1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 Spellforce 2 walkthrough by tarbandu version 1.6 (October 6, 2008) Disclaimer: Spellforce 2 : Shadow Wars copyright2005 is developed by Phenomic Game Development and published by JoWood Productions Software AG, Technologiepark 4a, A-8786 Rottenmann, Austria. This walkthrough is not sponsored or endorsed by either Phenomic Game Development or JoWood Productions, and is solely the work of the author, James Higgins ('tarbandu'). I assume no responsibility for errors or defects in this document when posted in any websites other than Game FAQ ! I'm always willing to incorporate new strategies, hints, and gameplay suggestions into this walkthrough. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include your 'true' name or username for purposes of proper attribution, along with your suggestions. What does and doesn't this walkthrough offer ? This walkthrough was compiled as I played through Spellforce 2 and is designed to help players who may be stuck or frustrated with combat required for a particular mission, or seeking information on completion of a quest. What this walkthrough does NOT offer is an exhaustive listing of all available weapons, armor, rings, charms, minerals, coins, gems, and other items. Locations for items critical for the main quest, and the more important side quests, are given in the individual map chapters, but there is no central directory telling you that item A can be found at X location in map Y. If you need more detailed information on the location of a particular item, or detailed instructions on solving a particular puzzle, try checking out the Spellforce 2 Forums at: spellforce.jowood.de/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=3 The odds are, someone has posted the info you need. Also available at the Forums are alternate strategies to many of the RTS segments of the game. I should note that the walkthrough was written after two complete play- throughs of Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars. There were some subtle differences from one play-through and the other. So, be aware that while the intrinsic storyline will not be that different when you play the game, there may be some smaller variables that are different from the ones I've described here. For example, some of the side quests associated with the Westguard may not become available in the order I've written them down here. So if you are expecting a side quest to become available and it doesn't trigger, try exiting the map and returning. Walkthrough Synopsis In the absence of a pagination scheme for these FAQS, I've listed the order of the maps and side quests in this document, so you can get some idea of where the individual map walkthroughs are, located relative to one another: 1. Iron Fields / Intro 16. Firefangs 2. Norimar 17. The Gate of Swords 3. Rushwater Downs 18. The Magnet Stones 4. Sevenkeeps 19. The Crater 5. Side Quest: Westguard 20. The Gate of Swords 6. Sevenkeeps 21. Side Quests: Westguard, The Crater 7. Underhall 22. The Tuscari Desert 8. Sevenkeeps 23. Dragh' Lur 9. Dun Mora 24. Shal 10. Sevenkeeps 25. Side Quests: Westguard, Stones, Crater 11. The Needle 26. The Crystal Wastes 12. Side Quest: Westguard 27. The Song Glass 13. The Iron Fields 28. Side Quest: Westguard 14. The Gate of Swords 29. The Crystal Forest 15. Uram Gor 30. The Steel Shore 31. Miscellaneous Sevenkeeps Quests It's important to note that there is some degree of leeway in the order in which you can go to side quest maps such as the Westguard. The order given above is simply that which I used in playing the game. Gameplay Hints and Tips 1. How do I resurrect fallen party members ? 2. How does my avatar summon heroes ? 3. Party inventory and management 4. Troop allocation and resources 5. Establishing a base 6. Building defensive towers 7. Destroying enemy structures 8. You cannot 'game' the RTS segments of Spellforce 2 9. Where can I find the four Storm Blade orcs ? 10. What do I do with the all the coins, tiles, and other items found throughout the game ? 11. I have plenty of stone, silver, and lenya but I can't build structure XXX ! 12. HOW DO I EXIT THE MAP ??!!! 1. How Do I Resurrect Fallen Party Members ? This is rather poorly covered in the tutorial and in the manual. When in the gameplay a character, either your avatar or a party member, is killed, you'll notice their small portrait in the upper left-hand corner of the game screen darkens, and a set of numbers in white- a 'death timer' - is superimposed on the portrait. Simultaneously you'll get a 'heartbeat' sound to notify you that a party member is dead and requires resuscitation. If the timer for a fallen party member counts down to zero, and you fail to revive that member, then the game ends. There are two ways to resurrect a fallen avatar or party member: one involves the innate resurrecting ability of the avatar and party members endowed with the 'Shaikan' bloodline; the other involves use of the Altar of Life structure. To revive a party member using the innate Shaikan spell, simply click on the portrait of the fallen member and you'll see bronze 'face' icons appear under the portraits of the other, surviving party members endowed with the Shaikan bloodline. Click on one of these icons, and that party member will seek out the corpse of their dead comrade and cast a resurrecting spell on them. This takes a few moments, so don't wait until a 'death timer' is in the single digits to do this ! When the fallen party member is revived, be careful they aren't exposed to enemy attack, since their health and mana will be very low at first. To revive a fallen party member using the Altar of Life, just click on the Altar and a portrait of the fallen member will appear on the building's interaction screen; select the portrait of that character, and he or she will momentarily spawn at the Altar. Be aware that using the Altar for this purpose costs 250 lenya per resurrection of a party member, and 500 lenya for your avatar. Also, the Altar costs 500 stone to build, making it a relatively expensive structure. On some maps (such as Sevenkeeps, or The Crater) you'll be provided with a pre-constructed Altar and maybe even some lenya, particularly if the map does not involve a RTS segment. On other maps you'll have to build the Altar on your own, and harvest the lenya needed to employ it. I rarely found myself constructing or using an Altar throughout most of the game. There are some maps where it can be useful and I've noted this in the walkthrough. But most of the time, with some careful watching of the 'death timer' and attention to combat, you can revive fallen members and keep them alive long enough afterwards to where they regain their full health, and can participate in the action in a prompt manner. 2. How Does My Avatar Summon Heroes ? I was chagrined to (re)discover this feature only after playing thru 75% of the game ! It's not described in the Manual, and cursorily dealt with in the tutorial, when you teleport Lya from her position at the bottom of the ravine. It's easy to forget you ever used this ability, and when much later in the game it becomes key to completing Quests, you can experience some real frustration if you can't recall it exists. In fact I only discovered it again after visiting Phenomic's Spellforce 2 Forums on the web. In more than a few maps you will find areas that are only accessible to your avatar via Journey Stones. These areas are usually mountain peaks or monster lairs. While your avatar can teleport to them, your heroes / party members will not by default teleport with the avatar; you have to summon them to your new location one by one. This is done by clicking on the portrait of the hero; you'll see a small icon appear under your avatar's portrait. This icon is of a 'screaming face' with a left-pointing arrow superimposed on the face. Select a party member by clicking on his portrait, then click on this 'screaming face' under your avatar's portrait, and the selected hero will teleport in alongside your avatar. All members of your party can be summoned this way. In a lot of these 'Journey Stone Only' areas, the Stone will not permit you to teleport out until the quest is completed - this usually means killing all the monsters in the area. If a party member dies, you can try to resurrect them on-site. If things are too dangerous to attempt this, and you have an Altar of Life available elsewhere in the map, you can revive the deceased member there and then Summon them back to the area where your avatar is located. 3. Party Inventory and Management I would suggest that you manage skill point allocation for characters yourself rather than having the AI do it automatically. This is accomplished by de-selecting the 'automatic' skill point assignment option in the character's level-up screen. I devoted Lya, a rather weak fighter, to a Healer role from the beginning of the game. With a healing Staff she can extend the survival of the other party members; just be sure to keep her on a 'defensive' AI routine, which is done by clicking on the shield icon (which alternates with a sword icon) just below the character's 'paper doll' image on their inventory screen. When it comes time for her to level up, try and select the skillpath that trains the character in healing spells, particularly area effect healing spells, to augment her Staff abilities. HINT: you'll want to have at least one of your mages follow the World Magic > Elemental Magic > Chromatic Shield spell (level three, 15 points allocated) skill path ! This spell will be VERY useful towards the end of the game ! (courtesy ozambersand) Jared, and later Mordecay, make good archers and since you will be encountering flying units regularly throughout the game, they will be useful in this regard. I had my avatar and Bor concentrate on melee combat. There are some points in the game where your avatar and heroes will have to fight without benefit of an accompanying army against some powerful opponents, so it's a good idea to see that each party member learns to use at least a few healing spells. Finally, note that leveling for the avatar caps at 30, and the max level for party members is 24. Once reached, neither he nor any party members will level up any more regardless of how many quests you complete. On the topic of assembling a party, Spellforce 2 player Felix Huang has this comment: "The basic premise is that your party will be at its strongest when it is well balanced. Instead of concentrating on say, doing as much damage as you can, it would be much more beneficial to spread out your characters into three main paths: tanking, damage, and healing. I learned this strategy from playing WoW for a short time, but it is very prevailent in many other RPGs. To expand a little on this, I made my avatar the main tank, because she tends to be in the most battles and she's also the strongest. Now, because there are six characters (Minus Nightsong), you can split them up evenly as two tanks, two damage, two healers, but I decided to simplify things by having just my avatar tanking so that I only have one person to heal. Lya is an obvious choice as the healer, and Shae also makes a good secondary healer since she's already in the magic tree. The rest I made archers (Yes, even Bor) not because they do more damage or anything, but it keeps them further back so they are less likely to take damage. A basic fight would start with my avatar running in (My other heroes on follow, so that they will always be in back of her) and almost immediately casting Steadfast. However, she has a total of five defensive spells (Steadfast, Riposte, Iron Will (Master), Shield Wall (Master) and Evade) as well as two healing spells (Benefactions (Master) and Mend) making her almost impossible to kill. Using Taunt, Steadfast, and giving her equipment that raises her aggro (Helmet of the Black Legion is a good choice) makes sure that enemies target her first, while the healers keep the tank's health up and everyone else concentrates on killing the enemies. This ensures that relatively weak characters like Lya and Shae can survive, and it actually makes them very valuable assets because of their healing ability. The results? I finished the arena in the Gate of the Swords the first time I entered (At level 20 I believe), killed the dino in the Crater with ease, and even finished the Mosaic with just my party (Though it took a lot of deaths and pulling partial groups). It also made the game much easier, since I could rush most of the later levels with just my heroes and avatar." 4. Troop Allocation and Resources Be aware that many units, regardless of being Realm, Clan, or Pact, take up two or even three Slots in your total troop number allocation. It's up to your own playing style to decide if two slots are best used for one Paladin, or two Soldiers, or if three slots should be apportioned to one catapult, or alternatively three crossbowmen. For some maps you'll be required to create catapults, so there's no debate there. But when resources on a given map are scarce, you'll need to think a bit about how to get the most benefit from each slot. A good example is the Dark Elf Necromancers, who take up only one slot and can summon skeletons, and thus temporarily increase your melee combat units on the field. 5. Establishing a Base For all but the first few maps, you'll find yourself in a race to construct a base, build an army, and launch an attack before the AI overwhelms you with enemy forces. There's no real chances for 'turtling' in Spellforce 2 ! It's critical, therefore, to get your base up and running as fast as possible. Whenever you begin the RTS segment, you should first see if Phenomics has given you something of a jump-start by having some buildings already constructed. If so, then focus on creating only those buildings that you need in order to carry out your mission. So for example, if an HQ and a few defensive towers are already in place, focus on getting a smelter and a stonemason up and running for efficient harvesting of these resources. In Spellforce 2, stone is used for buildings, and silver and lenya (often both) for creating troops. So an Alchemist is often among the first batch of structures you'll want to spend stone on for construction costs. In the first stages of the many of the RTS missions, you will be exposed to intense pressure by enemy attacks and it can lead to real frustrations and resentment when you see your base overwhelmed before you can create much of an army to defend it. Keep in mind if this is happening to you, that you really won't need more advanced (and more expensive) buildings and units in order to mount a good defense and initiate spoiling attacks on the enemy. For example, it's better to get a lot of low-grade troops like Pact Shadow Blades up and into your force, and on the offensive, then dawdling while you go thru the more involved machinations needed to spawn Death Knights or Arachnis. The priority is to get a decent, defense-oriented force up and running, and blunt the enemy attacks. Once you've reduced the pressure on your base, you'll have the time and resources to craft the more expensive units and bring them into play when you go on the offensive. 6. Building Defensive Towers Unlike in Spellforce One, where you could cram ridiculous numbers of defensive towers close together and use this feature to create actual physical barriers to attacking troops, in Spellforce 2 placement of towers is more restricted by space. You're going to find that amassing 'fields' of towers and using this tactic to severely weaken attackers while you turtle in your base, isn't going to happen. While in Spellforce 2 you can upgrade towers with various augmentations, like the ability to heal friendly units close by, or deal more damage to attackers, towers are more vulnerable to being destroyed, so on some maps you may need to have some troops aid in the defense. You'll also find it's a good idea to keep some workers close to the towers to get them repaired as soon as they suffer damage. 7. Destroying Enemy Structures Every RTS map in the game will, at some point, require you to destroy an enemy camp or base. Some troops are better at this task than others, so you may want to create detachments of these troops and, once you assault an enemy camp, Group them and have them used expressly for this purpose. A good example are the Troll Devastators, who have 200% damage to buildings, or the Pact's 'Ravage' unit which can take down a building with one strike. When assaulting an enemy camp some Spellforce player may rely on the strategy of immediately rushing to the enemy HQ and concentrating on leveling it as soon as possible. While this can often fatally cripple the enemy ability to spawn new units, it does expose your army to intense attack while it has its attention on the destruction of the HQ. You may or may not want to go with this strategy, depending on the size and composition of your army and the strength of the enemy defenses. 