairvoyance can save you a lot of hit points in here.

6) By exiting the top of this tower, you can travel the clouds of Xeen. Use the Levitate spell, don't let it run out while you're up there (i.e. no resting), and don't step on any of the open blue spaces between clouds--otherwise you'll fall to the ground beneath, and probably be killed. The only wandering monsters in the clouds are harpies, which are less tough than the witches were, but proceed with caution since some squares trigger powerful lightning strikes any time you step in them. Your whole party can be wiped out this way if you're not careful. On the currently accessible clouds there are harpy nests to destroy, gems to pocket, statues to read for clues (you again need the Linguist skill), and offerings of high-quality swords which can only be taken by characters with the Crusader skill. None of the cloud squares have anything valuable on them that can't be seen to the naked eye, so you're probably better off not lawnmowing due to the lightning strike squares. You'll be discovering other, more difficult portions of the clouds level later, but there's no reason the clouds above the Witch Tower shouldn't be clearable at level 8.

Rivercity

This city is infested with Robbers, who have missile weapons, and Sorceresses, who can be very tough opponents; there are even stronger enemies in other parts of the city. An 8th-level party will have a tough go of it, a 10th-level party should be more comfortable.

1) Here you can acquire the Mountaineering skill (and Pathfinding, if you didn't buy it in Vertigo). Remember that you need two characters with each skill before you can travel in the mountains/forests. You can also learn Armsmaster and Bodybuilder skills, which are good value for the money, and Navigator, which will come in useful in the desert areas later in the game.

2) Barok the Sorcerer will give you the town quest: fetch his amulet from the sorceresses. His reward is an extremely valuable spell.

3) Be careful to search in all the trees; most of them just give you a snotty remark when you do, but there's decent treasure hidden in some of them.

4) The gate in the back of the Training Hall leads to a very tough area. Save before going back there; the final fight sequence is tricky even for a 12th-level party.

5) The robbers in town have a few chests you can liberate. In one of them is a quest item, a tiara. I always find it annoying to get a quest item before I get the quest; it doesn't stop you from completing the quest and getting the XP that's due you, but it does rob you of hearing the questgiver ask you for help. If you feel this way too, the princess looking for the tiara is in Castle Burlock, and you can easily stop in there before coming to Rivercity (the magic mirror will take you there).

6) There are rumors floating around the tavern that the barkeeper was paying the sorceresses to drive out Barok; however, as far as I know these are nothing but rumors. I don't believe it's possible to prove, reveal, or learn more about this supposed collusion.

Quadrant C3

The monsters are tough around here; it should be readily clearable at level 12. Besides wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) Entrance to Rivercity.

2) A fountain, shrine, and well, all largely useless.

3) Tito the Elf Priest has a quest for you: fetch his holy book.

4) Danulf the Fairy King has a quest for you: fetch his magic wand.

5) Medin the Fisherman has a quest for you: defeat the lake monsters.

Quadrant D3

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 10. Besides wandering monsters, things of note:

1) There are a shrine and a fountain here, both essentially useless.

2) You can catch a boat to Rivercity at the dock, though I'm not sure why you'd want to (as opposed to walking there or using a magic mirror).

3) There's a sprite nest here to destroy to prevent them respawning (and claim your kill-the-babies XP).

4) Ligono the Ghost has a quest for you: fetch his skull.

5) Darzog's Tower is also here, but you won't be able to get into it till late in the game.

Quadrant D4

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 12. Besides wandering monsters, things of note:

1) Entrance to Nightshadow.

2) Mirabeth the Mermaid has a quest for you: fetch her the Elixir of Restoration.

3) There are three quest solutions to be found in this quadrant. The questgivers are in quadrant F3, D3, and C3. One of my personal pet peeves is finding a quest item by happenstance before the quest is assigned; you lose dialogue this way, and it feels contrived. If you feel similarly, visit those other quadrants first.

Nightshadow

You could probably do Nightshadow at level 10 if you wanted to; most people think it's easier than Rivercity, but I find vampires to be a giant pain in the rear. (That's giving a bit away there, but these games aren't really that devious: a city named Nightshadow, in a place called the Forest of the Walking Dead, is not going to be infested with dragons.) Things of note--well, okay, there aren't any. Kill the vampires, that's it. You have to solve a simple puzzle to get the boss vampire's coffin open: figure out what number to set the three dials to. There are clues all over town as to which number this is. Set all three to the same number, wait till nighttime, and be sure to save your game before opening the coffin, because the Count has extremely unpleasant special attacks that make him a tough fight even for a 12th-level party.

