Part 11: Team Phone Home
Update 10: Team Phone Home
"So, David, can you tell me anything about Middlegate? I'm... not from around here."
"Not from Cron, you mean?"
"Hey, how did you know that?"
"Well, I don't mean to offend, but you don't quite look like a typical dwarf. Besides, I'm in much the same position. I can't say I remember much from before I came to this world... I was sitting in a lovely quiet place full of trees and flowers, I think, and then a group of drunken young hooligans picked me up and carried me off, and somehow I ended up here. That was two years ago now, and I think it's high time I found my way back."
"Ach, so I'm nae tha only one stuck 'ere after all. I be Wee Jock o' tha Pictsies. I crawstepped intae this world an' I dinna ken how tae git back oot."
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Wee Jock. You seem very, er, blue."
"Are ye daft, or hae ye ne'er seen woad before? Now wha' d'ye say? Will ye help me git back tae me own people?"
"Of course! We'll be much safer if we all travel together."
"You will forgive me for listening in, yes? I am Anton Gorodetsky, and I am also not from Cron. My world is complete shithole, but I should still get back there. There is people who need me, you know?"
"I, too, have been displaced from the world in which I belong. My name is Marcel, and I am a writer. I have learned the art of sorcery to survive here, but this strange world ill suits me. The cold damp air is so very harsh on my delicate lungs."
"Well, it looks like we have a party with a common goal. But where do we want to start searching for a way home for all of us?"
"Hey, Waddle Dee! Do you know where Chunko went? He said to wait here, and I've been waiting for months but he never showed up."
"I think he was headed for Sandsobar, wasn't he? I'll come with you. We'd have wanted to look around all the towns sooner or later anyway."
"There you are, Chunko!"
"Oh, it's you. I hate to tell you this, but we've been a lot more productive ever since you left the party. You can run along and look for the Amazing Rando on your own now, if you'd like. If I were you, I wouldn't stay in this town for long -- it's nothing but a den of thieves."
"Eastman, this wizard you were looking for... if nobody here has heard of him, could he be from another world? Why not join up with us and find out? We're all trying to return to our own worlds, after all."
"Can I come along too? I'm not from Cron either, and it's so hard to find good chow mein in this world."
"Of course! The more, the merrier!"
"Chunko said to leave town, so we should probably do that."
"Whit wey ye lettin' 'im push ye aroun', laddie? Ye don' work for 'im any more."
"But... what else am I supposed to do? I've got nothing to do here."
"Is actually good point. Outside is as good as inside. Maybe less thieves, too."
"Ah, what a beautiful day. It reminds me of when I was a young boy. I used to stare out of my bedroom window and look at the sky. There was a willow tree in the garden, and a bird nested in it. It had black feathers with just a touch of white in the wing-tips, and a long, pointed beak--"
"Yes, yes, is very nice. We get going now."
"Look -- somebody has written a message on this tree. Could it have been a pair of lovers from long ago?"
"If so, they both had very strange names."
"Crivens! Tha groun' willnae hold still!"
"If we keep going this way, we're going to reach the Desert of Desolation soon. We might not want to do that."
"Wha's so bad aboot i', then?"
"Well, for one thing, I hear it's full to bursting with monsters. For another, we're liable to get hopelessly lost without good navigation skills. And then there are the ri--"
"On the bright side, we didn't fall to our deaths, and now we've got a whole new cavern to explore!"
"I think someone got here before us. Is time to make world better place by removing some of worst people, yes?"
"That's good to know! Let's not go there."
"Those thieves must have stashed some weapons here as well as leaving messages."
"Ach, it's jus' a club. I'll stick wi' me axe."
The Nomadic Rift Cavern is loaded with free weapons. Unfortunately, they're all non-magical and therefore mostly worthless.
"Well, that's interesting. If we help Lord Peabody's servant, he might help us."
"That's only a few miles away from this very cave! We'd better remember that location so we can avoid it."