8. You Cannot 'Game' the RTS Segments in Spellforce 2 Many Spellforce One players discovered they could make what were mandatory RTS missions quite a bit easier, by exploiting the AI regulating the spawning of enemy forces. Phenomics set it up so that as soon as the player activated his or her HQ and created workers, they initiated the RTS segment of a given mission. In response, the AI would start spawning larger numbers of enemy troops at the enemy camps scattered around the map, and begin sending them to attack the player's base. However, if the player avoided activating their HQ when first arriving at a map, they found they could send their avatar and party out on 'seek and destroy' missions, in which the enemy camps, spawning just one soldier at long intervals, were weak enough to be attacked and eliminated by the player's Party. This could often be a tedious thing to do, but it meant that when the player finally entered into the RTS portion of the mission, there was usually just one or two very large and well-defended enemy camps surviving to spawn attackers. The player could defend these attacks without too much trouble while they 'turtled' in their base and leisurely built up a huge army that sallied forth and wiped the map clean. Phenomic was NOT happy with this 'gaming' of their RTS AI, and in the expansion packs they made it difficult, if not impossible, to pull off this stunt. This holds true for Spellforce 2 as well. With the exception of the beginning of the Gate of Swords map, where the Dark Elf camp is feeble enough to be taken down by your party, every map in the game has a large, well-defended enemy camp (or two or three) that makes it difficult to be destroyed simply by your avatar and heroes. You will probably have to devote time and effort into creating a base, defending it from enemy attack, assembling your own Horde, and then going out and steamrolling the enemy encampments. 9. Where Can I Find the Four Storm Blade Orcs ? This side quest is given by Undar in the camp of the Iron Lord in the Gate of Swords map. There are four orcs, formerly of the Storm Blades unit, whose heads you must bring to Undar to get some Respect for your own orc detachment. Tzang is located close to the Burning Towns Journey Stone in the Uram Gor map. Killing him will trigger the formation of a Portal on the ground near his corpse. This Portal will send you to Orog's Lair, located in the NE of the Uram Gor map; this Lair can only be accessed by the Portal. Itza is located in the eastern half of the Magnet Stones map. Note that if you haven't yet received the quest to kill him from Undar he will not be on the map, so you may have to return to the Magnet Stones at some point to do the dirty deed to him. Shar (level 27) is located close by the NW rim of the Crater in, logically enough, the Crater map. 10. What Do I Do With the All the Coins, Tiles, and Other Items Found Throughout the Game ? -As you play thru Spellforce 2 you will want to pick up every little item in a chest, or dropped by a defeated enemy. You have an 'infinite capacity' Inventory so there is no Encumbrance Penalty in the game. -The skull and star coins can be used to open chests in the lizard territory of The Crater map. Kubi at the Spellforce 2 Forums has more info on this. -The King, Dragon, Knight, and Jester tiles (not to be confused with the eight tiles needed to solve the Mosaic puzzle in the Crystal Forest map) are used in playing against the Drakkar gamers infesting Sevenkeeps. Ieldra and IanPolaris at the Spellforce 2 Forums have some postings about where to find tiles and how to best use them; suffice to say that the more tiles you have, and the greater variety of these tiles, the better your odds at winning. If you can defeat Carla, the Drakkar Champion, you are very good indeed. On the topic of Drakkar, Spellforce 2 player Bugz Podder notes: 'Another small comment about drakkar games (or however u spell that). From my expierence, there are two players (other than the master) who have strong decks. One is located at the top and other is at the bottom [of the Sevenkeeps map]. All the other players are relatively easy and you can beat them and obtain pieces.' - The pieces of limestone and clay will be needed to complete a series of building side quests in the Westguard maps. Ieldra at the Forums has a comprehensive listing of locations for these substances. 11. I have plenty of stone, silver, and lenya but I can't build structure XXX ! This is another quirk of the base building tree that isn't covered in depth in the tutorial or the manual. To gain permission (so to speak) to erect some of the structures of the different races in your alliance, it's not enough to just follow the building 'tech' tree sequence for a given race. You'll also have to Select your HQ and, in the bottom margin of the building's interaction screen, look for a trio of 'Upgrade' icons represented by the silhouettes of various weapons (see for example p. 15 of the manual for the US release of the game). Each upgrade icon represents a particular race comprising your current alliance. For the Realm forces, these will be: Human, Elf, and Dwarf; for the Clans: Orc, Troll, and Barbarian, etc. These will be grayed out if you've not purchased them. Click on an upgrade icon to purchase the desired upgrade, and then wait a few minutes for the exterior of your HQ to be automatically remolded to reflect its upgraded status. Then you should be able to proceed with the construction of the buildings peculiar to that race's tech tree. -Note that in some maps, you won't have access to certain upgrades no matter how plentiful your resources are. -Also note that purchasing the HQ Upgrades also increases your troop slots. You don't necessarily have to fill these new slots with units of the race whose upgrade you purchased. -Finally, you can at most purchase three 'race' upgrades for your HQ, which gives you the maximum number of troop slots available in the game: 80. 12. HOW DO I EXIT THE MAP ??!! After observing the Spellforce 2 Forums for over 26 mos, this question comes up again and again, so I thought I would elaborate on it here. Most of the posts are from players who get stuck in the Fireforge, after crafting the Ring, and they can't figure out how to return to the Gate of Swords. But it seems to be a problem for other locations in the game as well, where a player wants to depart the map they are on for another map, but can't figure out how to do this. Here is an example from Spellforce 2 player Nicoleas: "I got a small problem, after I finished the Forge of the Shadow Ring and talked to the Ghost guy. I ended up stuck in the large pit. How do i get out of the Pit? My main quest updated to Shadow Warrior. I can't get to the Portal Gate in the pit. Please help me get out of the pit. Please help me." Lornik has the answer: "How about using the journey stones? Press M on your key board, then travel to wherever you want to go". Freeflinker also has this to say: "Open up your map (press the M key). On it you will see various islands. Each island has an associated list of the waypoints you have activated there (and this will have been done automatically, by passing close enough to a waypoint in the game). Simply click the island you require, select the specific waypoint from the list on the right and confirm you wish to travel there. FWIW there is no ability to ride a horse in this game. Fast travel is done via waypoints." And if you find you cannot exit a map, and the journey stones on other maps are in red font and thus unavailable, Freeflinker states: "As far as I know the locations remain unreachable if there are enemies near you (you can't teleport when enemies are close) or you haven't activated the journeystone at your required destination (done by simply walking close enough to it)." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE WALKTHROUGH 1. Iron Fields / Intro The Iron Fields: Acquiring a Party After the cutscene plays, your avatar and Bor will set out on the trail. This first map is mainly a tutorial. You'll fight some wolves, then spiders. Continue along the trail and when it goes uphill a bit, towards a cabin that has been attacked, you'll trigger a cutscene. It turns out Lya has been killed, and her corpse lies at the base of a nearby ravine. Revive her using the innate ability of the Shaikan, then use the Summon skill of your avatar to teleport her from the ravine, and to your side at the cabin lawn. The three of you will continue on the trail, killing more wild animals and soon, some Dark Elves of the Shadow Pact. [This first map is really the only one where you'll get any kind of XP simply by killing enemies]. You'll come upon the chain mail bikini-wearing, dark elf woman Nightsong, featured on Spellforce 2's box cover. After she is killed, use your Shaikan ability to resurrect her, and she'll join your party. Have the four party members continue on the path; you'll see that more Dark Elves are laying waste to your village further north, and you must Raise the Alarm by lighting a fire tower. Go into the ruined area where the tower is located; kill the dark elves; and click on the 'gear' icon to light the fire. Further on down the trail you'll encounter Wulfger, a soldier of the Realm; he's not too pleasant towards the Shaikan, but you can persuade him to have the Realm aid your people. After the cutscene with him ends, in the large field just past him you'll see some buildings, and now the game will go into a tutorial on base building and unit creation. Creating An Army Your HQ comes with 5 workers; get them busy harvesting silver from the nearby field. When you've got enough silver, start creating new workers, and have these workers get busy harvesting stone. When you have accumulated 100 stone, detach some workers to construct a Blacksmith. When this building is completed, you can click on your HQ and begin creating Soldiers. Crank out 5 of these units, then spend more stone (150) to upgrade your Blacksmith to a Workshop. When the Blacksmith exterior has finished its transformation you are now able to spawn crossbowmen from the HQ. Create 5 of these and you have more than enough troops to complete the map. Group your party, the soldiers, and the bowmen into one army of 14, and set off to the besieged Shaikan village to the north. Defeat the Shadow Pact Troops and Speak With the Patriarch When you get to the village, send your troops into battle against the dark elf Shadow Blades and Sorceresses. When the enemy infantry are defeated, be sure to loot the chest they leave with their corpses, and destroy their towers. When all the Shadow Pact forces are killed, keep an eye out for Thora to run onto the scene and proceed after her onto the nearby bridge, to the closed gate leading to the Shaikur Fortress. Speak with Thora and then the gate will open. Go thru the fortress grounds all the way to the NW corner where Ur, the Patriarch of the Shaikan, is located (indicated by the yellow diamond on your minimap). Ur is actually a talking dragon; speak with him and learn you will have to accompany Nightsong on her journey to the human kingdom of Norimar, where you will find Baron Ortbrandt and ask him to provide aid to the Shaikan. The Portal to Norimar will now be indicated on your minimap, again with the yellow diamond symbol reserved for Main Quest critical locales. Walk back down the hill and approach the Portal. If the 'gear' symbol alongside it is red, back your avatar up a bit and you should trigger a cutscene, taking place elsewhere on this Iron Fields map. When the cutscene ends, Kolar, a soldier standing by the Portal, will want to speak with you; talk with him and receive a rather cryptic word of warning. Then approach the Portal; the gear symbol should now be colored gold, which means the way to the next map is clear. Step thru the Portal and on to Norimar. 2. Norimar Norimar: To the Castle of the Iron Falcons When emerging from the Portal, take care in proceeding up the road; there are patrols of skeletons nearby and you don't want to battle all of them at once. Use your avatar as 'bait' to lure small batches of them towards you, and have Lya stand back and supply healing spells, and if possible Flash spells, as needed. Search the corpses for loot. A little ways up the trail you'll trigger some cutscenes of marauding Undead dispatching Castle of the Falcon troops, and you'll eventually reach Rottgar and his band guarding the road. He'll tell you that nearby signal fire Watchtowers need to be ignited to warn the Castle; however, the towers have been captured by Cult Adepts and skeletons and he is unable to light them. Agree to light the four towers. Each tower has an adept and some skeletons to deal with; as well, ghouls called "frenzies" patrol the paths leading to the towers. A good way to clear the towers is to have Lya creep close enough, without triggering an assault, to hit the Adept with a preliminary Flash spell, then have her retreat to Heal mode while you and the heroes battle the skeletons. Once the Adept and his skeletons are dead the tower will automatically light; check the Adept's corpse for loot. Return to Rottgar after igniting the first tower, and he'll be so pleased that he'll give you his men to help you clear the remaining towers. You'll also be able to pick up a sidequest from Rottgar involving the delivery of a letter to Solveig, a woman in the Castle. Make your way around the surrounding landscape and clear the Undead from the towers. Try to avoid timing your assault on a tower when wolves or skeletons are on their patrol route nearby, since they'll be attracted by the fighting and you'll find it makes sense to save as many of the Castle guard assisting you as possible. At the eastern edge of the map there is a small fortress standing a bit off the path; this is guarded by a sizeable force of Undead, including a powerful mage, and attacking it is very challenging. Your party may well have nearly all of its personnel die in two, or even three, successive attacks, but the skeletons drop some nice loot so you may want to attempt an attack on them. After lighting all the signal towers, you'll hear a voiceover by Ortbrandt declare that the Castle gates are to be opened to you, so continue up the path, taking on the wolf packs scattered along the route. Be sure to examine the corpse of a dead Norimar soldier for a letter related to Rottgar and Solveig. Also note the location of what appears to be an enormous horn mounted on the rocks overlooking the trail on your left, as you ascend towards the castle. At the Castle Falcon When you reach Castle Falcon, you can check in with the merchants there to sell your excess equipment. It's worthwhile investing in some protective headgear for you and your heroes. Speak with Solveig, then Uland to give him the dirt on Rottgar; he'll let you have a weapon as a reward. Then go see Baron Ortbrandt. He'll tell you that the enormous horn mounted on the side of the trail was created by the dwarves for the purpose of causing a landslide that will block the path to the castle, and thus deter the attacking Pact army. It's imperative that you get to the horn as soon as possible and trigger the landslide; he provides some mounted troops to aid you. As soon as the cutscene finishes Save your game, then send the mounted troops rushing down the trail to the horn. There are already some Dark Elf attackers scattered along the road, but ignore them for the moment and have you and your heroes following the mounted troops. When you arrive at the horn have the troops and your heroes deal with the attacking elves while your avatar right-clicks on the 'gear' icons near the horn. This will trigger a cutscene in which the horn blows, and a massive rockslide closes off the path. Have your avatar join in the battle with the surviving Pact Dark Elf force, and clear the trail leading back up to Castle Falcon. Speak to Ortbrandt again; your efforts with the horn have given him confidence in you, and he'll ask you to escort his son Falkmar and a supply train down the trail to the portal to the Rushwater Downs. After getting the quests from Ortbrandt, go see Uland again and get the side quest to find his missing Wards Inga and Rolf. You'll also want to speak to the mage Magistra Hedwig standing at the end of a sidestreet near Ortbrandt's compound. If you choose the "I'm listening" option in the dialogue, she'll ask you to kill Uland's wards and take a wand that belongs to her from the corpses for your own use. Not the most genial of NPCs, Hedwig. Norimar: Escorting the Supply Train Head out the SW exit of the Castle and you should see Falkmar standing on the cobbled path waiting for you. As soon as you approach him he'll begin walking downhill on the twisting path; follow him and you'll wind up at the encampment where you will create the army required to escort Falkmar and the pack horses to the portal. Since this is the first 'real' level in the game proper, most of the buildings required to produce troops conveniently are already constructed for you. Click on the headquarters (HQ) and summon workers to begin harvesting the surrounding silver and stone. As soon as you have enough of these commodities, you'll want to detach a few workers to build a smeltery and a stonemason hut to improve the efficiency of the gathering process. You'll need to make some relatively expensive mounted crossbowmen to accompany Falkmar, so wait until you've accumulated enough resources, then click on the Castle (your own, not the Order of the Falcon structure !) and create the maximum number of troops you can for the time being. Once you have a force of 10 or so, you'll get an announcement from Falkmar that things are ready to go, and he and the group of packhorses will leisurely exit the camp and start out on the trail to the portal. If you lose too many packhorses to enemy attack you'll fail the mission, and if Falkmar gets killed the mission is a failure as well, so get your avatar and heroes, and the mounted bowmen, out in front of Falkmar's party. Use your force to temporarily block the trail, and prevent him from continuing further down it on any kind of solo 'suicide' mission, as needed throughout the rest of the level. As you head down the trail you'll encounter camps of Undead, usually with