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Swords of Xeen Walkthrough

Swords of Xeen is a fan-created mod based on the Worlds of Xeen games. I rarely write up mods, but Swords of Xeen was released as a bonus feature on the official Might and Magic Compilation, so what the heck, here goes.

Swords of Xeen does nothing to defy the stereotype of mods as overly derivative--there are no gameplay or design elements that didn't exist in the original games, not even a single graphic as far as I can tell. Also, though the gameworld is very large, there are only one or two points of interest in each quadrant, and the challenge levels are very poorly balanced compared with professional Might and Magic games. But the concept of rescuing, fixing up, and ruling cities in a Might and Magic game setting is an interesting one, and there are a few afternoons of fun gameplay in here.

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General Tips

1) Clairvoyance does not work in this game. Don't pay any attention to it at all--the information the heads give you is frequently completely incorrect (both warning you away from useful or necessary actions and tricking you into trying uselessly harmful ones.)

2) The final dungeon contains very tough opponents that can only be hit by six weapons with no to-hit bonus, all of which use only energy attacks to fight with. This means that all the weapons and armor you will collect for your characters throughout the course of the game will be completely useless in the last dungeon. (I actually stashed most of it on a couple of mule characters in one of the inns, and never went back for it. Throwing it away would have worked just as well--there are no physical attacks in the entire dungeon, so wearing obsidian plate armor is no better than going in naked.) What you need to do, though, is save ANY item you come across in the entire game that increases your energy resistance, accuracy, or strength (since those are the only things that can help you in the final dungeon, and some of the monsters there are very hard to defeat.) I was really kicking myself for having sold off a suit of kinetic ring mail just because my ninja already had an emerald suit, getting rid of a true shield, and so on. Save those suckers, it'll spare you a lot of time and aggravation later.

3) Don't worry about money--unlike Worlds of Xeen, you'll never be hard up for it. Don't bother waiting for the merchant skill, either--as far as I know you'll never have the opportunity to learn it.

4) The monster levels in each area are horribly badly balanced. You will frequently reach bottlenecks guarded by one monster who's way too tough for your party, yet there's no way to get to the easy areas beyond without replaying the fight 20 times until you win. Use the wells that temporarily boost your levels if need be, and reload and walk towards dragons and magic-users backward so that they can't cast spells at you (just like in Worlds of Xeen, monsters will not activate and begin attacking you until you have caught sight of them.)

Swords of Xeen Area Guide

There are only three real towns, and most of the rest of the gameworld contains nothing but wandering monsters. Here is a walkthrough of the game's locations in very rough order of their difficulty (due to the 'bottleneck' problem I already mentioned, some of them are hard to categorize):

Greyhaven

This is the town you start off in. There are no quests, no useful information, or anything else besides shops and services. Oddly enough, though, there are two extremely powerful dragons behind grates in the north of town. These dragons are too tough to kill until the very end of the game (at least level 25), and they have no relevance to anything nor even any treasure.

Once you've cleared the first city on Havec, you won't be able to return to Greyhaven again for a long time. Once you've succeeded at crossing the mountain range and are strong enough to survive the fall, jumping through the clouds with levitation turned off will bring you back to Greyhaven, if you're determined to leave no dragon unchallenged. But make sure that you buy the most important spells from the guild before you leave, because many of them are not available for purchase at any of the Havec guilds.

Quadrant A1

This is by far the most populated quadrant on Havec. Points of interest include:

1) The entrance to the city of Hart.

2) An NPC who will teach your party the Swimming skill in exchange for gathering melons (which are scattered around the countryside.)

3) NPCs who can sell your party the Bodybuilding and Direction Sense skills.

4) The empty tent will change to an NPC that can sell you a pass to Hart once the city has been partially restored.

5) Two NPCs have simple quests for you: fetch a crown for Vera and a wand for Eyeacoc. You may run into the objects before meeting the questgivers (they are both on this map as well, so there is no good way to avoid this.) Solving Eyeacoc's quest is basically useless-- nothing comes of it no matter what you do.

6) Another NPC, Cold the merchant, has a third quest for you: kill some bandits on the road.

7) There are four wells here that require you to toss in a magic coin before you can use them, as well as one free fountain. None of them are especially worth the time spent drinking from them, much less paying for the privelege.