Quadrant D2

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 10, though the jousters north of the mountain range can be surprisingly tough. Besides wandering monsters, things of note:

1) Entrance to Castle Burlock. If you haven't yet cleared the castle basement, you are probably now strong enough to do so. If you like, you can also go to the top of the king's tower and rob his chests. You'll face a tough fight with swarms of castle guards, but it's not hard for a level 10-12 party to take them, and neither the king nor any of the other NPC's in the castle will become hostile towards you

2) Entrance to Dwarf Mine 5, though once you learn how the mine carts and magic mirrors work the Dwarf Mine entrances are basically irrelevant..

3) There's a well here which temporarily raises your strength by 50; this one is good to remember as there are sarcophagi in some dungeons that require someone in your party to have 100 strength to open.

4) You can learn the Merchant skill here, which you want to do as soon as possible; it saves you great amounts of money down the line.

5) There is one square of lava in this quadrant. Don't step on it.

Temple of Yak

Most of this dungeon isn't hard for a 12th-level party, but the special attacks of the boss monsters can be rough. Save before opening sarcophagi. If you've gotten in over your head, you can always level up in some other areas and come back later.

1) You need a key to get in here. A quest-giver in a nearby quadrant gives it to you.

2) The secret doors in here are operated by switches, not just repeatedly ramming into them with your head (apparently the usual method on Xeen).

3) Look out for trap doors in the floor, which can make navigating the dungeon a huge headache. Keep the levitate spell on at all times.

4) The Yak pools actually do have beneficial effects in addition to the afflictions they cause--they raise one of your stats slightly, but only for characters whose score in that stat is below 20. So an intelligence-raising pool may just make your mage sick, but could improve your fighter's Intellect score.

5) This is the easiest of the dungeons in which you can find Megacredits for Newcastle. There should be 8 of them in here.

Quadrant C4

The monsters are tough around here, but it should be readily clearable at level 12. Besides wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) Entrance to Newcastle.

2) Entrance to the Tomb of 1000 Terrors. You need a keystone to enter.

3) Entrance to the Tower of High Magic. You need a key to enter.

4) There's a ranger camp to destroy to keep the pesky bastards from respawning.

Newcastle

There's nothing difficult about this castle, but you have to build it before you can explore it, and you can't do that without the megacredits from the Temple of Yak and Tomb of 1000 Terrors. Each time you build a new stage of the castle, be sure to return and explore it again.

Quadrant C2

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 10. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note here include:

1) Entrance to Asp.

2) Carlawna the Cleric has a quest for you: fetch her scarab.

3) Falagner the Wizard has a quest for you: fetch his crystals.

4) Captain Nystor has a quest for you: destroy the ogre lair.

5) A barbarian camp and the aforementioned ogre lair can be destroyed to stop them from respawning (and for extra XP).

6) The Autumn Druid is on this map, if you're on the seasonal druids quest.

7) The pyramid on this map only leads to the same place as the one by Vertigo does--within Castleview.

Asp

Asp is a good place to be 12th level. Like Nightshadow, it's a peculiarly tiny town (with all of three inhabitants,) and the one quest in it is straightforward.

Quadrants C1, B1, B2, A2, and A1

These desert areas are readily clearable at level 12. Other than three dungeons that are too tough for this level, though, there's pretty much nothing in them but sand. Points of interest include:

1) Entrance to the Northern Sphinx in Quadrant B1.

2) Entrance to the Southern Sphinx in Quadrant A2.

3) Entrance to Castle Basenji in Quadrant A1.

4) Arie the Apprentice in quadrant A1 has a quest for you: fetch the Scroll of Insight.

5) There's a quest item in C1 from a quest assigned back in quadrant C2. If you don't like missing out on quests, be sure to visit C2 before exploring these regions.

6) The Summer Druid is in Quadrant B2, if you're on the Druid Seasons quest.

7) The Warzone is in Quadrant B2. It's nothing but an arena--go there to fight some tough monsters and rack up extra XP, if you like. It never stops respawning monsters, so it can't be cleared per se.

8) You can learn the Prayermaster skill in Quadrant A2.

9) There's a well, a shrine, and a fountain here. The fountain, in the far northwest of A1, gives 250 hitpoints and may be worth visiting if you like portaling around.

