Part 3: Moo Money, Moo Problems"So I heard a rumour that there's some ancient temple near town. How 'bout we go take a look-see, huh? I bet it's full of treasure."
"We should hire some help before we go. Not that I can't handle everything on my own, of course. But they could come in handy if we need monster bait."
"Allan Bow, at your service. Bow by name, archer by profession."
Allan Bow is a pretty average archer, although his very high Accuracy is nice. Interestingly, he starts with the Pathfinder skill, so with him and a Ranger in the party you can go through thick forests right from the start of the game.
"And I am Fineous the Druid. What? Why is it so hard to believe that I'm 22 years old? I'll have you know this white hair is a genetic condition, and I'm quite sensitive about it!"
Fineous has good stats across the board except for Might. Unfortunately, he's still a Druid.
Allan Bow and Fineous also begin with some equipment already in their inventory. Nothing fancy, but it's good enough to get them started.
"What, you want to be paid again already? But we haven't done anything yet!"
Hirelings expect their daily stipend when first hired and at 5:00 every morning thereafter. It's important to make sure there's enough gold in the party pool to cover their costs, or else they'll leave and return to the inn.
"Oh, look, a gypsy wagon! Let's go get our fortunes told!"
"Even the toughest Knights of legend fell before the Dragon Lord. Much honor will be bestowed upon the hero who fells that beast."
"What do you think you can tell us about me, then?"
"The mummies in the Fortress of Fear take great pleasure in killing Druids."
"Well, gee, ain't you all sunshine and roses today. How 'bout me?"
"A rogue Ninja must face the wrath of the Swamp Town clan."
"Um... I'm not sure if I want to know my fortune now, but..."
"The Black Knight in Cursed Cold Cavern may be your toughest foe. When not commanding his legion of Witch servants, he hunts Paladins for sport."
"Sure is dark in here. Anyone know a Light spell?"
"Hey, you with the goofy hat, whatever your name is. What are we paying you for? Get some light in here!"
"Not a problem. There, bright as day. Wait, are those--"
Almost immediately upon entering, the party is attacked by skeletons. These are a pain to kill: they're about on par with Orc Warriors, except that they're highly resistant to physical attacks. Most hits will only do 1-2 points of damage to them.
Fortunately, Skeletons exclusively target Clerics. And I just so happen to have fitted out Tianas, the party's Cleric, with the best armour I could find for her. So I can just hold down the attack key and slowly whittle them away while they completely fail to hit anyone.
Skeletons drop Gems, which are important for magic. You know how some spells have a listed cost of 4/1 or something? That means 4 spell points and 1 gem. Run out of gems and you can't cast any spells that require them. Fortunately, they're plentiful enough that this isn't likely to happen under normal circumstances.
"Ewww! I don't want to touch that. Somebody else do it."
"What kind of an evil cleric are you if you won't even touch a dead body? Fine, I guess I have to do everything myself."
"Well, that was productive. Let's keep moving."
"Hey, this body over here's got one of those skulls Kranion wanted. I wonder how it wound up in this temple."
"Maybe this place isn't so bad after all. I wonder whaaaaaaaaaaa"
This dungeon is full of pits. If you don't have some way of protecting yourself from them (we don't), they do 20 damage to the first two members of the party.
"Looks like this gate needs some brute force to open it. Good thing we've got a pair of brutes with us."
"You're lucky I'm still sore from falling in that pit, or you'd be paying for that right now."
"Heh. You wouldn't dare hurt the party's heal--"
"Aaargh! Why does this always happen to me?"
Zombies are much like Skeletons except with slightly more HP. Like Skeletons, they're resistant to physical damage but otherwise not too threatening. Unlike Skeletons, they actually have a chance in hell of hitting Tianas, and they can inflict Disease.
"Tianas! Tianas, are you okay?"
"I'll be fine with a little healing. Do a better job of protecting me next time."
"Anyway, I'm more worried about those two clowns at the front. They keep falling into pits."
"My armour! My beautiful armour! I'm going to find whoever built this temple and make them pay!"
Whenever a party member is hit hard enough to knock them unconscious, there's a chance their armour will be broken. If this happens, it's useless until you get back to a blacksmith and pay to have it repaired. Try not to let this happen.
"Cathedral of Carnage, huh? Sounds like my kind of place. I can imagine it now... all of that dismembered human flesh, ripe for the plucking..."
"Is it jus' me or is Tianas bein' even creepier than usual?"
"You can get this one open, right, Cyrus?"
"Don't rush me, don't rush me, I know what I'm doin'."
"Are you really a ninja? You don't look like a ninja."
"Sure I am! I even trained under Fu Ling, the Master of Deception!"
"How do you know he was the Master of Deception?"
"Why would he lie about that?"
"If he was the Master of Deception, why wouldn't he lie about it?"
"So what was he like?"
"Well, I ain't sayin' he was disagreeable or nothin', but... he'd have an easier time findin' a second for seppuku than a fourth for bridge, if you catch my drift."
"There! Told you I could do it."
The two chests in this room had a little over 1000 gold in total, plus some decent armour. There was another Sacred Silver Skull on some bones nearby, too.
"What, even more zombies? We can't just keep fighting like this when our weapons are no good against them."
"This is more like it: a spell to damage undead. See, we gotta think. Use our brains. Yes... brains... must have brains..."
"Tianas, are you sure you're okay?"
"What? I'm fine! I'm just the same as always."
"Your argument would be more convincing if you weren't trying to gnaw on my head."
"Tianas, this is for your own good. Hold still while I cast this on you."
"Have no fear, I will bravely volunteer to hold her in place, risking life and limb in the process!"