8) There is also a well which offers a permanent level to each of your characters in exchange for some gems. Since it becomes progressively harder to gain levels the further along you get in the game, it's good to put off using this well until later in the game if you can.

9) And there's the travel pyramid that leads back to Greyhaven, but once you've cleared Hart, the pyramid breaks and can't be used any longer.

Hart

The initial stages of rescuing Hart are quite easy. Once you've cleared the city of monsters, though, the mayor will periodically freak out and refuse to let you enter until you've killed a group of wandering monsters somewhere in the vicinity--and some of these wandering monsters are next to impossible for an 8th-level party to kill (one was made up of giants, for example.) You can always use Town Portal to get into Hart in the meantime.

A nice touch in this game is that the more of the surrounding quadrants you clear of monsters, the nicer each town becomes--trees are planted along the arcades, merchants set up tents in the town square, and so forth. Check back in periodically to see if anything new has happened. Even after I had cleared the entire world of Havec, though, Hart never acquired a bank (despite the mayor's directive to "check in at the bank to collect taxes.") In fact, none of the three cities ever did pay me any taxes. Maybe you have to let more playing time elapse in order to actually get the taxes, or maybe it was one of those ambience things that was never intended to translate into actual gold pieces in the first place, but either way, you won't need the money, so just put it out of your mind.

Things of note in Hart:

1) Many ghosts will appear at various parts of town and speak to you about their plight. The ghosts disappear once you have restored the town. One ghost specifically requests you save someone from the Black Tower (which is possible to do), and another requests you save someone from the sewers (which is just a red herring, as there are no people to save in the sewers.)

2) The mayor needs to be released from a cage.

3) The four shopkeepers in town need you to fetch their tools (three hammers and a wand) before they can re-open their stores.

4) The tower is tiny, requires no key, and contains only monsters and treasure. After you've cleared the town, it will change to contain a plot NPC and another NPC selling the Navigation skill.

5) The town mirrors are horribly useless compared to the ones in the real Xeen games. First, each one needs a gem to activate it; second, they can only teleport between the three towns, not to named map locations; and third, you don't even get to choose which town to teleport to (it's random.) There's no reason not to use Town Portal instead.

6) The sewers have two levels. The first level is just monsters and treasure (including one of the hammers needed by a Hart merchant.) Although you can find a note saying that something is hidden in a sewer drain, there isn't actually anything there, nor is there actually anyone down here in need of rescue (despite what one of the ghosts suggests.) The second level of the sewer consists only of one very annoying room, with many squares that are trapped, teleport you back to the entrance, or dispel magic. The only thing in this room is the door labelled "City Treasury," which contains one of the hammers needed by a Hart merchant. Otherwise, there is nothing in the lower sewer level at all and no need to waste your time jumping into each alcove (as I did.)

7) The city will not be fully completed until you've freed the townsolk from the Black Tower, at which point two of them will set up tents teaching Cartography and Pathfinder skills and a third will set up a useless scam tent. The mayor will also declare you Lord of Hart and promise taxes to you, but nothing ever comes of this pledge.

8) When I played, I was extremely frustrated by the lack of a guild in Hart--there's an empty room with a bookshelf and vat that was clearly intended for a guild, yet it stayed empty no matter how much stuff I cleared. Well, it turns out that Quadrant A1 doesn't register with the game as "fully explored" until/unless you spend a magic coin on one of the wells in that quadrant. Make sure you do this, and you'll save yourself a lot of aggravation with missing spells.

Quadrant A2

Heading to the Black Tower, the first quadrant you pass through is A2, and it is easy to clear at this level. Points of interest include:

1) The Wolf Lair is a tiny dungeon with some treasure and monsters to fight.

2) An ogre gives you a quest to destroy an orc fort, and an orc gives you a quest to destroy an ogre fort. Both forts are in this quadrant--they look like cities. The ogre fort may be too tough for you at present, if so, you can do the Black Tower first and then return. There is also a quest item in the ogre fort that goes with a quest assigned in quadrant A5, so you may prefer to wait until you've visited that quadrant to take on the ogres as well.

3) There are two not-especially-useful fountains in this quadrant.