12th-16th Level Areas

If you've done everything in this walkthrough so far and nothing else, your characters should be 13th-14th level. This is a good time to poke your nose back onto the Darkside: the quadrants near Castleview aren't too difficult and are a good source of experience. All the quadrants on the Lightside except for the lava ones are clearable now too. It's possible to conquer some of the areas in the 16th-20th Level section at this time, but that is usually a grueling affair involving a lot of portaling, resting, fixing armor, and curing yourself of annoying conditions like aging.

Darkside Quadrant A4

The centipedes are tough, but it should be readily clearable at level 13. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) An NPC who can sell you a pass to Castleview (you can also use the sewer entrance you may have discovered earlier, but it's a serious time-waster and the pass is comparatively cheap.)

2) An NPC who can heal you (if you completed an earlier quest.)

3) A tent with a riddle (a vocabulary quiz more like) that will grant you a huge wad of XP.

4) Luna the Druid has a quest for you: find her three missing statuettes.

5) There's a shipwreck to search, as well as a few bottles with clues in them.

6) The entrance to Castle Kalindra is here, but you can't access it yet.

7) There are also two bonus-conferring wells around here; like most bonus-conferring wells, they're functionally useless.

Darkside Quadrant A3

The monsters are the same as in A4, and should be readily clearable at level 13. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) Acid Lake--heed the "no swimming" signs and forego lawnmowing this lake, for there's nothing in it.

2) The four gemsmiths will craft top-quality items for you out of ruby, emerald, sapphire and diamond rocks. The mines containing these rocks are in the nearby parts of quadrants A2, B2, B3, and C3. This is VERY much worth doing. To the best of my knowledge the gemsmiths will only craft body armor (no shields, helms, boots or gauntlets) and one-handed melee weapons (no bows, slings, halberds, etc.)

3) Dreyfus the High Priest has a quest for you: fetch him the key to the Great Western Tower. He won't give you your reward until you clear the tower later, though.

4) The entrance to the Great Western Tower is here, but you can't enter without the key--you'll need to enter the tower from the top, as Dreyfus says.

5) There's a hut here that contains a rope up to the cloud level. The platform above the hut is readily clearable, but contains some baffling wells from which you can pull up "buckets of darkness" that apparently have no useful effects at all. You can use this platform to reach the skyroad (and the top of the Western Tower,) or you can use the platform above Ellinger's tower.

Great Western Tower

There are two parts to this dungeon: breaking in through the ceiling grate and stealing the key, and then clearing the tower normally. The first part is easy, though you have to brave the skyroad to do it (the wandering monsters aren't bad, but if you have a random encounter with sky bandits en route, better pay them off or reload.) The second part is harder--the clerics' distance attacks are bad news. I did this at level 14 and it was really tough. I'd advise tackling easier areas first and coming back to do the second part of the Western Tower later.

Darkside Quadrants A2 and B2

Most of these quadrants are made up of the black "lava" terrain and orange "cracked earth" terrain that generally signal bad-assery in Might and Magic games, and Worlds of Xeen is no exception. Don't even venture near those areas, or an unbeatable monster may notice you and follow you onto the dirt terrain. In the mountains near Acid Lake, though, there are four Gemstone Mines (three in A2, one in B2) that are worth visiting to get the magic weapons and armor from the gemsmiths. The monsters in these mines are takeable at level 12, but a mining explosion can wipe your whole party out at this level, so only try it if you don't mind saving and reloading. I found that a character with a high Luck score triggered explosions less often, but that could have been random.

Darkside Quadrant B3

You can't finish this quadrant now either, due to the dangerous cracked-earth desert; but you may want to clear the regular-terrain part of the quadrant now, because of the diamond mine. This half of the quadrant is readily clearable at level 13. Points of interest in the regular terrain include:

1) Like the mines in the previous section, the diamond mine isn't hard to clear of monsters, but the mining itself can be deadly. Save before attempting to mine any diamonds.

2) There are two questgivers here: Vespar, who wants you to find the lost handle of his staff, and Kramer, who wants you to kill some ogres.

3) There's also a barbarian city here, which is one of the monster strongholds mentioned by the dragon in the manual. Despite the mindless hostility of the wandering-monster barbarians in this area, and regardless of whether or not you've burned their camp, the ruler of the barbarian city will receive you politely, and you can choose to either fight him or be peaceable. In neither event will you get any energy disks here, though.

Darkside Quadrant B4

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 13. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) There are "troll holes" in this quadrant. Be sure to keep the Levitate and Light spells on as you travel this area.