annoying Pain Towers and skeleton archers overlooking the trail. They'll hit your army with ranged attacks, so once you come upon the edges of an Undead camp, rather than try and deal with the archers one by one, force your army to rush down the trail and into open areas near the camp entrance, to put some space between you and the archers. Keep Lya close by to deal out healing spells, let the enemy come to you, and patiently take down the skeleton swordsmen and archers. Then move into the camp area proper. Once the enemy troops are eliminated, detach some of your force to eliminate the pain towers and crypts and mausoleums that are responsible for spawning the Undead, otherwise the stray skeleton will be regularly loosed to attack the pack train as it descends the trail. There's usually a signal fire Watchtower on the grounds of the camp, guarded by a Cult Adept; take him down to get some loot. Once a camp is dealt with, Falkmar will announce that the area is cleared and he will proceed down the trail. If you need to, block him from doing so until you have a chance to create some troops to replace those you've lost. Closing the Vault of the Undead There are several Undead camps you'll have to 'run the gauntlet' on and clean out as you make your way further down the trail. Once you've cleared the second or third one, it's useful to bring some workers down the path and have them erect a castle and some farms on the grounds of any former camp; by now resources gathered at your base camp should be plentiful, so this shouldn't be a problem. You can now create replacement horsemen and other troops and have them travel a shorter distance to your force; also, producing more farms will enable you to expand the size of your army. A total of 15 - 20 troops (or more) is a good number for this level. Occasionally Cyclops the dog will bark, letting you know that you're on track to rescue the lost Wards, but don't pay too much attention at the moment; concentrate on getting the Undead camps eliminated. You'll eventually reach the main Vault of the Undead, and the Cult necromancer responsible for maintaining it; taking him out, and the skeletons in front of the vault, is relatively easy. Take the bag of salt from the dead necromancer and interact with the '?' symbol in front of the vault to learn how to permanently seal the vault; also search this area for some loot. As an alternative to killing the Cult necromancer here, you can spare his life; in return he'll give you a Symbol of the Cult. You can use the symbol to gain honorary membership in the Cult and interact with its members when in the Westguard map (see section 12, "Side Quest: Westguard" below). Looking for the Missing Wards It's now smooth sailing for Falkmar and his pack train to reach the Portal at the end of the trail. See him off, then search the nearby spur of the trail SE of the Portal for the missing Wards; Cyclops should be barking as you get closer to the knolls where the first of the Wards is hiding. There are some spiders here, but your troops should be able to handle them without breaking a sweat. When they are eliminated, the first Ward, Rolf, will materialize. Assuming you are not on Magistra Hedwig's side in the quest, tell him to run back to Uland and get some XP and her wand as a reward. Continue on down the trail to a larger open area with bears and other monsters lounging around a campfire; eliminate them and approach the knoll with large boulders on it at the very end of the trail to trigger the appearance of the missing Ward Inga; send her back to Uland and get another reward of XP. When you're ready, activate the Portal to Rushwater Downs and step through to the next level. 3. Rushwater Downs Rushwater Downs: Escorting the Supply Train to Lyraine First, activate the nearby Journey Stone. Then with a small detachment of Norimar troops that should have accompanied you thru the portal, head down the road to Lyraine. Bands of trolls and orcs of the Clan will attack, and there's no way to block Falkmar and the pack horses from venturing out ahead of you, so try and keep in front of them and take on the trolls at the same time. You'll get a brief rest from escort duties in order to take out some troll archers atop a canyon, then it's on to the gates of Lyraine to provide relief to the defenders there. After the cutscene with Helger, get some XP and enter the village. You can sell and buy goods from the merchants there. I would put off talking with Matricus until you take some time to explore the other areas in the eastern half of the map. Acquaint yourself with the village of Connacht in the SE (where an Orc named Osal is caged in the town square); the bridges leading to the large troll and orc camp of the "Iron Storm" clan in the northeast corner of the map; and the Order base just downhill from Lyraine. When you're ready for some RTS gameplay, go up to the castle just to the west of Lyraine and speak with Matricus, who will tell you to take command of an army and defeat the Iron Storm camp, as well as prevent Osal from being rescued by orc war parties striking Connacht. Rushwater Downs: Base Building Under Pressure This portion of the level can be a bit hectic, particularly if you decide to do the side quest to help the villagers in Connacht hold onto Osal, which will require some multitasking and bouts of jumping from one spot on the minimap to another. [I essentially blew off the defense of Osal's cage, and instead concentrated on the main mission of taking down the Iron Storm camp.] Head to the Order base along with your heroes and be sure to add the detachment of bowmen, already present at the base, to your group. Get some workers started on gathering stone and silver and to some extent, lenya (for creating Paladins). Get a smeltery and stonemason hut up and running. All the while you're building your base and creating an army, troll and orc patrols will be coming from the camp in the NE, as well as to a lesser extent from the east. If you're new to Spellforce or the RTS genre, dealing with this aspect of the gameplay can be frustrating and difficult to deal with at first. But you'll need to get used to it, because the game will simply not permit you to 'turtle' up a huge army while sitting unmolested by the AI: Station your avatar and heroes and bowmen near your base and be prepared to rush hither and yon defending against these raiding parties. If a building is set afire, have a group of workers handy to repair it. Once you have some resources accumulated, get your workers busy erecting defensive towers at the narrow Pass leading out from your base, located to the NE (and just below the bridge to the Iron Storm camp). Keep your defense force nearby while doing this, because Clan raiders will try to destroy the towers as they're being built. Once you have 4 or 5 towers up you can relax a bit, since they should be able to deter attacks without a lot of assistance. Get another 3 towers set up to block the road leading east out of the Order base, just in case some small parties mount attacks from that direction, and then you can focus on getting some paladins (30 %) and mounted bowmen (70 %) produced. About this time a raiding party should be on the verge of freeing Osal, so if you like, you can try sending a detachment to Connacht to prevent this. Taking the Fight to the Enemy Once I had about 20 - 25 paladins and mounted bowmen, I made my move on the Iron Storm camp. Head over the bridge leading to the NE and try not to let your troops rush off on 'suicide' attacks by liberal use of the 'Hold' key (H). Let the bowmen deal with the orc and troll attackers from long range, while your avatar, heroes, and paladins do the melee combat. As always, Save often, keep Lya at a safe distance from the fighting, and be prepared to resurrect fallen heroes before the allotted 'time limit' expires and forces you to reload a Saved game. Once you've destroyed the portion of the Iron Storm camp near the bridge, hook to the NE and mow down the smaller detachments of Iron Storm troops guarding the roads in this area. Crank out replacement troops back at your Order base, but take care in sending them to join your force in case orc and troll patrols are wandering the area, and ambush your reinforcements en route. Once you've eliminated the Iron Storm outguards, and activated the Journey Stone for the Iron Storm region of the map, head for the camp proper. In addition to towers casting fireballs that are stationed on the approaches to the camp, you'll discover that your attacks will provoke sallies of orcs and trolls from the interior of the camp. Be ready to pull back and whittle down these sallies using bowmen and spells. When you've eliminated the Iron Storm attackers, carefully move back into the campgrounds and destroy the structures. The Iron Storm's main camp is surrounded by a palisade, but its outskirts have relatively undefended workers and buildings such as alchemists, farms, stonemason huts, and smelteries. Keep an eye out for sallies from the camp, and concentrate on wiping out the logistics of the Iron Storm force. This will weaken their ability to spawn new troops and buildings. Keep your bowmen back from the palisade and cut down workers as they come out to gather resources. When you've depleted the camp's labor force and army, head thru the entry in the palisade and go after the buildings and what orcs and trolls remain. Once all the structures have been leveled, you'll get a voiceover from Matricus congratulating you, and asking you to use a Journey Stone to return to his castle. Rushwater Downs: Retrieving the Portal Stone Matricus will tell you that you need to retrieve a 'portal' stone from some Order ruins in the northern portion of the map, in order to activate the Portal proper to Sevenkeeps. He'll also tell you that there are four books written by Rohen (of Spellforce 1 fame) that are thought to lie somewhere in the ruins as well. Before setting off on this quest, head down the trail into Lyraine; you'll find that Alwin, father of the Wards, is now present; talk to him about Berengar the blacksmith, and give him the letter from Inga and Rolf to receive some armor in return. Use the journey stone to go to Connacht and see Berengar; he'll give you a stolen armor side quest. You can also get the Letho Grey side quest here (if you follow Letho after conversing with him, he'll walk all the way over to the portal located in the NE near the former Iron Storm camp; this portal is not active for your avatar). Once you're ready, go north out of Lyraine. One trail will lead you past some wolves to a deserted still (?!) and some loot. Another trail to the NW will bring you to some bears and Dr Mauser. Fighting with Mauser triggers the appearance of an eccentric man named Professor Twiddle, who vanishes almost as soon as he arrived. Grab the letter from Mauser's body and use the nearby Journey Stone to travel to Berengar and get the next step in the stolen armor quest. Then return to the area where Dr Mauser died; on a hillside nearby is a chest with loot. Also close by is the (currently inactive) Portal to Sevenkeeps. Now head north on another trail, kill some bears, and you'll arrive at the Order ruins. Activate the Journey Stone near the entrance, then go in and deal with the small teams of skeletons scattered around the ruins; their corpses will carry the four Books of Rohen. [Note: I had a very hard time finding one of the books, and in fact I only found it when I returned to the Ruins after finishing the Main Quest some 55 hours later on in the game. Poking diligently around the ruins without success, I finally stumbled across a fallen skeleton lying under some trees, on a cliff some distance from the ruins proper, and he had the last book in his possession. Hopefully you'll have an easier time getting your hands on the four Books]. You'll need to see Askan, a teacher at the University in Sevenkeeps, to learn more about the mystery of the Portals and the role the Books can play. A 'killed' mage here in the ruins has the Portal Stone; destroy him, grab the stone off his remains, and head back to the Portal to Sevenkeeps to proceed to the next level. 4. Sevenkeeps Sevenkeeps: Meet with the King This map is essentially one huge city: Sevenkeeps. It's a larger and more gorgeously rendered version of Greyfell from Spellforce. Like Greyfell it will be your 'hub' city in terms of Portals to other islands, as well as containing several side quests of its own, and a large variety of merchants. As you move around the map, take note of the large, gold 'gears' icons stationed at various places and right-click on them to obtain a whole library of odd herbs and artifacts. Hang onto these for the time being. When you step out of the Portal, you'll need to take on an 'exterminator' job and rid the area of various spiders and hornets. At the end of a winding trail in the SW corner of the map is a Spider Lair with multiply spawning spiders; you may want to hold off on tackling it until you have higher-level characters; also, there's a Sevenkeeps sidequest involving this area you can pursue a bit further on into the game. Once you've completed this session of hack n' slash, enter the city and make your way to the King's palace. A long cutscene will play and you'll lose an NPC from your party. Talk with Einar and Utrecht to learn more about your next moves, including the need to speak with Jandrim Windhammer in the dwarven compound in the northern area of the city. Head over to the University a short distance away from the King's palace, and talk with Undergant to complete the Beregon / Stolen Falcon Armor quest. Professor Twiddle will also be at the University, so check in with him to get two more quests ("The Right Twist" and "Lela") that take place later in the game. You'll also want to chat with Askan and turn the four books of Rohen over to him; he muses on Portal lore and gives you a Ring of the University for your trouble. Take some (lengthy) time to explore Sevenkeeps, keeping an eye out for herb deposits, and chests with loot, and activating Journey Stones in the various neighborhoods - they'll come in handy for the upcoming 'FedEx' quests. Some of the merchants may have one or two things you can afford to buy, but most of them have items you're still too low on the Experience ladder to use. Make your way to the northern part of the city and speak with the dwarf leader Jandrim Windhammer. After the cutscene, Jared will give you a quest to fetch potion ingredients. Sevenkeeps: Get the Potion Ingredients The Journey Stones you've activated now come in handy. Teleport to the priests' compound and speak with Alastar, who tells you to ask another priest for a task to complete in order to earn a gift of the Bitter Lye. There are two priests nearby: Calius will ask for a collection of herbs, and Sephis will request you go to a tomb to the NW and take care of some Undead defiling it. If you're fortunate in your herb gathering on the Sevenkeeps map, you may well have all the herbs Calius needs, so turn them over to him, and then go see Alastar for the Lye. However, if you haven't got the herbs, you're going to have to do Sephis's quest. [ Later in the game if you do succeed in collecting all the herbs, it's worth seeing Calius; then go to Alastar for a coin and 200 XP.] Head out the West gate of the city; since you're down to three party members now, be careful with the wolves and hornets that lie on the path to the tomb in the NW. If you're overwhelmed by the beasts, run back to town and let the Sevenkeeps guards help out in the battle. If you find all three of your party die in combat, remember you can use the Altar of Life shrines elsewhere on the map to spawn your avatar and heroes and thus avoid reloading a Saved game. When you get to the area around the tomb, activate the Journey Stone nearby. What appears to be a lone skeleton adversary will quickly spawn a succession of skeletons each time you defeat him. Grind your way thru several spawnings and eventually you'll destroy the last spawn and free the tomb of Undead influence. Teleport your avatar back to Sephis and speak with her; if you pursue the conversation she'll give you a side quest about Sevenkeeps residents who are suspected to be members of a cult. More on this later in the Walkthrough. For now, go and see Alastar and he'll reward you with the Bitter Lye. Next, teleport to the crafter's compound and speak with Cardogan, who will tell you to solicit a quest from a nearby crafter. Thoya is a good choice; she'll request that you go to a quarry in the dwarven compound and eliminate some stone golems that have disrupted operations there. Join up with Bor and Lya at the dwarven compound. There are 6 stone golems, each with 6 hit points; they are tough to take on all at once. Try to soften them up with some ranged spells, then back off and retreat when the combat gets too one-sided (they won't pursue you very far). Heal up and return for another round. Once you've whittled away all six golems, teleport back to the crafter's compound and give Thoya the good news. Then speak with Cardogan and receive the crystal vial. Teleport back to the dwarven compound. You'll discover Jared is gone; Asha tells you he's near death from the plague. Agree to use your dragon blood to revive him. After the cutscene you'll find that a grateful Jared will now be a member of your party. He's not the strongest fighter of the party, but you can allot his XP and thus steer his development according to your desires. Now have everyone assemble at the dwarven compound and you'll find Jandrim the dwarf ambassador is revived. Speak with him about the portal