Quadrant A3

Continuing along the road leads you to quadrant A3, which is not a problem to clear at this level. Points of interest include:

1) An NPC selling the Direction Sense skill (annoying, since this is a duplicate skill you can also acquire in A1.)

2) A druid named Tina who offers a permanent level to each of your characters in exchange for some cash. Since it becomes progressively harder to gain levels the further along you get in the game, it's good to put off taking her up on her offer until later in the game if you can.

3) Alandra the barbarian has a simple quest for you: deliver a Holy Wheel to a guy in a shrine, uh, four squares southeast of her. Havec is evidently a world in dire need of a postman. The guy in the shrine has a second task for you: deliver a High Sign to a temple that at least has the dignity of being up in the mountains somewhere far away.

4) There is a small cluster of haunted huts in the eastern part of this quadrant. This is a recurring theme in this game--the village was evidently slaughtered by monsters. There's nothing you can do about it but listen to the ghosts complain and ransack the ruined village for loot and monsters to kill. There's a key to a nearby dungeon in one of the huts.

5) You won't be able to get into the snowy area to the south until you later, when you either A) get the Teleport spell, B) learn the Mountaineering skill, or C) cross the mountain pass in A5 and work your way back west. When you do, there's another not-especially-useful coin-op well there, along with snowbeasts to kill.

Quadrant B3

Continuing north along the road leads you to quadrant B3 and the Black Tower. Points of interest include:

1) The most important thing in this quadrant is the Black Tower itself. In front of the tower is a funny sign; inside are four prisoners to free, an item you need for a Hart quest, and one of the six Elder Weapons. The barrels increase your characters' skills, but they aren't color-coded and only some of them have permanent effects, so you'll need to reload if you intend to use them strategically.

2) There is another not-especially-useful coin-op well here.

3) Once you acquire Mountaineering, there is buried treasure in these mountains, as well as a troll camp to destroy.

Quadrant B2

There's not much here except an entrance to a dungeon that's too tough for this level, but the rest is easily clearable. Points of interest include:

1) There's a pyramid transporter to the Pyramid of War here. It contains strong monsters and is probably better to explore later in the game through its main entrance in C3.

2) The Sabertooth Tiger Den is another small dungeon with monsters to kill and treasure to gather.

3) The Mountain Shrine is to the north of this quadrant, in the mountain range. You will need to go to this location on one of the game's quests, but you won't be able to do it till you have Mountaineering or the Teleport spell.

4) There is another not-especially-useful coin-op well here.

Quadrant B1

Along with Quadrant A1, this is the other fully-populated map square. Points of interest include:

1) There's a pyramid transporter to the Pyramid of Power here. Only a single blocked-off room of the dungeon can be accessed from this entrance, so you may want to poke your nose in and do it now. The Sphinx in this room will grant you a free level if you can answer her riddle, but as with other level-granting puzzles, you'll get more bang out of them if you wait till you're higher-level before taking the freebie level.

2) There are three small mines on this map, the Diamond Mine, Ruby Mine and Troll Mine. The Diamond Mine can't be completed yet, because you need a special tool to mine the diamond which you won't acquire till the late game. However, it's worth exploring for the experience and treasure. The Ruby Mine and Troll Mine can be finished at this time (though you don't really need the ruby, which is only good for activating the near-worthless mirror in Hart.)

3) Once you've freed Clint the Prestidigitator from the Black Tower, he will set up shop in this quadrant and you can learn the useful Prestidigitation skill here.

4) Coldwell the Druid has a quest for you: deliver a druid carving to Impery.

5) There's a quest item on this map square that belongs to a Hart City quest.

6) There's a barbarian camp in this quadrant to destroy, along with assorted wandering monsters.

7) And in the SW part of the map, there's buried loot to be unearthed.

Quadrant A4

Once you've finished up all your business in Hart, it's time to head for the next city, Impery. You could just use Town Portal to get there, but clearing the city is much harder than clearing the surrounding areas, so you might as well walk there and build up your experience as you go. Points of interest in Quadrant A4 include:

1) The Pyramid of Rettig, a one-level dungeon which is clearable at this level without much difficulty. The key is in quadrant A3 if you haven't found it yet. There's nothing special in this pyramid except the key to another nearby dungeon.