"It is of such great importance to have one's memories intact, is it not? There was a fountain in the shape of a serpent in my garden, you know. It had a most fearsome face, almost like a lion's. I used to watch the water spouting from its mouth and wonder where it all came from..."
"We are in cave of thieves. Is not best time for long chat. We keep moving now, yes?"
"We should visit thieves' caves more often. They have all sorts of useful information."
"Also, all sorts of ninja assassins."
"Ha! Take tha', ye great oaf!"
"This truly is a treasure trove of directions to places that we should be avoiding. Perhaps I should be kept in charge of noting down locations, just to make sure that none of you get any ideas in your heads about going there."
"Swamps are such terrible places. I don't know why anybody would choose to live in one. Why, the very thought of breathing that foul air makes my lungs ache. It reminds me of when I was struck down with a bad cold as a boy. My phlegm looked just like--"
"Nobody is listening to you. Shut up."
"Vikings! Why are Vikings in cave of nomads and thieves?"
"Well, the Vikings did travel a lot, and pillaging is technically a kind of theft."
"Ach! They don' half hit hard, do they? I'll show 'em wha' we're made of!"
Several minutes of extreme violence later...
"Well, that wasn't so bad... at least, as long as I don't look directly at the corpses, I don't have to remember how bad it was. Now, let me just see what kind of treasure they've got..."
"Dibs on the sword!"
"Huh? It keeps slipping outta my hands..."
And here we see the most significant effect of the alignment system: most magical items with a bonus of +5 or more are restricted to party members of one (randomly-selected) alignment. Katanas can only be equipped by Knights and Ninjas, so only one other party member might be able to use it...
"Now that's a weapon fitting the great Hong Kong Phooey!"
It's a pity he's so far back in the party order that he won't normally be using it, but at least he has a great melee weapon when he needs it.
"Hmm... I remember a message about a J-26 Fluxer in the cavern under Middlegate. But what's the Element Orb?"
"I think I may have heard someone talking about it once. It's part of a legend about King Kalohn, I believe. He had a magical orb that allowed him to command the elements, but its powers failed him in his final battle against a dragon sent by Acwalandar, lord of the water elementals. That's why he's dead and Cron is in a state of anarchy."
"A sad story. Is too bad we are too late to do anything about it."
"What shit is this? Why do old men attack us? Even vikings were not this stupid. At least they could fight."
"Hey, stop that! Let go!"
In case it's not obvious yet, Might & Magic II loves stealing your stuff. As a general rule, don't put anything irreplaceable in the backpack of a character who's likely to be in melee a lot.
"Looking at this map, I recall that we were attacked every time we passed between a pair of doors. It occurs to me that we could have saved ourselves a great deal of trouble with a few well-timed Jump spells. In fact, it reminds me of the time I tried to jump across--"
"What is wrong with you? Do you not know how to shut up?"
"Sounds like a good time to search the area."
"I'm still taking notes. Don't worry, none of the rest of you need to trouble yourselves."
"Huh. They look just like muggers. Must not be so tough."
"Me gems! Ye'll pay fer tha'!"
"It's a good thing you have a master marksman on your side!"
Thieves aren't a serious threat to the party's life, but...
... about two-thirds of the party just lost every single one of their gems. We can share out the rest evenly among the party after the battle, but any spells that require gems are going to have to be used sparingly for a while.
"I do hope this treasure is worth it."
"I hope Waddle Dee does not fuck up again."
Yeah, that was worth it. The Tri-Sickle is a two-handed weapon that does 1-24 damage: by comparison, a flamberge (the best weapon you can buy in shops) only does 1-16. Eastman can have it.
"I don't see how that information really helps us. How are we supposed to get back to the 9th century?"
"Well, never mind. We're nearly finished exploring the cave now. Maybe there's some more treasure at the end!"
"See? Everyone knows that leprechauns have a pot of gold!"
"An' now we ken whit wey they git all tha' gold -- they blag it off adventurers like us, tha dirty buggers! Surely they could a' leas' leave a few coins fer us!"