to Underhall; follow him around the corner to it, and use your portal stone to activate it. Before stepping thru to Underhall, you may want to do some other quests associated with the Sevenkeeps map, and bulk up on XP and earn some nice weapons in the process. I suggest the Westguard map. 5. Side Quest: Westguard The Westguard: Red Plague and Reconstruction When you first meet with the king in Sevenkeeps, he will give you the territory of the Westguard as a fiefdom, and Bailiff Utrecht, standing in the vicinity of the King, will tell you to consult with him when you choose to come to Westguard. So when you're ready to access the Westguard, just return to the King's Plaza and the Bailiff, and speak with him to 'activate' the Portal to the Westguard, located in the vicinity of the Plaza. You will arrive in Westhome, the capital town of the province, and it becomes clear that your fiefdom is pretty much of a down-at-the-heels, seedy place, in ruins and under attack by demons ! Speak with Bailiff Utrecht to see what needs to be done to get the place in better shape, and he'll give you the 'Red Plague' and 'Reconstruction' quests. After you talk with Utrecht, head over to the merchant's quarter to buy and sell. Master Builder Warrad will give you a side quest to look for his daughter, a girl named Kara, in Sevenkeeps in the marketplace area. Arm Bor, Jared, and your avatar with bows (if capable), and set out to shoot down the demons, which are gargoyle-like flying creatures that can only be hit with ranged weapons and spells. They're not too tough to eliminate. After you clear the town of demons, make your way south and kill the demons responsible for damaging the farms. As each demon succumbs, workers will exit the buildings, repair the farms, and then become available. Send them to the nearby smeltery and stonemason hut and get them busy collecting stone and silver. To the SE is a lair of swamp spiders. These are high-level (10 and above) and your party can't really handle them at the moment, so move on to the NE corner of the map, and take care of the demons there. This will also free up workers. Have them follow your party back to Westhome. Speak with Utrecht, and you'll complete both quests. He'll now request that you construct several buildings (blacksmith, Altar of Life, and alchemist); assign the workers you have tagging along with you to build them. By this time your smeltery and stonemason hut in the south should have plenty of resources to make this an easy task. The Westguard: Adventuring for Fun and Profit Now, instead of going back to Bailiff Utrecht, you may want to send your party up to the north-central part of the town and to the HQ located atop the stone platform. Summon some workers and build a castle and a stronghold near the HQ. When you've got a decent force of mounted crossbowmen and melee fighters, team them up with your party, and go north and northeast, up the mountain trails, where there are lots of chests with loot, and lots of level 10 and 12 bears and wolves guarding them. With your army to aid you, getting rid of the animals shouldn't be too difficult- although watch out for the level 12 'desert wolves', they can be a real tough fight. You'll notice that the western margin of the map is mostly mountains, with the occasional gateway, blocked by boulders, with skeletons and trolls laboring away on the other side. You can't interact with this portion of the map at this time, so once you've cleared the northern area of the map of bears and wolves, send your force all the way to the SE and the swamp spider lair. This will be a tougher battle but you should emerge without too many losses. Search the spider lair for some nice loot. When you're done with your Treasure Hunting expedition, return to Utrecht; he'll coyly hand over some items to 'reward' you for constructing the alchemist, blacksmith, and Altar of Life, but then he'll ask you to erect at least five defense towers around Westguard. By now you should have more than enough idle workers to make this easy to accomplish. As far as placement of the towers goes, it's very interesting to see that Phenomic has placed two large enemy camps on the northwestern and southwestern areas of the map. So it's a good idea to place 4 -5 towers just to the northwest of your HQ, on the trail that leads up to the entrance to the skeleton camp (which at present is blocked by a big pile of boulders). You'll want to cram another 4- 5 towers across the trail that leads southwest, along the lake, towards yet another enemy camp- this seems to be a Beastmen one- also walled off at the moment by a rockslide. Back to Utrecht; now he wants you to go ask Warrad the Builder about constructing a well ! Warrad will agree for the price of 1000 stone and 100 gold, which you should have at hand. That's it for the Westguard missions at the moment, if you were wondering if you had been playing a city-building sim instead of an RPG. Take the portal back to Sevenkeeps. 6. Sevenkeeps Back to Sevenkeeps: Miscellaneous Quests Upon your return to Sevenkeeps, go see Baru in the marketplace; ask her about Kara, Warrad's daughter, and you'll learn that she's gone off to the East; you'll get the continuing 'The Girl and The Clans' quest as a result. Now talk to Trader Jorge, who can't open his chest. Volunteer to go see the chests' maker, craftsman Firin, in the craftsmens' quarters; he'll open the chest, but for a fee. Teleport back to Jorge with the news. He won't be pleased with the requirement to pay Firin money, and he will allow you to try and open the chest yourself, triggering the 'Craftsmen or Traders' sidequest. Opening Jorge's chest on your own involves solving an algebra puzzle.. ! If you're like me and you hate these puzzles, just go back to Firin and tell him Jorge is willing to pay to have the chest opened. Firin will be happy and you'll curry favor with Cardogan, head of the craftsmen's guild. [For instructions on the algebra approach, I advise consulting the Spellforce 2 Forums. ] Back in the marketplace, talk with Trader Odger, who wants some spider silk: gray, black, white, and silver. He recommends you obtain it from the spider lair south of town. Hopefully by now your party is a bit stronger than when you first entered the map, so head to the lair in the SW corner of the map. There are LOTS of spiders here, keep the spells and swords going and you should eventually whittle them all down and get the silk, as well as some nice loot from the chests in this area. Go back to Odger for a reward of XP and the good graces of the marketer's guild. The Cult Suspects Quest The 'Cult Suspects' quest requires some running around, and can be done in between other quests and comings and goings as long as you're careful to jot down the identities of the suspects, since the Quest Log won't give all the important details for your convenience. The suspected cultist's homes are indicated on the minimap of Sevenkeeps by small yellow diamonds; in front of each house is a small signboard that you can right-click on to learn the identity of the homeowner. Also in front of each house, inlaid into the pavement, is a large symbol. You have to station your avatar in front of a given house, wait till night falls, then have them walk close to the inlaid symbol. This will trigger the spawning of the cultist from the symbol and give you an on-screen note regarding their identity. Scrutinize each suspect to see if they are dressed in ceremonial robes and masked; you can also place the cursor on them to discover if they are a 'male masked suspect', etc. As best as I could tell you could not use party members to trigger this spawning segment, only your avatar, which means you'll have to spend time having him / her discover the identity of all 8 of the suspected cultists. It may be possible to do this all in one night, but it took me two. Once you've identified a suspect their diamond symbol will disappear from the minimap. When you've investigated all 8 suspects, return to Sephis. According to Alpas Drake, as well as a Forum post by a Phenomics rep, the identity of the cultists is random from one game to another; you'll need to tell Sephis the correct names of both the innocent, and the cult members. If your statement is accurate Sephis will thank you; go and see High Priest Alastar to get a coin and 180 XP. 7. Underhall Underhall: Quests in the Mine When you are ready to continue with the Main Quest, step through the Portal to Underhall in the NE of Sevenkeeps, and arrive in the Dwarven town outside the mines, along with Jandrim. You'll trigger a cutscene, and then receive the 'Ruler of the Mine' and "Through the Mine' quests. Explore the area and loot the chests, activate the Journey Stone, and as you approach the northern end of the town, you should trigger a voiceover by Jandrim, and see a glowing portal at the entrance to a tunnel. Enter the portal to be teleported to the interior region of the mine. Here you'll encounter the ghost of Jandrim's father, who is contesting the mine with the ghost of a dead mage named Iuan. To end the conflict in the dwarves' favor, you'll need to retrieve an artifact called the Heart of Niethalf. You'll pick up a group of 5 dwarf warriors to assist your party, so head out and clear the immediate area of skeletons and mine ghosts (lure the latter away from their green crystals so they can't automatically regain hit points, and they should be easy to eliminate). There are 8 crystals, each guarded by a squad of mine ghosts, here in the Mines of Underhall. Be sure to pick up each crystal after the ghosts are eliminated, because they can be used later in the game to forge a nice weapon, the 'Lightfist' Hammer effective against the Undead. There are two levers indicated on the map, which need to be activated to allow you to go further into the mine where the Heart is guarded by the mage. You'll eventually come upon Lela, Professor Twiddle's assistant, who is locked in a cage and guarded by an invincible minotaur of Dr. Mauser's design. The minotaur is asleep nearby, lying atop the key to Lela's cage, as well as some dwarven records she was researching. Lela is hardly grateful to see you, but she will admit that the minotaur can be driven off by a... kitten, of all things. The minimap will indicate the location of the kitten all the way over at the western edge of the map, back in the dwarven town. Use the 'Lela's Prison' Journey Stone to teleport there, activate the kitten, and teleport back to Lela's prison. Stoll over by the sleeping minotaur, activate the kitten with a right-click, and watch the cutscene. As the minotaur is running around in terror, free Lela for some XP. Be sure to head back to Sevenkeeps University at some point to consult with Dr Twiddle about your freeing of Lela. Now you will want to venture into the previously closed region of the mine; the enemies here are more powerful, so try not to get exposed to attacks from marauding skeleton patrols and mine ghosts at the same time. Collect some loot, then battle your way to a nook of the mine where Iuan's Herald guards the Heart, along with a group of mine ghosts. The Herald is level 9, so expect to lose some dwarf sentries in the battle to defeat him, but you should emerge victorious. Get the Heart and some XP, then go back and talk with Windhammer's ghost. After the cutscene, follow Jandrim and the ghost as they go and battle Iuan and his sentries; you can join in the battle, and it shouldn't be too difficult to finish off Iuan. Talk with Windhammer's ghost and then Jandrim, receive the Heart for your own use, and then walk over to where the Eastern Gate out of the mine is located. There is a small group of skeletons barring your way; defeat them, then enter the Gate. Underhall: Eastern Region Your party will emerge aboveground on the Eastern portion of the map. Some stone statues nearby will have "?" icons associated with them; right-click to activate the Resurrected Giants, who will join your party. There are four statues total in this area. Have your party methodically clean out the dwarf town of the assorted beasts. Also located in the town are some Defenders imprisoned in jails that you can free and incorporate into your party; there are a total of three (I think) in this area. Eventually you'll come to a group of humans battling beasts near an Altar of Light and an HQ; help them out and Sergeant Ardan will advise you to head to the dwarf encampment in the far NE corner of the map, and join forces with the Thane in charge there. Your combined forces should then be powerful enough to take down the Ice Witch, who is located in the north-central portion of the map. Start pumping out workers from the HQ and have them harvest the stone and silver nearby. Have Sgt. Ardan's small troop join you, and continue heading along the eastern border of the map, wiping out beasts as you go. Note the location of an inactive Portal and the 'Outpost of the Realm' Journey Stone. Take care when Rock Towers appear on the map, since they and the beasts are a tough 'combination' fight; try and have your avatar lure the beasts away from the towers, then, when the beasts have been eliminated, focus on the towers. [Throughout this map, be ever-ready to use the 'hold' command to keep your troops from straying off on suicide attacks on nearby towers, and batches of enemy troops loitering near the towers.] You'll eventually come to a long, narrow bridge or viaduct in the central part of the eastern half of the map. Station your party here and stave off enemy assaults directed at your base, while you concentrate on building up your army. Be sure to make at least 5 crossbowmen, because soon you will face attacks from flying harpies, and also spellcasting beast 'queens' as well as the beasts proper. You may also want to arm Jared and Bor with bows to help out with the ranged attacks. If you select the Dwarven Upgrade, you can now create Defenders and Elites, which are good melee units. Once you have a decent force (25 or more) of infantry, bowmen, and of course your party and the Giants, clear out the enemy camp near the bridgehead and explore the area. Now start heading north, and eliminate the snow cats on the trail. Batches of harpies, beast queens, and beast men will come down the trail to defend their camps, so be prepared to battle every few hundred yards. There are also quite a few Rock Towers to whittle down; I found it best to have my Heroes go out to take on the Towers, with some archers to back them up in case of attacks from beasts rushing to defend the Towers. As long as you take care to block the trail, no enemy forces should be able to slip past and attack your base in the SE. It's a bit of a grind, but you'll eventually arrive at the dwarf camp in the NE and the Thane will agree to join forces with you. Note that you can take possession of his dwarf troops, as well as six catapults, which move a bit slowly and tend to have mediocre pathfinding AI, but are ideal for destroying those annoying rock towers, as well as raining boulders onto enemy troops. These catapults can be replaced via the use of the Dwarven Forge upgrade, but are rather expensive, so be sure to keep them back behind a screen of troops, and be ready to fend off attacks on them from enemy forces who will often try and slip around your troops to focus on the catapults. By taking the route directly to the Ice Witch's forces, you should prevent any of her raiding parties from getting downhill and attacking the Thane's camp, but you still may want to have some defensive towers at the approaches to the camp. Note that once you reach 40 slots (the exact number of troops this translates into depends on whether you're creating mounted troops or not) you cannot expand the slot number, no matter how many new Farms you build. But 40 slots should be more than enough to finish off the Ice Witch. Underhall: Eliminating the Ice Witch and Her Army Replace fallen troops, level up as needed, and then send your army after the Ice Witch's encampment. Take the westbound trail leading out from the Thane's camp, and patiently pick off beats and raptors coming down the trail to stop your advance. As best I can tell, when rocks launched by your catapults hit a group of your forces and those of the enemy, your forces will not take 'collateral' damage, while the Ice Witches' troops will, so put the catapults to use as you see fit. It's a wearying slog, but eventually you'll pass thru the beast camps' various outlying defensive forces, and start heading directly west. The main beast camp in the far west section of the map can be a very tough assault: as soon as your force ascends a narrow canyon leading to the base, it will discharge a massive wave of beastmen, harpies, and witches that can overwhelm you army in the confines of the canyon. If you are having problems with this camp, draw your army back to the bottom of the canyon and bring some workers up. Station your avatar near them to fend off any beast raiding parties, and have the workers erect a chain of 7-8 towers along the canyon, and upgrade the towers with human and dwarf upgrades. Then send your avatar up the trail and have him / her lure a mob of beastmen after him, down the trail and into the firing range of the towers. You can also have some crossbowmen stationed among the towers to add to your defense. It may take two or even three successive forays, but eventually the towers should take enough of a toll on the beastment to allow your army to go back up the canyon, and enter the main beastmen camp and get to work on levelling it, without having to deal with excessive numbers of enemies. There are small patrols and guard points in the northern area of the map, as well as around the approaches to the Ice Witch's palace, so for extra loot and to be thorough, you may want to hunt them down and eliminate them. The trail leading to the Ice Witch's palace is a bit tricky to find; basically, you have to go around the ice palisade that protects the beast camp, onto a narrow trail that may be hard to see unless you rotate the map. Activate the Ice Palace Journey Stone, get replacement troops into position, and then get ready to take on the Witch. She is level 10, and protected by a squad of level 8 Frost Golems. Both the Witch and the Golems will use freeze spells to immobilize your troops and heroes, so have the catapults stationed a bit back, along with your bowmen, to use ranged attacks when your melee fighters are unable to attack. The Witch and the Golems will require a bit of drawn-out combat, but eventually you should defeat them. Watch the cutscene, be sure to grab the dropped items, and then it's back to Sevenkeeps. 