2) There's buried treasure in the snow in one of the "tundra terrain" squares to the south. To get into the tundra without the Teleport spell or the Mountaineering skill, cross the mountain pass in A5 and work your way back west.

Quadrant A5

Points of interest in Quadrant A5 include:

1) There's another little Havec ghost town here to explore and clear out.

2) An NPC named Dave will accost you on the road, give you some exposition about Impery, and ask you to free the city. If you return to him after you have become Lords of Impery, he will thank you and say he is returning home, though he doesn't actually appear on the Impery map.

3) Vincent has a quest for you which you have probably already solved: fetch the Holy Cow from the Ogre camp.

4) There's an NPC here who can teach you the Tracking skill, but as far as I know it's never actually used for anything in this game.

5) The southern mountain pass which will allow you to reach the snowy tundra area is located here. As well as wandering monsters, a snowbeast lair can be found in the A5 tundra.

Quadrant A6

Points of interest in Quadrant A6 include:

1) The huts on this map square are a refugee camp that actually contains living people, with a quest for you: destroy the nearby Yang knights.

2) The Pyramid of Ascihep. You need a key to enter, which can be found in this quadrant. The dungeon is small and fairly easy. The personality-increasing blue pools in there have only temporary effects, so there's no need to bother with them. There's a useful magic item in here, the Staff of the Mountain.

3) There's an expository NPC nearby who will tell you how to use the Staff of the Mountain, though his advice didn't work in my version of the game.

4) The most useful of the coin-operated wells is on this map--it gives ten temporary experience levels, so it may be worth spending an hour drinking from it before facing an aggravating "bottleneck" monster.

5) In the southern "tundra" terrain, there is some more buried treasure and a generally useless well.

Quadrant A7

This quadrant is tough due to the cyclopes, but it can be done if you're careful. You won't be able to completely clear the quadrant until you acquire the Mountaineering skill, though, since there are monsters hiding in the mountains. Points of interest in Quadrant A7 include:

1) At the campfire along the road, you can talk to the mayor of Impery and receive the quest to free the city.

2) There is the entrance to the city of Impery.

3) There's an NPC here named Babbit who informs you of a magic coin he dropped in a woodpile, then disappears. He's not much more than ambience, really--you could find his coin with or without talking to him first, and it's only one of about 12 magic coins in the game, none of which is especially necessary.

4) There's an NPC named Kroe who you need to deliver something to for a quest assigned in a different quadrant.

5) Van Rijn has another lame post-office quest for you: deliver a quest object to the Tree Temple in this same quadrant.

6) You can also get the Hard Rock quest item here, along with some long-winded exposition from a nearby ghost. What this really boils down to is that you need to trade the hard rock in for a soft rock and then trade the soft rock in for the much-needed Mountaineering skill.

Impery

It took me a frustratingly long time to clear Impery; the shapeshifting giants in the sewer are incredibly difficult to kill at this level. The level-boosting well in A6 can make the difference here. Points of interest in Impery include:

1) There are ghosts scattered around the city, one of whom gives you a clue to the clock puzzle (which must be solved before you can enter the sewers.) They will disappear once you have cleared the city.

2) In the sewers, you can find the guildmaster who will sign you up as guild members. The guild itself won't exist until you've saved the town.

3) There are some stat-raising barrels in the sewers; make sure you empty each one fully.

4) As you clear the town, sewers, and surrounding environment, more services will appear in Impery. Besides the usual city hall, four shops, temple, inn, guild and trainer, tents will appear with merchants teaching Armsmaster, Prayermaster, and Danger Sense. Be sure to let the mayor know when you've cleared the city, so that he can move into the city hall and get things started. You can tell Dave the potter once you've become Lords of Impery and he'll go back home too, though you get no XP or anything for that.

5) Like the other two towns, Impery has a magic mirror that needs a special gem in order to become functional. It's not worth bothering with; all it does is randomly teleport you between the three towns. Town Portal is better.

Quadrant A8

Be careful not to explore the eastern "coastline" too carefully--the lich on the southeastern island will fly across the chasm to kill you if you catch sight of it by looking eastward into its square. Other than the aforementioned island, it's not hard to clear this quadrant. Points of interest include:

1) There's buried treasure in the sand area.