2) Nibbler the incredibly annoying monkeydog has a quest for you: fetch him a melon. Once you've done this he'll send you off on a second quest which will ultimately end in your acquiring an important key.

Darkside Quadrant C3

Except for the cracked-earth desert part of this area, the quadrant is readily clearable at level 13. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) There are three more gemstone mines here. Like the other gemstone mines, these aren't hard to clear of monsters, but the mining itself can be deadly. Save before attempting to mine any diamonds. Don't neglect to examine the throne you will find in one of the mines.

2) There is a "troll hole" in this quadrant. Be sure to keep the Levitate and Light spells on as you travel this area.

Darkside Quadrant C4

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 13. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) There are "troll holes" in this quadrant. Be sure to keep the Levitate and Light spells on as you travel this area.

2) Save before sampling the fruit in the fruit huts. Some of them work the same way barrels in dungeons do; others are deadly.

3) There's a sprite city here, which is one of the monster strongholds mentioned by the dragon in the manual. Though wandering-monster sprites are unshakeably hostile, the sprite queen will talk things over reasonably with you. You can choose to either slay the sprites, or perform a quest for them, in exchange for their energy disks.

4) The entrance to the Temple of Bark is in this quadrant.

Temple of Bark

A level 12 party could make their way through this dungeon. The monsters are woefully easy (I cleared it at 13th level and didn't even notice I'd felled the boss orc; he died from my arrow shots before he could even get into the same square with me!) On the other hand, the traps are brutal, and you'll be in for a lot of resting (or reloading) if you tackle it before level 16. You may also need to return--there's a secret monster you can unlock in the lowest level of the dungeon, who is a tough fight even for a 16th-level party

Things of note include:

1) Note that some doors in this dungeon won't open no matter how many times your thief attempts it--you'll need to either find a mechanism for opening them elsewhere in the dungeon, or put your shoulder into it and bash them down.

2) Despite what the notes in the recipe book may suggest, there is no potion of accuracy down here as far as I can tell--just the two potions of personality and strength.

3) The requisite easter egg is hidden in this dungeon rather than in the graveyard where it usually is--the names of the game design team are listed in the temple membership rolls. :-)

4) Despite being forewarned by one of the prisoners, there is no way to avoid being ambushed by the orc shaman, nor any conversational choices you can make when you encounter him.

5) In the lowest level of the dungeon, you must 'feed' a skull five times in a row for it to count. Doing this the correct way yields one reward, but actually, doing it the wrong way yields a second reward. Don't worry, you can get both of them. There's a mega-tough fight if you get it wrong, though, so be sure to save before feeding any skulls.

Darkside Quadrant D4

This quadrant is readily clearable at level 13. Besides the wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) There are "troll holes" in this quadrant. Be sure to keep the Levitate and Light spells on as you travel this area.

2) Save before sampling the fruit in the fruit huts. Some of them work the same way barrels in dungeons do; others are deadly.

3) There are an altar and a well here; neither is more useful than usual.

4) And there's the entrance to the Great Southern Tower, which you're not able to enter yet.

Darkside Quadrant D3

This is the last of the easily clearable Darkside quadrants. (E4, F4, E3, and F3 have tough monsters and strong traps--you can clear them successfully at level 15 if you put your mind to it, but it's a pain, and there really aren't enough points of interest on the map to justify the effort. C2, D2, and all the 1 quadrants are too difficult for a party at this level.) Besides the wandering monsters, things of note in Quadrant D3 include:

1) There's one more Gemstone Mine in this quadrant. As with all gemstone mines, the monsters aren't hard, but the mining itself can be deadly. Save before attempting to mine any gems.

2) Save before sampling the fruit in the fruit huts. Some of them work the same way barrels in dungeons do; others are deadly.

3) The ogre village can be found in this quadrant, which is one of the monster strongholds mentioned by the dragon in the manual. If you keep bribing them you can keep a conversation going and learn a few pieces of interesting but ultimately useless information. You can either bribe them for their energy disks, or fight them for them.

4) Turn back when you reach the cracked-earth desert. As in most Might and Magic games, this is one of the toughest terrains, and you'll want to tackle it later.

Winterkill

Back on the Lightside, you are probably ready to tackle the last town, Winterkill. It's possible to solve this town as early as level 12, but the ghosts have such good armor class that they will be impossible for you to hit in melee until level 16 or so, so you'll have to rely on magical attacks if you enter before that. And their own attacks cause aging, which can only be cured through a long, annoying quest. This is the place to get the Teleport spell, though, so you won't want to put it off too long.