8. Sevenkeeps Back to Sevenkeeps: Find the Elf Ambassadress Talk with Einar, who will tell you you'll need to recruit some elf bowmen (bow-women ?) to team up with the dwarven catapults to destroy the Bulwark. He tells you to look in the Silent Glade for the elven 'Ambassadress'. Before doing this, you may want to go to the University and see Professor Twiddle; he is grateful you saved Lena in the mines of Underhall and will give you a choice of two weapons made of 'twiddleinium'; the bow has added efficacy against flying units. You may also want to visit the merchant's quarter to sell your accumulated loot. Make your way west to the Silent Glade and meet with the elven representative Idara, who tells you that the ambassadress is missing, having gone to consult with a mage named Hagard about a cure for the plague. Hagard is master of a castle named Springs Keep in the north of the map. A Journey Stone near his location then will be activated, but I caution against sending your avatar thru alone; there are lots of wasps and wolves on the trail leading to Hagard's castle and they can readily take down a lone avatar. Have your avatar and heroes team up instead, and you shouldn't have any trouble with the wasps. [Note that the Sevenkeeps map will respawn various new monsters and loot on the territories outside of the town each time you return to the map]. Hagard the Magician Hagard seems like a strange character; he says the elf Ambassadress had wandered off looking for an herb named 'snake nettle', and he suggests you ask the various faction and merchant leaders in the town for clues as to where it may grow. Dutifully have your avatar teleport to some of the leaders of the guilds, and it will become clear they have never heard of snake nettle. There will be some voiceovers from the Sevenkeeps Jester while this is going on; finally, while talking with Cardogan at the Crafter's Guild, I questioned the Jester standing nearby and learned that snake nettle is a phantom ingredient. Head back to Hagard and tell him you're on to his act, and a cutscene will play in which the captive Ambassadress, Ylia, yells out that Hagard is in fact responsible for the plague. He is protected by some tough monsters, so she tells you to recruit some help from the magician's guild and the militia. [You're now going to have quite a few options for Side Quests associated with the various factions and organizations in Sevenkeeps. Those side quests I undertook to further the Main Quest are listed below. To keep the Walkthrough from getting too bloated, I have listed the other Sevenkeeps side quests in a section all of their own, as the very last chapter of the Walkthrough. You can of course select any set of them, rather than the ones I performed, to complete and thus recruit help from the Militia and the Magicians] Have your avatar visit with Alyre at the mage's guild, who insists you perform a task for one of her members before aiding you. I selected a quest from Talienne to find a lost glass harp. This meant exiting the city by the Farmer's Gate in the south; follow the sound cues from the glass shard in your possession to a field where what seems to be an outcropping of crystal protrudes from the grass. You should get a right-clickable icon to appear once you're close enough to it. Return with the harp to Talienne, then see Alyre and receive five elf druids to help with the attack on Hagard. Next you have to recruit some militia; see General Redmond, who, like Alyre, will demand a favor before providing assistance. I selected a quest from Lieutenant Falida to kill 10 ogres scattered around the outside of Sevenkeeps. Have your heroes help out your avatar with this hack-and-slash quest because the ogres are rather tough (note that the druids you received from Alyre are helpful here with healing). Alternatively you can kill 10 harpies, which are easier to kill than the ogres, but they are often located close by groups of wolves and ogres, so some tough fights cannot be avoided regardless of what creature you choose to exploit as a 'bounty'. Once you've dealt with the 10 ogres, report back to Falida, then Redmond, to receive 5 militia troops to go along with your 5 druids. Now you're ready to take on Hagard; travel north to his castle. He has a force of summoned level 9 demons to defend him, but after a prolonged battle you should destroy them all with the loss of few, if any, troops of your own. Hagard will flee when you emerge victorious, so go speak with Ylia. After the cutscene, use your Portal Stone to activate the Portal to Dun Mora and proceed to the next segment of the game. 9. Dun Mora Dun Mora and the Depressed Elves When you arrive you'll encounter your sister Shea, who will now join your party as another spellcaster. [For the first two-thirds of the game Shea is a good addition to your combat capacity, but after that, her vulnerability to enemy attack makes her best kept out of anything but the easiest of fights]. Follow her to a meeting with the elf queen Sansha. It seems the entire nation of Dun Mora are in a state of depression due to the presence of ghosts of fallen elves. You'll need to deal with the ghosts, as well as fend off attacks from demons spawning from a series of bases in the northern portion of the map, in order to get the elves to support your forthcoming assault on the Bulwark. The ghosts are represented on the minimap by five white diamond shapes. Go visit each of them; two can be killed after a brief fight, but the "Frightened Mourning Ghost" and the "Lonely Mourning Ghost" require quests to other areas of the map, while the Furious Mourning Ghost requires a particular path thru the conversation tree in order to be persuaded to leave. Focus on taking down the two ghosts that offer a fight, because this will free some elf troops to join your force. [If you're lucky and you can solve the conversation tree of the Furious Ghost in time to add her forces to yours, so much the better]. Ignore the Frightened and Lonely ghosts' quests for the moment, because by now, the demons you saw at the beginning of the level will return; have your heroes armed with bows and ranged spells and take on the demons in the town square of Dun Mora. After an extended fight they will retreat, and you will receive word to go speak to Sansha. But first you should go back to the Furious Ghosts' dialogue puzzle, solve it, and get the extra troops. You should now go retrieve the lost message for the Frightened Ghost, and solve the side quest for the Lonely Ghost, to get those troops into your army as well: Have your forces rush down to the south portion of the map and eliminate the golems and demons guarding the missing letter of the Frightened Ghost. Then rush over to the monsters guarding the corpse of the Lonely Ghost, and take them down to be able to bury her corpse. Now you have increased your army still further. Return to the main elf encampment and speak with Sansha. Along with some XP you get for completing the Ghost quests, you'll also see a cutscene in which Io, the elf archer, leads a team of human workers thru the portal from Sevenkeeps to help you construct a base. Defending Dun Mora Sansha will tell you that another, larger wave of demons and swamp lurkers will be coming to attack the camp, and you must erect defenses to stop them. A timer will start counting down from 17 minutes, until the attack occurs. Note that you already have some stone and silver, and there is some lenya near the HQ to the south. There are some buildings already erected here; the elf archers are particularly powerful against flying units. So you can try and either produce troops to assist with the defense, or try and erect some towers near the northern approach to the town square in Dun Mora (this is the direction the attack will come from), or, use both towers and troops (the best choice, perhaps). However, note the presence of quite a few monsters near stone, silver, and lenya areas in the south, so be careful as to how you disperse your workers. Throughout the Countdown there will be constant attacks on your HQ and harvesting sites by small parties of Elementals, Golems, and beasts, and it will be imperative that you split your force into multiple groups to run around the map and handle these attacks, even as you try to direct your workers towards harvesting and building. Try and upgrade any towers you erect in the town square with the Elf upgrade, which heals nearby friendly troops. This costs lenya, but it's well spent. It's also a good idea to create several Druids and have them join your defense force in the square, as they can provide healing to your troops. When the Countdown gets to below 3 mins have the bulk of your troops convene at the town square, and prepare for the Demon attack. You may want to have a small detachment left behind to defend your HQ (frustatingly, enemy forays will continue here, even as you are supposed to battle this big Demon assault). When the Demon Wave comes, just ride it out with whatever spells you can use best. There are successive waves, so have some workers at hand to repair any damaged towers in between assaults. You'll get a notification when the Demon 'Wave' is finished, after which you will be tasked with eliminating the nests of the demons located in the northern area of the map. Building Up Your Army Now station your survivors near your HQ, and divide them into two groups. Assign each group its own number and get ready to have them rushing about the southern area of the map, clearing out resource areas so your workers can begin harvesting, and also deterring what will be regular assaults on your HQ and gathering operations by forays of enemies. Erecting towers in this southern region is sort of a hit or miss affair because many of the enemy attacks are 'spawning' types, where it's difficult to figure out what direction they are coming from and where best to place your towers. The fact that your workers will be scattered over a large area of the southern portion of the map will make static defenses that much more difficult to construct. I found it easier to have some quick reaction forces stationed at various areas, ready to intervene within a few seconds of an enemy attack on my workers. As far as the 'nest invasion' force goes, I would avoid investing in mounted troops, and stick with cheaper, but nonetheless effective, foot soldiers for this map, but it's up to the player as to how you want to equip your force. A mix of human melee troops and elf archers seemed to work fine for me. By now four yellow symbols should appear on the northern section of your minimap; these are the Nests that Sansha wants you to destroy in order to drive the demons "back into the ground". These are all well-defended, so you'll need an army of 50 or more troops to have the best chance of beating them down. Destroying the Demon Nests When you've finally got a force assembled of 50 or more troops, with a good portion of them archers or crossbowmen, you can start to send your force north to begin eliminating the demon nests. The nests can be frustrating to destroy, because the Portals located in them spawn new units on a regular basis. Try and form up your own units just out of range of the nest, and then send them on a dash to destroy the Portal. Ignore enemy units until the Portal is destroyed, and then you can whittle away the enemy units. It's a tough fight, and you will have to be cranking out replacement troops of your own throughout the rest of the level, but be patient and grind away. Since the nests are located in close proximity to one another, be careful your troops don't run off to attack another nest while you are trying to recoup your losses- use the 'hold' (H) key as needed. Attacks on your base will continue even with one, two, or three nests destroyed, so be sure to have some troops left behind at your HQ to help fend off these raiders. It can be a bit exasperating at times to have to constantly switch between defending your HQ, and directing your invasion of the nesting areas, but when the fourth nest is eliminated the attacks on Dun Mora will stop. If there are unexplored areas of the map, particularly in the south, now is the time to check them out for remaining loot. When you're done, return to see Io back at the elf city and after the cutscene, you get the help of the elves and 1000 XP. You get "The Battle Begins" quest, and so now it's back to King Ulf at Sevenkeeps. 10. Sevenkeeps Sevenkeeps: Rescue Nightsong Talk to King Ulf, trigger a cutscene, and get 1000 XP. You'll also get a quest to find Nightsong, who, it seems, has disappeared.. ?! Visit General Redmond in the Militia quarters to learn she was abducted and carried away to the NE portion of the map. A Journey Stone in that area is now activated, so send your avatar there. Have your heroes Summoned to join him or her. Also, remember the elf and militia troops you were given to attack Hagard a few quests back ? They're still in Sevenkeeps, so if you can find where you last left them, have them join your avatar, too- you will need them. Explore the NE, killing various level 13 - 15 wild animals and looting chests. Eventually you'll come to a glade where some dark elves of the Pact are protecting...an old friend ! The battle here is intense but with the aid of your militia and druids, you should emerge victorious. Be sure to get the mind shard from the corpse of the dark elf, then head up the trail and talk to Nightsong. After the dialogue is exhausted, she re-joins your party. Clean out some nearby skeletons to liberate some loot, and use the Mind Stone to eavesdrop on the thoughts of Sorvina, the 'Queen' of the Shadow Pact. There is a Portal nearby; activate it and travel on to The Needle. 11. The Needle The Needle: Defend your Camp and Matricus This is the hardest and most lengthy level in the game so far, mainly because so much is going on at once. It may take a few tries to get things right, particularly at the start, so just be sure to Save often ! You will come thru the Portal and trigger a cutscene. It seems that some hotheads, including griffons ("Magicians"), went out looking for combat and as a result got themselves surrounded by the Pact army; they are on a hilltop in the southern portion of the map, across the river that divides the map roughly into 'west' and 'east' halves. Matricus, Einar, and Karan are all waiting to have your avatar take command and bring the battle to the Pact forces guarding the approaches to the Bulwark. [The Bulwark is on the eastern half of the map and it is an enormous, very well-defended fortress with five tiers, each loaded with fire towers, fire catapults, and lots and lots of orcs and trolls]. Just downhill from the portal is a base camp that you will use. North and south of your camp are separate camps of Einar and Karan, but you cannot control those camps, or the troops they spawn, directly. If you talk with Matricus he will fill you in on the situation, and essentially dump command of all the Order forces in your lap. Once you finish talking with him you'll get some workers spawned, and receive messages advising you to get some archer units up and running to defend the fords over which the Pact forces will make their way to attack your base. Soon after activating your camp, you'll have to deal with a wave of attacks from Pact archers and melee troops. Have your heroes and avatar bear the brunt of it, and throw in any rangers you've created so far. You should beat back the attack and get a bit of breathing room. Matricus will participate in this attack but you can't control him, so keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't get in over his head and die. [Note that If Matricus dies at any time, the mission ends, so make sure he stays protected.] Luckily there's an Elven Fortress in your camp, so get the first batches of your workers busy collecting lenya and stone, and make the first 5 - 10 units you create elf rangers. Pump out the workers as soon as they can spawn and have them hard at work collecting resources. Don't waste stone on building defense towers at this point. While this is going on, marauding Pact forces will be coming primarily from the North, across the ford there, and winged Pact units- Spiritists- will be flying southwards from The Needle, a mountain peak in the north of the map. They spawn there on a continuous basis, and because only flying units can access the peak, you will ultimately have to construct Magicians to carry the fight to the Needle. Once the initial attack on your base is over, move your avatar and heroes to the Northern ford and prevent the Pact forces from crossing it and attacking your