2) The final step in the Garden of Wonders quest is here (a guy who will create a land bridge to the island.) This is sort of a baffling quest since you can just teleport to the island yourself, but once you get the rock candy you may as well finish it.

3) Once you're strong enough to kill the lich (by level 15 or so), there are fountains on the southeastern island that will raise your stats temporarily. It takes forever for your whole party to drink from all of them, but the Fountain of Accuracy, at least, is a good one to bookmark before the tough fights in the final dungeon.

Quadrant B8

Stay away from the mountain pass to the north at first; it's guarded by an armadillo who's too tough to kill before at least level 15, and has also been cursed by a ghost so that it sucks away all your spell points whenever you enter. Other points of interest in Quadrant B8 include:

1) You can buy a magical coin from a merchant here, though I have no idea why you'd want to (there are at least 12 on the map, and except for one, the wells they activate are useless anyway.)

2) There's a coin-operated Fountain of Youth here, but unless something very odd happens in your game, you'll never need it--there are no quests or game events that age your characters, and simply fighting with mummies won't age your characters more than a few years apiece (which is harmless.) Whatever you do, though, don't let a character who ISN'T unnaturally aged drink from this fountain--no one playtested this eventuality, and your character will end up 255 years old.

3) There's a step in the Garden of Wonders quest here.

Quadrant B7

Points of interest in Quadrant B7 include:

1) There's another little Havec ghost town here to explore and clear out.

2) There's a step in the Garden of Wonders quest here.

3) There's an electropede nest to seal up and a barbarian camp to burn, along with assorted wandering monsters.

Quadrant B6

Points of interest in Quadrant B6 include:

1) There's another little Havec ghost town here to explore and clear out.

2) There's the entrance to the Abandoned Temple here. This is a small, relatively easy dungeon; to get in you will need the key, which can be found in the Pyramid of Rettig. There's a nifty wall-shifting puzzle in here, as well as one of the Elder weapons.

3) There's an armor seller in a wagon here who sells only generic armor--good for item enchanters.

4) There is some treasure buried in the mountains, but you'll need to have the Mountaineering skill to get at it.

Quadrant B5

Points of interest in Quadrant B5 include:

1) There's another little Havec ghost town here to explore and clear out.

2) Amon has a quest for you: fetch him a Sky Hook.

3) The entrance to the Pyramid of Canegut. The pyramid itself is fairly easy, but the key is held by some extremely tough monsters in Quadrant B4. It's another small, one-level dungeon, but it contains four fountains that raise your stats permanently, which are rather rare in this game (especially as compared to other Might and Magic games.) You need to pull the levers in order to activate the fountains. They are not color-coded, so save before drinking. A quest item for a side quest can also be found in here.

4) There's a well here which spits out an extremely powerful dragon if you throw a magic coin in. You won't be strong enough to kill that dragon till the very end of the game, but even when you do, it's very anticlimactic--the well turns out just to be one of those mildly beneficial magic wells that isn't worth the time spent drinking out of it. :P

Quadrant B4

It is very difficult for a 15th-level party to completely clear this quadrant, because the fight with the gargoyle king in the north is brutally difficult. Luckily, though, this fight is only triggered if you search the gargoyle lair, so you can explore the rest of the map square safely. Points of interest in Quadrant B4 include:

1) There's another little Havec ghost town here to explore and clear out.

2) There's a medusa sprite nest and the aforementioned tough gargoyle nest to clear out, as well as general wandering monsters.

3) There's an empty shrine in this area, which I never did find any point to.

Now What?

There are only two passes through the northern mountains--one guarded by an armadillo and the other by a dragon--and the "island" to the far southeast, though it can be reached by teleportation, is guarded by a power lich. All three of those are extremely difficult, unpleasant fights at this level (especially the armadillo, who is inconveniently located in a no-magic zone.) So at this point you're basically left with three choices: go up the road into C7 and reload a few times until you can figure out how to bypass the dragon (it won't attack you if you can keep your back to it), use Town Portal to get to Sand Town and then quickly run back out into quadrant D7, or go back to B1 and use Teleport to get over the hills. All three feel uncomfortably like cheating, but the game really does not offer you any alternatives that make sense within-game at this juncture. If you get to quadrant D8 by using the Town Portal trick, it's possible to acquire the Soft Rock, then scoot past the dragon and deliver it to the valley-girl druid in quadrant C7; doing this will net you the Mountaineering skill, at which point you can explore the rest of the quadrants at your leisure. I personally ran out of patience and teleported over the mountains, and found C1 and C2 to be excellent next steps for exploration. It's up to you, though.