There's nothing of note in Winterkill except for the kill-the-ghosts quest and some broken bottles helpfully full of undead-turning spells, just in case you don't have spellcasters in your party. Be sure to click the glowing globes for useful clues.

Quadrant A3

This quadrant should be readily clearable at level 12.

1) Entrance to Winterkill.

2) Kai Wu has a quest for you: defeat the ninjas in this quadrant.

3) Glom has a quest for you: defeat the cyclops in quadrant A4.

4) The Winter Druid is in this quadrant, if you're on the Season Druids quest.

5) The pyramid on this map only leads to the same place as the one by Vertigo does--within Castleview.

6) There's a fountain on this map, nothing to write home about.

Quadrant B3

This quadrant should be readily clearable at level 14. Besides wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) Two wells; the one on the far east of the quadrant raises your intellect by 50 points and is a good one to beacon before going into the Dragon Cave, so that your characters can read more of the books therein.

2) Entrance to Darkstone Tower

3) Thickbark the Tree has a quest for you: destroy the ice trolls in quadrant B4.

4) Halon the Efficient has a quest for you: fetch him a lava rock.

Quadrant B4

This quadrant should be readily clearable at level 14. Besides wandering monsters, things of note include:

1) An archer camp and troll lair to destroy to keep these enemies from respawning. The troll lair is assigned as a quest in quadrant B3, so you may want to be sure you visit that quadrant first before coming here.

2) A quest item; the questgiver is in quadrant C3, if you haven't been there yet and like to learn about a quest before accidentally solving it.

3) Entrance to the Golem Dungeon.

4) Entrance to the Cave of Illusions.

Cave of Illusion

Like the Temple of Bark, the monsters in this dungeon are fairly easy for a 13th-level party, but the traps are very strong, and it's not always possible to Jump past them. Things of note include:

1) You don't need a key or stone to enter this dungeon.

2) You need gems to pay the skulls with--at least 2000 gems in total, if you intend on getting all the goodies they have to offer (which you really should.) If you're short on gems, try visiting Castle Basenji first. There are tons of gems there.

3) As far as I know the swords in this dungeon are always mirages, and there is nothing you can do to solidify them. There is, however, something you can do on the bottommost level of this dungeon that will cause the safes (and, unfortunately, the spear traps) to become solid. There is one safe on each level.

4) The key to the Tower of High Magic is hidden in here.

Quadrant A4

This quadrant should be readily clearable at level 14.

1) There are a shrine and a fountain here; the fountain offers +250 spell points, so it may be worth keeping in mind if you're a big portaler.

2) There's a cyclops outpost to destroy to keep them from respawning; this is a quest assigned in quadrant A3, if you haven't been there yet and like to learn about a quest before accidentally solving it.

Tomb of 1000 Terrors

This is a good dungeon to be at least 14th level for. The monsters in here have solid hit points and problematic special attacks--the ghouls in particular can be deceptively tough. There are also strong traps and objects that have both beneficial and negative effects you will need to either slough off or spend time healing.

1) You need the key to get in here; you get it automatically at Newcastle.

2) You can find 8 more Megacredits within, which should be enough to finish the other two Newcastle improvements. If you didn't find them all, don't worry, because there are many backup Megacredits stashed in the Golem Dungeon.

3) For some reason I never was able to figure out, Jump and Teleport are disabled in certain parts of the dungeon but not in others. So most of the time you can jump past traps, but not always. Be prepared to take some physical punishment in this dungeon.

4) Manacles, stocks, cages, and iron maidens can be used productively only once. Subsequent uses just put people to sleep or drive them insane.

5) The green sparkly patches on the floor teleport you to another part of the dungeon and back.

Castle Basenji

It's best to be level 15 when you tackle this dungeon, although it's solveable at a lower level if you have good armor class and don't mind portaling in and out to fix conditions.

The castle is very straightforward. No key or stone is necessary to enter, but you will find an item inside which belongs to a quest assigned in quadrant A1. If you dislike solving quests you didn't even know about, make sure you finish A1 before entering Basenji.

From here, the dungeons, cities, and map quests get significantly tougher--but that's OK, because your party should be 16th-18th level by now and ready to handle those tougher challenges.

Onward to the Late Game!



Indian languages * Indian tribes * Native American pottery * Tribal tattoo

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