base. This is not easy, but keep Lya and her healing staff going and be sure to resurrect any fallen heroes. As soon as you get five elf rangers created, have them join your 'ford force' and help with its defense. You'll need to move the camera around the map constantly during this very hectic phase. Keep an eye on your production and unit creation; get some farms up and running, periodically scan the HQ to activate the unit numbers Upgrade whenever it becomes available, and create more rangers and Hold them near your HQ to shoot down spiritists and attacking trolls. Get some dwarf Defenders up and running as a good, cheap melee unit to complement the rangers. Endure the Pact assaults for what seem like a long time and eventually you'll get word from Matricus that you can order Einar and Karan's forces to attack the enemy. Send your avatar back to the HQ area and talk with each general. I asked both of them to attack the northern Pact camp first; this concentrates your forces on one target. Once they go off, ignore them; their own camps will regularly spawn new troops to replace those lost. Check out their battle from time to time but for the most part, work on assembling your own army. Once Einar and Karan have eliminated the Northern camp, Pact attacks coming across the northern ford should dwindle and then cease, but the spiritists will still come southwards, so move your party back to the HQ and have the rangers at hand to deal with the spiritists. You'll get a voiceover announcing that the northern pact camps have been eliminated, so now you can order Einar and Karan, standing near the HQ, to attack other targets; I ordered both to take down the southern Pact camp. Let their forces go off and do their thing. At this point you can invest in a dwarven Forge and then make catapults, or other unit types as you prefer. If resources are getting low, send some workers to the northern part of the 'west' side of the river; a Pact camp here should have been leveled by Einar or Karan, and there should be some lenya fields you can safely harvest. There are other stone and silver deposits south of your base that you can exploit as well (but beware the skeleton encampment in thr far south in terms of directing your workers). By now you should have a force of 35 - 40 troops of the ultimate total slot for this map of 80: mostly rangers, three or four druids, to heal your troops; five or more catapults, if you like; some melee troops, or perhaps even a human Titan. By this time, too, Einar and Karan should have succeeded in destroying the Pact's southern camp. Now it's time to go on the offensive. On the Offensive Against the Pact Move your army south (but not too far south just yet !), cross the ford, and then go slightly northwest to where two Order buildings- a Citadel of Wisdom and a Castle- are being guarded by some trolls. Wipe out the trolls and you will have two Magicians now at your disposal, and the ability to create more as you prefer. You will also now have the ability to order Einar and Karan to attack another target; I selected the large Pact force in front of the Bulwark. Each general will complain this task is impossible without some form of aid, so have them team up and attack together. Once you've liberated the Citadel, have your army move north along the eastern shore of the river and assist Einar and Karan in wiping out the Pact bases located there. As you approach the Bulwark be careful of getting too close to its walls, because Pact catapults, defensive towers, and archers will hit you with deadly ranged weapons. [These structures and troops are often not rendered until you're very close to them, which means that if you try to send your own catapults to destroy them, they will be able to hammer the catapults all during their slow approach to the palisade, while you will not see any targets to return fire upon until your force is almost completely wiped out. This will influence the gameplay later in this level, see below]. Wipe out the troll structures just outside the Bulwark's walls. You will encounter a mercenary named Mordecay who, in exchange for his life, will reveal that the old mine, located in the SE portion of the map, has a Journey Stone on its path that will allow you to circumvent a blocked segment of the trail, and thus get close to the inner sections of the Bulwark. With the Pact structures outside the Bulwark eliminated, tell Einar and Karan to gather resources for the time being. Exploring the Other Areas of The Needle Map Now it's time to take care of other areas of the map. First, upgrade your HQ and expand your farms and create a total of 6 or more Magicians. Send them to the far northern border of the map to the camps on the Needle, to take on the Spiritist Patriarchs responsible for spawning the spiritists attacking your base. Watch out for the troll archers in these camps, and focus on eliminating the patriarchs first. Once you've killed both patriarchs, the attacks by the spiritists will cease. You can have your flying units explore the area here, just be careful keep them from getting too close to the concentrations of Pact axemen, fire towers, and archers associated with The Bulwark. In the meantime, have your heroes, avatar, and ground troops cross back over to the western side of the river and explore the far southern bank; there is a camp of skeletons here, all high-level, who will put up a stiff fight. Grab the loot they drop. As a final preliminary mission, you can have your avatar and heroes explore the old dwarf mine in the SE corner of the map. There are ore carts with precious minerals for the taking, as well as some chests to loot. As you advance along the northern portion of the mine path you'll come upon a segment that has been filled with collapsed timber and cannot be traversed; on the opposite side of the timber is the Mine Path Journey Stone, which will be active. You can have your avatar teleport there, but a bit farther up the trail lurks Hong, a level 12 orc, along with several level 11 veterans. If you want to explore the trail further, have your magicians come up, and summon your heroes beside you, and then take on Hong and his troops. After the Hong Force has been eliminated, cautiously advance north until the trail ends and you can see the rear echelons of the Pact forces guarding the Bulwark. While I did not attempt to mount a 'behind-the-enemy-lines' attack, thinking it difficult with my existing Party, there are Posts at the Spellforce 2 Forums from players who actually did this and succeeded in eliminating the Pact presence on The Bulwark without need for a frontal attack (below). If you have a strong avatar and party and the assistance of 6 or more magicians it's possible to make this sneak attack work and eliminate all the formidable enemy forces, with some laborious battles and the careful handling of your units. Otherwise, prepare to make a (bloody) frontal assault: Storming the Bulwark So you have no real alternative except to Storm the Bulwark, so now move your troops to a position safely outside the range of the Bulwark's first wall, bring some workers up near them, and start building troop-spawning structures like the elven fortress. This will make reinforcements spawn closer to the upcoming action. Note that at this stage I had maxed out my troop slots at 80. Have your avatar speak with Einar and Karan and tell both of them to storm the Bulwark. Then return to where your troops are, and...find something else to do for the next 30 to 45 minutes. Seriously. Read a book, have a snack, do some laundry. If you try and send your troops into the Bulwark along with those of Einar and Karan, they will get wiped out with dismaying speed. Just sit tight and let the continuously spawning Paladins of Einar and Karan grind their way through each of the five palisades that make up the Bulwark. If you can't stand sitting idle, you can try sending your dwarf catapults up in support, but make sure they are targeting Pact buildings and troops already under attack from Einar's troops, so your catapults will escape direct enemy attention. Be sure to Save a lot, so if you blunder and get 6 or 8 of your catapults destroyed in a minute or two, you can reload rather than re-build. As Einar and Karan clean out each tier of the Bulwark, cautiously have your army advance behind it. After what seems like a long, long time, the top tier will be breached and you'll get some voiceovers letting you know that the Pact and the Norcaine are fighting among themselves, and you can use this to your advantage. Now you can get your force involved in the fight; take down the Pact camp at the center of the top tier. [Be ready for some framerate drops, even on powerful PCs, because there a lot of objects being rendered here.] Turn your catapults and archers loose on the Pact camps scattered along the top ridge of the Bulwark; you shouldn't have too much trouble wiping them out without losing much of your own force. Have some free workers travel up to this part of the map and erect troop-spawning buildings, so reinforcements can be close at hand if needed. Be sure to check the camps for chests with loot, including some nice pieces or armor. Work your way to the east and you'll come upon a camp where Kara, Warrad's daughter from Westguard, is held captive; free her to partially fulfill the side quest 'The Girl and The Clans' (you'll need to go see Warrad to complete the quest). There is a Portal in the eastern half of this ridge but it cannot be activated. Once the camps are eliminated, you'll notice that a new batch of enemies have spawned to block your access to the Portal to the Iron Fields in the western side of the ridge. These include four trolls at level 9, two Titans at level 13, and a level 15 Titan. These are tough opponents, so have your army set up out of range, array your catapults nearby, then trigger an attack. When the Titans come running have the catapults target them. You'll eventually win, but expect to see as many as 50% of your troops killed in this encounter. Be sure to loot the corpses for the Portal Key. Next you'll trigger a cutscene showing bad blood between Orc and Norcaine. Then you'll find your avatar and heroes facing Sinistron Kaziz, level 15, with a closed gate at your back. Just have your party bash away at Kaziz; if you have flying units still in action, they can attack over the gate. The death of Kaziz triggers another cutscene; after the Orc Chieftan Kor is revived and recruited to your cause, you are free to go thru the Portal to the Iron Fields. Whew ! That's it for the Needle / Bulwark map. 12. Side Quest: Westguard Detour to the Westguard Prior to the Iron Fields missions, why not take some Light Refreshment and detour to the Westguard (if you haven't already returned here since your first visit) ? There are lots of XP to be earned for relatively minor tasks. When you arrive, speak with Bailiff Utrecht to get the inevitable building quests, and some loot as a reward. You'll also see Jandrim Windhammer nearby; he has come from Underhall to hang out with your avatar at the Westguard, instead of King Ulf's palace in Sevenkeeps. He'll give you some side quests associated with forging high-powered weapons; the ingredients will be found on upcoming maps and levels, so be sure to collect them and then return to Jandrim to have them forged. If you remembered to collect 8 crystals from the mine in Underhall, he'll forge the Lightfist hammer for you; this weapon is particularly effective against the Undead, whom you will be facing quite frequently as the game unfolds. Near the center of the map, alongside a grove of lenya, is Ylia the elf ambassadress. Talk to her, and she mention making Westguard a welcoming place for elves, and she'll volunteer to bless your well (which Warrad will build for you for 1000 stone and 100 gold) with healing powers. Also on the map, in an enclosed 'arena' area in the east accessible only by the Spear Heights Journey Stone, you will see a small group of Cultists, including the Captain of the Cult, Thur, and your friend from Norimar, Magistra Hedwig. It turns out the Captain is responsible for the mayhem in The Westguard. You can kill them all if you like (summoning your heroes to help you may be necessary) and loot their corpses; or, if you spared the Cult necromancer in Norimar, and received the Symbol of the Cult, you can choose an option in the conversation tree with the Captain to reveal you are a Cult member and obtain various favors. Speak with Hedwig, and while she is skeptical of your intentions towards the Cult, she'll give you a ring. Speak with Thur and he'll give you The Fruits of Mercy side quest, in which you need to obtain two books. One is the Book of the Red Horde, which you can steal from the University in Sevenkeeps; the other is the Prophecies of the Lord Steward, which you can find in the Uram Gor map. Go into the merchant's area and sell the loot you've accumulated; you should also talk to Warrad to get the final XP due from the "Girl and the Clans" quest. Have your workers build the required Elf and Dwarf structures, as well as upgrading the towers you've previously placed at strategic locations around Westguard. It's a good idea to have at least one tower in the bunch with an elf upgrade; also note that you can apply human, elf, and dwarf upgrades to the same tower. You should also seek out the patches of lenya and silver on the map and make sure they are being harvested; it will come in handy later. See Utrecht after all the requested construction is completed to get XP and loot. This will also trigger him to announce, rather abruptly, that Undead from the camp in the ruins in the NW corner of the map are now attacking Westguard ! This is not a Quest proper, but you will get some XP out of it and some nice level 14 loot. Stopping the Undead Attack on Westguard A small party of skeletons will attack your farms in the NE corner of the map, so have your party rush up there and eliminate them. The main assault of the undead will come down the trail in the NW that leads to the stone platform where your HQ is sited. Of course, if you've placed some defense towers across that path, the undead will be deterred. Remember the paladins or other troops you created to go 'monster hunting' when you first arrived at Westguard ? They will now be very helpful in repelling the undead attacks, so have them participate in the defense around the HQ. Hold off the undead attacks (by level 10 enemies such as skeletons, undead animals, and spellcasters) while you crank out 5 or more catapults, some druids, and perhaps some dwarf or human melee troops. When you have 30 + troops and the catapults ready, move up the trail into the undead camp. The pile of boulders that used to block access to it is now gone. The undead resistance within the camp will not be that tough, but there are a lot of defense towers and buildings to destroy. You'll need to work the 'hold' key often to keep your troops from scattering in all directions. Have your troops repel skeleton attacks, while the catapults methodically destroy all the undead structures. When you've wiped out the camp, be sure to search the chests for loot. Move your army out of the remains of the camp and station them in the central part of the map, because later in the game you'll have to go and deal with some other troublemakers here in the Westguard . Return to Bailiff Utrecht for a reward and yet another 'construction' task; this time it's a monument (he'll also ask you to create at least 60 troops but you may already have reached, or exceeded, this number in the course of playing the earlier segments of this map). Go see Warrad, who will charge 1000 stone, 500 gold, 10 boulders of limestone, and 10 lumps of clay. Hopefully you've been dutifully collecting the last two minerals over the course of the past levels with the hope that sooner or later you may be putting them to use; so give them to Warrad and he'll tell you the next time you come to Westguard the monument will be in place. With our diversion in Westguard completed for the moment, it's time to proceed with the Iron Fields level (you might recall this was the very first map of the game and when you departed, Sorvina and Toth Lar were just arriving with their army). Teleport to the Needle map, and step thru the portal to the Fields. 