Quadrant C1

Points of interest in Quadrant C1 include:

1) An enclave of Tuman warriors to clear out and loot.

2) The entrances to the Emerald and Sapphire mines. The Emerald and Sapphire are actually fairly useless, but the mines themselves are worth exploring for the experience and treasure.

Quadrant C2

Points of interest in Quadrant C1 include:

1) The entrance to the Trappist Monastery is here. The name is a pun, not an obscure religious reference; the place is full of traps. The Levitate spell does not work normally in this dungeon, so you need to Jump over pits. The levers just turn off the various traps--I was unable to figure out what the note about the "Lever of Doom" was about, since none of the levers created any doom when I pulled them. The vats have only bad effects, but the magic well increases your magic resistance and the altar permanently increases the personality of clerics and paladins. In fact, due to a bug, the altar will increase your personality again every single time you pray, so you can bring your cleric all the way up to 255 PER if you care to. (It's not a good idea to go higher than that, since the game isn't set up to handle it.)

2) There are many graves to dig up, yielding monsters and treasure. One contains a lich, so tread carefully.

Quadrant C7

Points of interest in Quadrant C7 include:

1) The dragon--if you locate it, reload, and walk onto its square backwards, you may be able to kill it before it can breathe on you, if your speed is high enough. Otherwise you can just face away from it and sidestep past it and it won't notice you're there.

2) The druid who will teach you Mountaineering in exchange for the soft rock. Finally!

3) There are roc nests in the mountains, and various wandering monsters to dispatch.

Quadrant D7

Points of interest in Quadrant D7 include:

1) The entrance to the city of Sand Town.

Sand Town

This town is really difficult to clear fully before level 15, due to one group of power liches and another group of powerful spellcasters. Points of interest include:

1) First, you have to free the mayor. After you clear the city you'll be able to find him again in his office to the north; new shops will be added one at a time as you clear surrounding areas. Unlike elsewhere in Swords of Xeen, you have to not only kill all the monsters in an area, but actually step into every single square in the area for it to count as cleared--so you don't get credit for clearing the sewers or the Caverns until you've lawnmowed the whole map. If you're having trouble getting the mayor to appear and talk to you, make sure there are no blank sqaures remaining on any maps first.

2) There are ghosts scattered around town, who are only there for ambience; they will disappear once you have saved the city.

3) There's a strange chest here that turns out to actually be a fountain, yet has no effect?

4) The sewers are even tougher than the main level of the city, containing powerful undead creatures like a phase mummy. You will probably need to wait to clear the sewers until after you have visited some of the other map quadrants.

5) Once the weaponsmith returns to town, he asks you to find his hammer before he can set up shop. However, I was unable to actually find this hammer anywhere in the game, and this quest does not appear to be solveable.

6) Like the other two towns, Sand Town has a magic mirror that needs a special gem in order to become functional. It's not worth bothering with; all it does is randomly teleport you between the three towns. Town Portal is better.

Quadrant D8

Points of interest in Quadrant D8 include:

1) The stone circle where you can exchange the Hard Rock for the Soft Rock, an important exercise if you want to learn Mountaineering.

2) A well that weakens you (? I never found any point to this)

3) A hermit with some exposition about the Five Shrines further to the north.

Quadrant D6

Nothing here but some relatively easy monsters to clear out.

Quadrant C6

Here is the ring of stones where you're supposed to strike the Staff of the Mountain four days in a row. I don't know if this is a bug or what, but for me, it didn't work that way at all. I needed to strike the staff, sleep for a week, then strike it again. It was a real pain in the ass. Once you've done it for the fourth time, though, a cool lava maze will appear with new monsters and fountains that permanently raise your stats. You can't actually become the Lord of Sand Town until you've done this, because the hidden monsters continue to count as 'uncleared.'