In addition to stealing all your gold, Leprechauns have an armour class of 28, making them absurdly difficult to hit.
"Perhaps my magic will help!"
Nope: they're also heavily resistant to attack magic.
Thank heaven for Heroism spells and the Tri-Sickle.
"Such fast little pricks. Very hard to hit. But I think that was last one. Now where is pot of gold?"
There is pot of gold -- about four or five times the party's total funds before the fight. This is an excellent place to earn money and items... and as we're about to see, there's another good reason to revisit this cave.
"Ach, tha's a fine shillelagh if e'er I did see one."
"Shillelagh? Is not Irish?"
"Wha's this 'Irish', then?"
"You are Scottish, yes? Shillelagh is Irish."
"Well, that's the end of the cave. All that's left is to check out what's behind the door they were guarding..."
"I'm not sure what exactly I expected, but this isn't it."
"Maybe that's how those leprechauns got so fast? All the running?"
"It's worth a try. Come on, everyone!"
This game is much more generous with stat boosts than M&M1 was. Everyone gets a permanent +10 boost to Speed, and can come back to the cave later for another boost until their Speed reaches 100.
"Ahhh. That was good workout. My legs will thank me for it when they stop hurting."
"I think we've done enough for one day. Also, looking at the map is causing weird optical illusions and making my eyes hurt. It's about time we headed back to the inn."
"My lungs still hurt from all of that running. It reminds me of the time when--"
"No. Enough. You talk too much. We need new Marcel, Marcel who talks less."
"Ah, this is tha life. Maybe Cron isnae so bad after all."
In case you're curious about the difference between a Helm and an Iron Helm, the Iron Helm provides minor sleep resistance. Don't ask me why.
"I want to wield my Tri-Sickle, I want to wield my blade. I want to wield my Tri-Sickle, because that is why it was made!"
"I have nice little gun here, for when bow and sword are not good enough."
The B Chain Mail (probably short for Bronze) provides minor paralysis resistance. Nothing to write home about, but it's a nice little bonus.
"Well, between this magic sword and the workout I just got, I'm a lot faster now. I suppose I should probably look for a way to increase my Might and Accuracy as well."
"You also look for way to not set off every fucking trap you touch, yes?"
"I'd better keep this mace away from flammable objects... and from anyone else in the party who won't keep it away from flammable objects."
"I'm no longer universally mediocre! Hooray!"
(The Wind Staff increases Marcel's Speed, which helps him get the first turn in battle and dodge attacks. Combined with the boost from the treadmill, he should be able to get the drop on anything that isn't ridiculously fast, which is a good thing for a Sorcerer to be able to do.)
Well, that's it for today. Sorry about the delay between updates. I could make excuses, but unless the sheer force of my excuse-making is sufficient to send this update back in time, there's not much point.
Anyway, now that we have all four teams set up, it's time to choose which one you want to see in action next update! Remember, these are the choices:
Team Suave: A band of dashing heroes who wander across Cron doing good deeds (except for Mattybee, who's mostly tagging along for shits and giggles). But the party's paladin, Cale Thomas, owes a debt of honour to the sinister sorcerer Gothmog, who has his own mysterious plans.
Team Brute Force: A party of warriors led by the half-orc barbarian Julius, who travels Cron seeking a way to lift his curse. It's a good thing they know how to defend themselves, because subtlety and diplomacy are not their strong suits.
Team Ovaries: An all-female team following Preacher on a crusade across Cron to convert unbelievers to worship of the sun god Radaso. They're sure to have many hilarious and heartwarming adventures along the way, if Jostiband doesn't accidentally incinerate them all first.
Team Phone Home: A ragtag group of well-meaning alien misfits, seeking only to return to their various home worlds. Most of them know little about Cron, which is bound to get them into all sorts of trouble.
I'll edit the character list at the start of the thread to organise the party into their teams and delete characters who won't be used. Sorry if your favourite character didn't make it in: there were a few that I liked but couldn't fit into any of the teams, and M&M2 only allows 24 characters in a single game.