13. The Iron Fields The Iron Fields: Recruiting Treants This can be a confusing and rather poorly communicated mission. This level requires you to methodically whittle away some sizeable Shadow / Pact camps on the southern half of the map, somehow find a way to access the northern half, and then grind thru yet more dark elf outposts to finally arrive at the ruins in the far NW corner of the map, where, as shown in the opening cutscene, your pet dragon Ur is in bad shape. Trying to construct a base at the start is NOT easy. For one thing, you are restricted as far as the number of units you can create; it's 30 slots. At some point further on into the mission, the unit cap is suddenly lifted, and you can create as many as 70 slots. But at the start you'll be limited to just 30 slots. And your base will be subjected to regular attacks by Pact forces. Sooner or later those Pact forces include a Titan, so your defense will really be under some pressure. So I decided to go with a RPG style in the first part of the mission. My strategy is outlined below. But I should point out that some players succeeded in base building right from the start, and with some skilled defense, fended off the Pact assaults until their unit cap was lifted and they could create a strong army to go out and crush the enemy. Morbius has this strategy posted at the Spellforce 2 forum: 'This map can be hard if you try to play defensively, they key is an early offense, otherwise they'll just wear you down. Here's what i do, as soon as you load in (dont even need to talk to the 2 npcs yet) send 5 workers to the silver SE of your base, the enemy wont attack here so they are safe, the others build a stonemason and start mining then hire a couple more workers. Position all your units/heroes between your headquarters and stonemason and use the couple extra workers to throw down 2 towers in the same area and upgrade them as you can. You can use those spares to keep buildings repaired also. You'll probably lose a few workers when the enemy attacks, but thats ok, just replace them. As soon as you have your towers up and have space in between enemy attacks take all your heroes and follow the road east through some mountains, you'll get to a T-junction, one enemy base is west and the other is east, i head west since i find that base tougher. The enemy bases are only lightly defended and most units they produce are sent to your HQ, you'll enter the west base just after you cross a bridge, there will probably be a few units hanging about waiting to be sent off to attack your HQ, but you should be able to handle them, you could quickly call up your mages to come help if needed. So yeh once those initial few units are dead clear out the military buildings first, Academy/Fortress/Shadow Crystal/HQ etc, a few units may appear as you go, just concentrate all you heroes on them, then back to the buildings, same with workers that come to repair. One base down, head back over the bridge and follow the river east, you'll end up at the back of the second base, same thing here, once its history there will be no more attacks on your base, so you can casually build up and talk to npcs' Another strategy for this map that also focuses on RTS and base-building, despite the continuous Pact assaults, comes from Spellforce 2 player Chris Cabcaben: "Where I built my base: I built it away from the HQ to the bottom by the road. I stopped playing for the day when I saw the pact forces coming from the east. It gave me time to think. When I went back to playing, my train of thought when I was building was "ok..I don't want my buildings to be attacked, let's build away from my HQ." So, building by the road was born and They never got attacked. Put the buildings in rows of two following the road, any more then that will probably catch the attention of ravagers. Also, build backwards meaning, don't build to your defending group/The silver resources. Build toward the portal. I defended the pass to the east with formations. How I defended the pass was easy and I didn't lose anything but a few melee units. I think people have a hard time because they just use the circle formation when units move together. I don't do that. I defend my base by using user-made formations / groups. That means I first put my melee heroes to the front followed by melee infantry to the side behind them. Then archers and spellcaster behind them. Every time I do this, I only lose about 1 or 2 every 3rd or 5th assault and reinforce by 3 or 5 melee units. Mainly defenders. I also put up a bunch of x-bowmen to take down the fliers. Having at least one healer hero in there is helpful. I left Lya there to heal and Shae with my avatar's group. What this is, I made a formation so I lost the least units as possible while defending. Bor took the larger part of the assault while the melee units help him out when he gets attack and the ranged units help take them out and the fliers. With this, the defense ins impregnable to visible units. The only time I lost units would be when shadows come out and my melee infantry gets attacked. I left Nightsong with my HQ since the stone was there and Ravagers come with every assault group. Usually just 1. Sometimes 2, but not often. They go for towers first then either the stonemason or HQ, Towers are a waste to build because of that. I built up an army and took down the Pact camps with one group at first then took down the west camp as a whole(both my avatar's group and Bor's group). On the west camp, I was like "Mwahahaha! Payback's a b*tch!" You will too since it was frustrating to defend the base. I was like that since I also lost my preset HQ >.> I also look at this as an RTS more than an RPG since that's how it was first presented and how I learned how to play this first." So you can try Morbius's or Chris's strategy, or, at least for the first half of the mission, you'll have to make do with the forces you gather from some RPG-type questing. It's actually feasible to use this force - and a bit of luck - to subdue the entire map, as I actually did, but you will have the opportunity to go into a RTS mode and build a base and assemble a full army of 80 troop slots later in the map, if you want to do things a little easier. So here's what I did, for what it's worth: After the cutscene ends, ignore both Falkmar and Io and instead send your party rushing eastwards, towards a HQ and workers that may be under attack by dark elves. Along the way you'll pass some human and elf troops and some magicians ('griffons'). Add them to your force and kill the dark elves. Then have all your troops trot back to the area near the Portal. Don't bother to defend the HQ and any other preconstructed buildings in this area; it seems wasteful, but that is the way Phenomic wants this initial part to be played. Talk with Io and Falkmar. Io will tell you that the best way to combat the 'invisible' shadow pact demons is to recruit some Ents ('Treants', to avoid being sued by the J.R.R. Tolkein estate), who have an innate ability to reveal the demons. To do so, you will have to send your magicians to the small Realm base in the far NE corner of the map, kill some Shadow Pact gargoyles stationed there, and thus free a small party of Realm workers in the base to collect 1000 lenya from nearby plants. Have the magicians travel along the margins of the map to avoid running into Pact armies; they can fly to waypoints stuck in the water, on cliffsides, or even sometimes the 'ether' surrounding the solid terrain of the map. When they arrive at the base in the NE, have them take out the three gargoyles and get the five workers busy harvesting lenya. Then have your magicians carefully fly back along the edges of the map to join up with your force. Reload a saved game if any die on the way back, and try a different flight path...the magicians are going to be needed ! While the returning magicians are en route, promptly have your avatar, heroes, workers and army march around the Journey Stone near the Portal to the Needle, and follow the uphill trail past the Stone to double back to the NW, where another Journey Stone, for the 'Forest Shrine', is located. Proceed west past this Stone and you'll come to a small enclosed area containing an Eldar Grove. You'll have to move FAST and get your force stationed here, because very soon parties of Dark Elves will come rushing at the Grove. Get your avatar and heroes out in front, with the Druids safely to one side, and let your party members soak up the brunt of the attacks. Stash your workers back behind the altar for safekeeping. When the workers in the NE get 1000 lenya harvested, don't automatically go to the altar in the Grove with your avatar and activate it. Instead, make sure the magicians return safely to the Grove and join them with your army there. Deliberately wait until there is another Dark Elf attack, beat it off, heal all your troops, and THEN activate the altar with the 1,000 lenya. You will have Grimroot and some treants spawn. They will immediately reveal some Shadows lurking in the Grove. Beat down the Shadows and then incorporate the surviving treants and Grimroot, their leader, into your force. If you are lucky your total force, including elf, humans, treants, and party members, should be around 40 slots. [With just this force of troops, I was able to clean out the entire Iron Fields map, provided I saved often, kept the druids back out of the fray, and be careful about letting the troops run off on their own to attack Pain Towers or spellcasters. If you don't want the hassle of doing things this way, you can gain a large army later on in the campaign (below). It may seem like a drag of a mission to try and eliminate all the dark elf camps and troops with such a small force, but the dark elf troops are mediocre melee fighters, even at level 15 and above. I remember playing the 'Breathing Forest' level in Spellforce One, where an army of 30 dark elves and my avatar would take on just a few Kithar and come away with 4 survivors. And in the Firefangs campaign in The Breath of Winter expansion pack, I found myself cranking out ridiculous numbers of dark elves just to handle a few spawning Shadows, and as for the final battle against the Crimson Angel...I didn't even get that far before giving up in frustration ! So, the moral is, numbers don't tell the story here.] If you fail to come out of the 'Treant Summoning' step with a lot of troops left intact, don't despair; I was able to continue with only a slot of 20 left alive at this point. But you will have to create a base to replenish your forces (below). Eliminating the Shadow Pact Camps There are two sizeable dark elf camps that you must eliminate en route to the northern half of the map. Move your army out from the Grove and head to the east; lead with the treants so any Shadows are exposed for the attack. After each battle with the enemy, rest and have your druids heal everyone. Advance eastwards and prepare to take on the first Dark Elf camp. If your force has been weakened from the Treant Summoning fight, what you will need to do is stop your force near the area in the central portion of the map, just west of the first big Dark Elf camp, where there are some deposits of stone and silver and some Dark Elf harvesters at work. Have your army eliminate the harvesters and carefully bring your own workers out from their hiding place back in the Grove, and have them get to work with a smelter and stonemason hut of your own. Keep your army close by to beat off regular Dark Elf attacks while you accumulate enough stone to build an HQ and create some crossbowmen and / or soldiers to bring your force up to its initial limit of 30 slots. Whe you're ready, go for the first Dark Elf camp and patiently destroy it; be careful because sometimes some Titans may spawn in its defense and they can require the attention of your whole army. Also, while you are preoccupied with the camp, other Dark Elves can sneak up on your base and try and destroy it so keep an eye out for them ! For reasons that are unclear, for one of my play-throughs of the game, after destroying the first Dark Elf camp, but before taking on the second camp, my troop slot limit was 'magically' lifted(?!) and suddenly I found myself able to create up to 80 troop slots. I have no idea what exactly I did to receive this ability at this point in the game so I can't tell you how to trigger it. But if it does happen, get your army in place near your base and protect it while you go about building up your new force. I found I could sneak some workers to the silver and stone depots near the Journey Stone to the Portal to the Needle and have them collect resources without gaining the attention of the Dark Elves, so exploit this if you want to. Just be sure to have your army near by, because any base you have constructed will be the target of regular enemy forays. You may want to hold off on the assault against the second Dark Elf base until you either have a squad of troops to defend your base while you're away, or a good string of upgraded towers along the periphery of your base. When you're ready for the second camp, cross the bridge and continue moving east, and you'll come upon it; again, keep an eye on your troops and patiently whittle away the Dark Elf buildings, workers, and spellcasters. The destruction of the second camp should eliminate any further attacks on your own base from Dark Elf forces. Now advance up the road on the far eastern border of the map. A force of spellcasters and some gargoyles stands in front of the boulder pile blocking the route north. Draw some of them away to attack your force; after they're eliminated, take out the remnants at the boulders. Watch the cutscene as the treants crush the boulders. Now the way is clear to the northwest and the captive dragon. Invading the Northern Iron Fields Grind up the trail to the NW, with the treants leading so any lurking Shadows can be spotted. There are no Dark Elf camps on this route, just a lot of small forces running aimlessly around the map, or guarding intersections. When you come to a crossroads, if your army is sizeable you can detour to the trail network to the west and deal with some of the stronger Dark Elf forces guarding locations in this area; there really isn't a whole lot of great loot to be had from them, however, so you may want to do it for a bit of XP if not much else. When you've cleaned out the western half of the northern section of the map you can return to the crossroads and then head to the NW. Along the way you'll get a voiceover of Toth Lar whining in fear for his mommy, Sorvina, to come and save him. Head up the trail to the ruins in the far NW corner where a large demon named Golgalath is gloating over the remains of your friends. He will spawn winged demons on a steady basis if you try to peck at him from long range, so gear up with your best spells and make a run at him as soon as you are ready for the showdown. Have everyone pile on him and take him down. This can be a tough fight but with either an army of 35+ or nearly 80, I was able to defeat him (with a bit of a struggle). Ater the cutscene, head to the SE and the Portal to the Gate of the Swords. Talk with Einar, who is standing near the Portal, to get some nice level 20 armor. 14. The Gate of Swords Meet with Chieftan Kor, Pass Through the Gate of the Swords, and Get A Lot of Side Quests After exiting the portal, you may want to have your party take on the nearby dark elf camp alone, or, you can go to the west and see Chieftan Kor at his camp, receive some troops, and eliminate the dark elves with their assistance. In any event, don't spend a lot of time building up a big orc army of any kind. [NOTE: some players (MeowPfft) have reported that if they constructed some buildings of their own here in the eastern half of the Gate of Swords map, when later in the game they return here to search for the 'Black Legion Armor' sidequest, the presence of their buildings can hamper their search. So be aware of this potential problem !] Wipe out the dark elf camp, kill a clay golem in the field nearby, and eliminate the dark elves scattered elsewhere around the map for random loot. Check Kor's camp for a chest or two as well. [Get familiar with this region of the map because later in the game you will be searching all the nooks and crannies for special side quest items]. Once the area is cleaned out, with Kor in your party, approach the Gates. After the cutscene, follow him into the Orc camp and speak with the orc leader, the Iron Lord. You'll have to redeem Kor's defeat at the Bulwark by fighting on his behalf against the dark elves, before the orc leader will consent to aid your battle against Sorvina. Speak with Nightsong to get a side quest about her mourning her dead father. Elsewhere on the map is a encampment established by the Grey Family, from way back in the Rushwater Downs map, where Letho Grey exited the map concerned about a deadly curse on the Grey family. Near to the Greys is a camp of Free Traders; Nightsong suggests the traders may have some arcane knowledge about how to visualize the Shadows. Go see Zanza of the Traders; she will only help if you rescue her brother, Mordecay, the mercenary from the Bulwark battle, from his lethal punishment at the hands of the Iron Lord of the orcs. Go see the Iron Lord; Mordecay's mutilated corpse is lying in the circle in his camp. Revive Mordecay and he'll join your party as an archer. [If you prefer, be sure to de-select "Automatic" for Mordecays' leveling stats]. Return to a grateful Zanza and she'll tell you to talk to the Messenger idling in the Free Trader camp. The messenger is a Rune Warrior (from the Shadow of the Phoenix expansion pack ?) who has retired from adventuring; he has no Shadow Ring but says there must be one around someplace for the taking. Also hanging out with the Free Traders is Professor Twiddle's assistant Lela, whom you rescued from Underhall. It seems the Professor has gone off looking for explosive powder in Dr Mauser's remote sanctum near the Fireforge; tell Lela you will look for him, to get a side quest. Now investigate the Grey family. Turns out the curse they are afflicted with is about to come due, and each of the five of them wants a last-minute chance to seek forgiveness, or obtain a worldly good. Letho wants you to give his apologies to Kara, Warrad's daughter in the Westguard, and to a farmer in the fields outside Sevenkeeps. Myra Grey wants what seems like several hundred paintings of colorful scenery around the world of Spellforce 2. Nyano wants some dwarven brandy, and Dario wants something delivered to Marcus, a trader in Sevenkeeps. Sara Grey is less resigned to being taken by the Fire Lord, and wants you to get her some magnet stone, which she can forge into a sword with which to combat the Lord. Also talk with the blacksmith Morca; he will tell you how to get a suit of valuable Black Legion armor should you find yourself in the presence of battlefield