Quadrants D5, D4, C4, and C5

Each of these quadrants contains some tough wandering monsters, the tower of an evil wizard, and some huts inhabited by powerful guards. The evil wizards are actually easier to kill than the guards in the huts. Searching each tower after you've slain them yields some sweet treasure and a password you'll need later in the game. You can always come back to clear the huts out later if need be.

Quadrant C8

Most of this quadrant can be cleared at level 15, but there's a really tough minotaur west of the road that will require a lot of preparation at that level. Other points of interest include:

1) The entrance to the Caverns. Unlike most dungeons in Swords of Xeen, this one has multiple levels and a satisfying resolution. Before you leave this area, make sure that you have stepped in every square, because otherwise the game may not recognize you as having cleared the dungeon.

Quadrant E7

Points of interest include:

1) A stagnant well (?)

Quadrant C3

This quadrant is tough but doable at level 15. Here is the main entrance to the Pyramid of War, which it's feasible to complete now. The sphinx in this dungeon offers a free level to your characters if you can answer her question.

Quadrant D3

Here is the main entrance to the Pyramid of Power, which it's feasible to complete now. If you didn't take the sphinx's free level back in the room accessible from Quadrant B1, now's a good time to take her up on it.

Quadrant E5

Nothing here but moderately tough monsters.

Quadrant E6

Nothing here but moderately tough monsters and a hermit with an atmospheric warning for you.

Quadrant E4

The monsters around here are quite strong. Points of interest include:

1) The Pyramid of the Dragon. This dungeon is actually pretty easy if you walk around it backwards (as any good dragonslayer of Xeen does.) Click on the Sphinx repeatedly, as she has five different riddles for you. Unfortunately, the game does not accept the correct answer to the last riddle she asks--the riddle is a variant on "What is nothing once people know it," to which the answer is "Secret." However, the sphinx will only accept the answer "Riddle," which doesn't even fit the question. It's worth noticing, though, that every time you give a WRONG answer, a fire dragon appears on the same square as you. Which is practically gift-wrapped XP, since fire dragons fight like crap once you get them on the same square as you. So yes, you can give the wrong answer 20 times in a row and kill 20 dragons without getting a scratch on you. I only learned this because the game won't accept the actually correct answer to the final riddle, but it's a useful technique regardless.

Quadrant F4

Nothing here but wandering monsters.

Quadrant F7

Nothing here but wandering monsters.

Quadrant F8

Just past the signs that say "You will meet me sooner than you think fools!" is a row of teleporting squares that send you further north and sic a boss monster on you. (I think it was a diamond golem but I don't actually remember.) If he's too tough for you you can just Jump over the teleporting row and he'll never appear. Otherwise, ignore all the out-of-canon stuff he has to say about Source being the boss of Alamar and Lord Xeen and just kill him.

Other things of note in this quadrant include:

1) The Five Shrines. Two of these have permanent effects (granting two permanent levels and boosting several of each characters' stats.) One gives five temporary levels, and the other two heal hit points and spell points. The dragon guarding them should be pretty easy for your party by now, but if not, you can always charge him backwards.

2) A skeleton on the ground around here has one of the Elder Weapons you need.

Quadrant E8

Nothing here but wandering monsters. Look out for the minotaur, who's much tougher than anything else in the vicinity.

Cleaning up anything you've missed

All three towns should be fully completed by now, and your party should be the Lords of all three. (If you skipped a monster that was tough for you early on, like the lich in A8, armadillo in B8, dragon in C7 or gargoyle king in B4, you may need to go back and clean those up now.) All that remains now are the undead castle area in E3, the dragon valley in F6 and F5, the big useless sea in D1, D2, E1, E2, F1, F2, and F3, and the endgame.

Quadrant E3

The vulture rocs in this area are extremely tough for a 20th-level party--it's better to wait on this quadrant till level 25 or higher. The only thing of import in this quadrant is the tough but lucrative Castle of the Undead, which is larger than most dungeons in Swords of Xeen (three levels high) but contains nothing other than monsters and treasure.

Dragon Valley (F5 and F6)

Other things of note in this quadrant include:

1) There are four dragon's nests on these maps to destroy (acid and fire dragons in F5, frost dragons and hydras in F6.)