"Hey, watch where you're grabbing!"
"I was merely, er, ensuring that I had a secure hold on you. In case you struggled in your feverish state."
"Well, she's already cast it. You can let go now."
Scrolls can be found in various places, and teach a free spell to one character who's capable of learning it before crumbling to dust. Suppress Disease and Turn Undead both happen to be especially handy for this particular dungeon.
"Well, of course they do. Isn't that what dungeons are for? There wouldn't be much point putting good things in a dungeon."
"Well, it's about time I got the recognition I deserve, even if it is from an inanimate crystal lion statue."
Behind a set of locked doors and pits is this statue, which gives the Crusader title. It's essential to come here at some point in order to start the main quest of the game.
Silence is a Cleric spell that blocks a group of enemies from using magic. Of course, it's a status effect spell, so it wastes valuable turns you could be using to just hit things until they die.
"I'm starting to feel sick again. I think we should head back to town and heal up before we finish exploring."
"Fine. We'll all head back to town, just for you. While we're at it, I might as well go drop off those silver skulls with Kranion."
Kranion pays 1000 gold per skull, which isn't bad at all.
"Are you all ready now? Back to the temple, then!"
"Bah. How dangerous can he possibly be? Princes have fallen by my hand."
"Well, look who's got tickets on himself. I didn't see you helping out much when we were fighting those skeletons before."
"I was... conserving my energy!"
"He must be just past this door. If he's a Cleric, maybe he can cast Sparks. I'll protect us from electricity just in case."
Time for this dungeon's boss fight! To even get to the Cleric of Moo, first we have to cut our way through a small army of zombies. Step 1 is to lure them back out around the corner so that the cleric can't take pot shots at us while we're fighting them.
Step 2 is to head back in and make a beeline for the Cleric. He hits the whole party for electrical damage every round, so whatever sources of electrical protection you might have, now's the time to use them.
"What a remarkable hat. I should find out where I can buy one of those. It will help me establish myself as a gentleman of distinction to all who see me."
"Less talking, more fighting!"
Woo, I finally managed to catch an attack animation, such as it is. Notice the little energy-damage splash that appeared on the Cleric of Moo? The damage splash shows not only what element the damage is, but how much damage was done. 1-9 damage is a tiny splash, 10-99 is a small splash (like this one), 100-999 is a big splash, and 1000+ is a huge splash. And yes, we'll routinely be doing over 1000 damage by the end of the game.
At around this point, I notice that the Cleric of Moo's sprite has stopped animating, and also that the party isn't getting hit for heavy electrical damage every round. Turns out the Silence spell I had Tianas cast on a whim actually worked, and now the Cleric is helpless to do anything except stand there while the party beats him to death.
"Whew. That wasn't so hard. And it's all thanks to me."
"All thanks to me."
There are chests all around the room, with 2000 gold, some weapons, and some Ancient Jewellery. This item doesn't do anything, but it can be sold for lots of money.
"Wait a minute, there's something funny about this wall..."
"I knew it!"
"Is this some kind of a secret code? I don't get it."
There are two secret passages in the back of the Cleric's chamber. One leads to a chest with 6000 gold and 60 gems, and the other leads to this.
"Ah, yes. A taste of the limitless arcane power that is my birthright."
Fireball does fire damage to a group of enemies and scales with level. Druids can also learn it, but come on, did you really think I was going to cut Flowers any slack?
The mapping system is one area of gameplay that's undergone a very obvious change since M&M2. Previously, every town, dungeon level or outdoor area was a 16x16 grid. Now, areas can be up to 32x32 squares in size, big enough that you can't see the whole thing at once on the automap. Rest assured, though, that we've explored the whole place before leaving.
"Well, I think we can call that a successful expedition. Now that we no longer have need of you hirelings, we'll be taking your weapons and armour to sell them and recoup some of what you've cost us."
"What? But those are ours!"
"What do your contracts say? 'All valuables are to be distributed among the party at the discretion of the Treasurer' -- that's me. That means all valuables, not just the treasure we find. Now kindly fork over your gear before we resort to more aggressive persuasion."
"Hrmph. Don't expect us to work for you again."
"We just cleared out a temple full of undead, earned massive amounts of treasure, and cheated some poor saps out of their only earthly possessions. This is a good day."
"So, what are we gonna spend the money on? I always wanted a solid gold katana."
"If you're done gloating over how you've profited at our expense, we'll be going now."
As you may have noticed, when hirelings level up their cost per day increases quite rapidly. They also suck up a share of the party's experience points, so until quite late in the game it's a good idea to be judicious about using them.
"Oh no, by all means, please stay. We'd be more than happy to gloat some more. There's no need to feel aggrieved about it. All we've done is demonstrate our natural superiority, you know."
"How did such terrible, self-centred human beings as you ever become adventurers?"
"Oh, we're really not self-centred at all. At least, I'm not. You see, the Soldiers of K'rugot have a sacred duty to observe suffering in the world and take pleasure from it, in order to give it meaning. After all, wouldn't it be terrible if people just suffered and died for no reason? Instead, they suffer and die for our benefit. When you think about it, we're heroes!"
"And if there's no suffering to observe, well, I can just cause some. Pain is never pointless, as long as we're around to enjoy it!"
"Sometimes you two unsettle even me. Wealth and power are motivations I can relate to easily enough, but I've never understood religion. Well, do what you want, as long as your first loyalty is to this party."
"Shh! All of you, look who just entered the inn! Could it be..."
That's it for tonight's episode of Let's Play Might & Magic III. Next time, will the other party investigate the mystery of Fountain Head's polluted water by exploring the town's caverns, or will they continue to explore outdoors? Vote now!