2) Conveniently, there is also a hitpoint-restoring fountain in each quadrant (the one in F5 is bugged and can be drunk from as many times as you have the patience for) and a spellpoint-restoring hut in F6.

3) There is a three-level Dragon Cave dungeon that can be accessed from two entrances, one in each quadrant. The three levels are called "Wyrm's Lair" (entrance in F5), "Dragon's Cave" (entrance in F6), and, oddly, "Skyroad B3" (accessed from the Dragon's Cave.) I assume the programmers just forgot to change the title of this middle level. There are stat barrels in the Dragon's Cave--examine them carefully, because some of them have two uses before becoming empty (others have only one.) A special fountain in the "Skyroad B3" cave raises your level permanently, and an Elder Weapon and the Diamond Pick can both be found here. In the Wyrm's Lair, drinking from the fountain will give your characters the Linguist skill (I'm not sure this was ever used for anything in this game, though.)

The Big Useless Sea (D1, D2, E1, E2, F1, F2, and F3)

There's nothing of interest in any of these quadrants except the following:

1) In E1 is a robot who will tell you a password you need in exchange for a diamond. Then you can enter the password to access two important endgame areas (the Sky Platform and the Underworld.)

2) In F1 is the final endgame dungeon, the Metal Tower.

Endgame

1) The Sky Platform has a simple puzzle you need to solve to capture the Postive Orb. (I never ended up using these orbs in my game, but you may have better luck.) There's also a special staff here that will be useful in the Underworld, and some really fierce monsters (griffins, whirlwinds, etc.) To get to the Underworld you need to fall through the correct place in the clouds. Save before trying this, so that you can easily reload if you pick the wrong one.

2) The Underworld is where you can get the Negative Orb (again, I never found a use for it, but there's apparently a place you can put them in the Metal Tower somewhere.) You can use the Firebane Staff to turn lava squares to stone, for easier travel. The GateMaster and his shrines made absolutely no sense to me. The passwords are Pain and Despair, but there's no way to find that out within the game as far as I can tell. I found the passwords from another online walkthrough, which didn't seem to have any idea why they were the passwords either. In any event, you also have to defeat the GateMaster in a few different forms (including his powerful devil form) before you can have the orb.

3) Now there's nothing left but the Metal Tower. The monsters in there are all robots who use only energy attacks. Nothing else. And they can only be harmed by the six Elder Weapons you've found (only five of them, practically speaking, because the Elder Longbow can't hit the broad side of a barn.) So at this point you can basically throw away every piece of armor or weaponry or accessory you've collected all game unless it raises your energy resistance, accuracy, or strength. Those are the only things that are valuable at this point. Fights in this tower are exceptionally badly balanced--the Elder Weapons are nonmagical, so they don't increase your characters' chances to hit, and the robots have very good armor class (especially the Autobots, which you can sit there fighting for 15 minutes before they finally go down.) Before you go in, you'll definitely want to visit the Fountain of Accuracy at the Garden of Wonders and the Well of Experience that gives you ten extra levels. You'll need them. You'll need some patience, too.

There are a few odd quirks to this final dungeon. For one thing, though there are five computer terminals that accept the five passwords you have learned, there is no clue anywhere in the game as to which password goes with which terminal. You just have to use trial and error, and reload if you enter the wrong password. Then there is a sixth terminal on Level 3 which asks for a password, and none of the other passwords works on this one. Broken puzzle? Devious trap? Poor attempt at a "super-goober" easter egg? I have no idea. Finally, when I look at a high-spoiler walkthrough, it looks like the Positive and Negative Orbs are supposed to be used in this dungeon to lower the Source's forcefield. I never did this in my game--I assumed entering the final password must have lowered the forcefield, but maybe the thing is just bugged. I escaped the Metal Tower with both orbs still in my possession.

Don't be concerned about the self-destruct countdown, by the way. It simply counts down by one every time you go down a flight of stairs, so that you escape the building just in time no matter what you do (well, unless you go down more than five flights of stairs--climbing up and then down the same set of stairs repeatedly will, in fact, make the ship blow up with you still on it, but there's no special image or text if you make this happen--just the usual death screen.)

And that's it. You've won!

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