ghosts of the Legion. Finally, Undar of the Black Fangs is less than thrilled with the idea of a human leading his unit to redemption; he'll recommend you fight in the Arena to build your rep in the eyes of the Fangs. After speaking with you he'll stride over to the Arena to see you fight. If you do decide to fight in the Arena, note that you can take your party into the Arena with you, and you'll certainly need to do so, as you'll be battling successive groups of ever higher-level orcs. The first two matches in the Cycle of Tests are tough, and you'll have Lya and Shea die almost immediately, but you can win OK. The third Test is much harder and you'll probably want to hold off until later in the game when you've leveled up some more. But speak with Undar after winning two Tests, and he'll let on that you can help redeem the Black Fangs by bringing him the head of LaKash of the Storm Blades. LaKash is indicated on the minimap, not far from the main Iron Lord camp; he is a level 23 warrior with a level 21 wolf at his side, but if you gang up on him with your party, you should be able to handle him easily. Take his head ('cannot be sold' !) back to Undar for some XP. Undar will tell you once you arrive in Uram Gor there are two more Storm Blade foes to decapitate: Orog and Tzang. Now go see Chieftan Kor at the Black Fangs camp about getting your hands on a Shadow Ring. He says the Oracle in the far West may be able to help, but the Oracle only appears once a year to answer just one question. You'll need to have him and some orcs accompany your party to the Oracle because of marauding skeletons. Contesting for the Favor of the Oracle Along with Kor you'll have a few orcs, but you'll be unable to create a base and get more troops, so exercise caution as you journey to the Oracle. There are bands of skeletons and frenzies around, and some of these groups are quite tough, so avoid them, or else try to lure small batches of them away for easier kills. When you get to the summit of the mountain the Oracle is located atop, take a moment to scout out the trails on the peak. You will see some 'gear' icons at three locations close to the Oracle's shrine; note their location. Save the game, then approach the Oracle. You'll trigger a cutscene in which Mardrag intends to compete with you for the Oracle's favor; the one who can gather the most wild flowers and return them to the Oracle will win the right to ask the One Question. After the cutscene your party will be attacked by Mardrag and some of his allies. Kill them and you'll have the mountain and the flowers- which are represented by the gear icons- to yourself. The flowers are guarded by skeleton archers that shouldn't be too hard to eliminate. Grab three flowers (I suspect even one will be fine ?) and return to the Oracle. The Oracle will then reveal that you must travel thru Uram Gor to the Fireforge and create a new Shadow Ring. The Portal to Uram Gor now will be activated in the south of the map. Side Quests for Experience Points You can go to Uram Gor if you like, but now is a good time to run thru some side quests and earn some XP, and maybe achieve level 20, right as you begin mixing it up with all the Undead harming property values in Uram Gor. First, go to the Orc shrine near the Iron Lord's camp and watch the cutscene as your avatar and party witness Nightsong's remembrance of her father. Nightsong will not be available as a party member for a long while after this, you'll still be stuck with Kor, but you will get 300 XP. Now travel to the Westguard, talk with Kara, and get some XP for part of the side quest for Letho Grey. Now to The Needle and the Rampart Journey Stone. The scene that Myra Grey wants painted is indicated on the minimap by a yellow diamond; on the game map it's represented by a flashing 'target' symbol. Trails to the Needle that were closed off on the earlier Needle mission are now open, so run up to the spot and trigger a voiceover from your avatar indicating the painting has been done. Now head to Sevenkeeps for more Grey family side quests. Choose The Silent Glade as your teleport destination and quickly paint a scene for Myra Grey. Next teleport to The Northern Gate and talk with the hermit standing close by to fulfill the Letho Grey quests. Finally, head to the Trader's area and talk with Trader Marcus. He is less than pleased to receive his possessions from Dario Grey and you'll actually have to kill Marcus - ! To round out the trip, teleport to Rushwater Downs and paint the Grey's House. Now return to the Gate of Swords and The Free Trader's Camp. Talk with both Letho and Dario to get 300 XP each and some nice, higher-level weapons you probably may not be able to use yet. You should be quite a bit closer to leveling up now. And, since you can finish the Grey family quests while in Uram Gor and the Fireforge, this is as good a time as any to head to the Uram Gor Portal in the SW of the map. 15. Uram Gor The Gauntlet of the Undead and the Dwarf Circles After you arrive at this map it's a good idea to arm your party with weapons with effectiveness against the Undead; if you've done the sidequest to have Jandrim make the Lightfist weapon for you, it comes in handy in this level. You will have to engage in a lot of hack and slash in Uram Gor, particularly if you intend to eliminate all Undead forces from the city, as opposed to just trying to get access to the Portal to the Firefangs. Once the cutscene ends you'll be advised to make your way thru the ruins of the city to the Gate of the Nameless, where your workers can create a base and you can get an army up and running. Group all your units together and head into the city. You'll see a gauntlet of glowing touchpads embedded in the street that, when stepped on, spawn ghosts that attack your party. So have your group run straight over the pads, don't stop to fight, and station everyone on the glowing pink 'Dwarf Circle' at the end of the passageway; this will deter the ghosts. The ruined city around you is large and chock-full of ghosts and skeletons, and some decent (high level) loot. Unfortunately, while the Gate is seemingly close by on the minimap, the path leading there will take you a long way north and then south, thru all the patrols and camps of the Undead. Phenomic intends the player to 'hop' from one Dwarf Circle to another in order to survive the journey, but it's not that easy...the dwarf workers are vulnerable to attack while in transit, and there are LOTS and LOTS of skeletons in between each circle. Also, the quirks of pathfinding mean that sometimes one or more of your party gets stuck running in place and becomes a casualty very quickly. Then, once you do reach the Gate of the Nameless and try to set up camp, things will change quite a bit... There are two approaches here. In one approach, you can try your luck in 'running the gauntlet' and getting at least one orc worker alive and well to the Dwarf Circle at the Gate of the Nameless, build up a base, deal with the journey to the Portal to the Firefangs, and then turn your attention to mopping up the city of all the plentiful Undead, if you so desire. In another approach, you can Hold the Orc workers at the first Dwarf Circle, and then send your avatar and heroes (and the two Orc archers) out to cleanse the route to the Gate of the Nameless of all Undead. This entails hacking and slashing a LOT of skeletons and ghosts and many of the buildings that spawn them, which is quite tedious. However, it does mean that when you do decide to bring the Orc workers to the final Circle at the Gate, there will be few (if any) skeletons or ghosts en route to mess with them. It also means that you'll have a little easier time of eliminating all the Undead from Uram Gor later in the mission, if you decide you want to do this. Whatever strategy you choose, it's a good idea to leave the Orc workers behind at the very first Dwarf Circle, and have your party do a run-through of the route to the final Circle at the Gate of the Nameless. This is a useful way to learn the location of the Circles en route (they will not be indicted on your minimap) and it will let you have an idea of where to stop and heal up. Once you've got the route down, send your party back to where you stashed the Orc workers. If you have the ability to cast Chromatic Shield on one or two workers, that helps. Have everyone take off on the trip from one successive Circle to the next, QuickSave often, and you should get to the final Circle with at least one worker alive. The Uram Gor Side Quests: Aonir's Eyes and the Head of Tzang Whether you do these side quests en route to the final Circle at the Gate, or you decide to come back to them later in the mission when you have a sizeable Orc army to help you out, is up to the player. Naturally, having an army with you makes things a bit easier. There are colored emblems embedded in the ground at numerous locations in the city. If you click on the ones with gravestones sticking up from them, you'll get messages relating to a side quest to replace the lost gems serving as eyes in a statue of Aonir, located in the north portion of the map. Other embedded symbols have items and loot. The Eyes are held by what are called 'Wild Ghouls' stationed in out-of-the-way nooks and platforms, so look carefully for these places. Work your way north and you'll eventually get to the statue of Aonir. Place the eyes in it, and you'll trigger a voiceover that the Curse of Uram Gor is lifted. This is not all that exciting, because while the ghosts stop spawning, the skeletons littering the map are still in place. Explore the northern area of the map; note that in the NW is a very large Undead camp; its gates will open after you activate the Gate of the Nameless (below) so depending on where you are in the mission, this area may or may not be accessible. As you go more or less directly north, close by the Journey Stone of the Burning Town, you'll trigger a spawning of Tzang, the Orc from the Storm Blades; kill him, and be sure to pick up his head and a portal stone. In the nooks and alleys nearby are lots of skeletons and buildings, so wipe them all out and loot the chests for nice armor and weapons. Near the spot where Tzang materialized you'll now notice a glowing circle set into the pavement; if your avatar steps into it he or she will be teleported to an otherwise inaccessible dais in the NW corner of the map where Tzang's friend Orog is stationed. Depending on the spells and skills available to yur party, taking down Orog can be a tough fight, even for a level 20 avatar and associated heroes, so you may want to hold off for now. [If you want to go for him anyways, at the end of this Uram Gor walkthrough I've got a section on killing Orog.] Once the north is cleared, hack and slash your way south towards the Gate. Smash any skeleton camps you can find, and when you reach the Gate, note the location of the dwarf circle near the entrance. Be sure to loot the chest near the Gate, atop a ruined bridge; it contains the dwarven brandy requested by Nyano Grey. Regardless of whether you decided to simply make a run for the Circle at the Gate of the Nameless with the Orc workers, and then do the RTS segment, or first decided to wipe out the Undead camps along the route so your trip with the workers was much less stressful, when you get to the Gate area the second half of the mission starts. So station Kor, your avatar, and at least one worker in the dwarf circle at the Gate and watch the cutscene. Second Half of Uram Gor: Defend Your Base So now the map is re-filled with enemies, and you have to do some serious RTS gameplay. Take a deep breath and remember to Save often ! Now there is a large skeleton camp in the NW, up the path near the statue of Aonir, previously blocked by a closed gate...now open. Although the camp spawns undead attackers, ignore it for now. There is another skeleton camp in the east-central part of the map, with lots of Pain Towers defending it; and finally, there are sizeable enemies in the SE portion of the map, including multiple Chaos Nodes, that steadily spawn Fire Elementals, indicated by yellow 'target' circles on the minimap. In the far southeastern region of the map is the temple where the Lord Steward is hiding, and the Portal to the Firefangs is located. You'll need to build an army, including orc shamans, and wipe out all the demons in the SE portion of the map, then you can turn your attention to the skeleton camps elsewhere in Uram Gor. Attackers will soon come from the northern approach to the Gate, and a little later, from the eastern approach to the Gate. The attacks from the northern enemy camps will be the most intense, so for the time being, place your party a little ways to the north of the Journey Stone of the Gate of the Nameless, and get to work on your base. Note that you have plenty of resources, (there are no stone, silver, or lenya deposits near the Gate anyways), and you have the freedom to site your base where you like. I actually got away with placing mine just south of the Journey Stone of the Gate of the Namelesss, where there is an abandoned Dwarf mine located on a 'U' shaped section of trail. Room here is scarce but it's easily defensible with towers, and you can even sneak 2 - 3 farms up on the promenade to the east (I never had any attackers come up in this area). Regardless of where you set up your base, be aware that it will be under steady attack from both Undead in the city, and fire elementals from the area to the southeast, for quite a while until you start to eliminate the enemy spawning points. Get 9 - 10 towers, with the fire upgrade, positioned in front of your base before you assemble troops to go take on the Lord Steward and the Portal to the Firefangs in the SE. You don't need a particularly large force for this task; get together some Shamans, archers, and mercenaries as you prefer (the Shamans are expensive and take up two slots but you'll need at least 5 or 6 of them). I got by with a total force of 25 troop slots, including my party, and I fed replacements into my army as needed. Eliminating the Enemy Camps in the Southeast March your army out the eastern part of the Gate. Have your party lead the way and soak up the attacks of the oncoming fire elementals. Be careful that the Shamans, who are mounted, don't trot out ahead of the rest of the party and get chopped down. You'll hear a voiceover from Malacay as you approach the Chaos Nodes, which look like giant, ebony African statues. While your party deals with the elementals, have the archers and shamans destroy the Nodes. When a Node goes down, to add to your headaches, it will spawn a batch of gargoyles. Keep the shamans away from them, and have your party and your archers kill the gargoyles. Now it's basically lather, rinse, repeat. Inch your way along the labyrinth of trails among the lava and take down each Node in turn. Periodically hold your force in place at a wide space on the trail, and turn your attention back to your base and its defense and make sure nothing disastrous is happening behind your back. After you take down the first two or three Nodes the assaults on your base by the fire elementals should lessen a bit, but the undead from the camp in the NW will still be coming at you, so make sure the towers stay up, and you repair them with Orc workers. Patiently create archers and shamans to replace losses suffered in your attacks on the Nodes, then move forward to the next Node in line. When you destroy the last of the Chaos Nodes you'll get a voiceover from the Lord Steward, and spawning of the fire elementals here in the SE will stop. Head for the temple in the SE, where the Lord Steward is lurking protected by Slithering Terrors. The Terrors are no match for your army, so chop them all up and kill the Steward to activate the portal to the Fireforge located on the temple grounds. The Steward will drop The Book of the Lord Steward, which is needed for the Cultist side quest 'The Fruits of Mercy'. (The other book in this side quest is the Book of the Red Horde at the University in Sevenkeeps). Mopping Up Uram Gor You'll need to devote quite a bit of time to the task of getting rid of the large number of Undead that have spawned since you activated the Gate of the Nameless. There's no ideal way to proceed with the mopping up, just be sure to destroy the buildings spawning the Undead, and explore the narrow stairways and passages for chests. The large Undead camp in the NW has some loot on the walkways overlooking the flat area where the base is located. If you haven't already done the Orog side quest, which is located in this general area, you can do it now, as well as solving the 'Aonir's Eyes' side quest (see above). When you're finished taking down the big Undead camp in the NW, have some workers build some orc towers near the entrance to the campsite, and maybe leave three archers there, so lone skeleton workers can't sneak in and start rebuilding the camp while you're busy elsewhere on the map. The skeleton camp in the east-central part of the map has lots of pain towers; have your party knock them down at first, otherwise your orcs will suffer. Once you get some space cleared out, you can have the archers and shamans whittle away the buildings. As with the other undead camp, be sure to explore the area for chests; one will contain the Whisper Stone needed for a side quest. [By the time the Uram Gor level was finished my avatar was close to level 21. ] The Battle for Orog's Head If you're ready and able to take Orog's head, here's how to do it. Travel to the 'Burning Towns' Journey Stone in Uram Gor and approach the nearby portal to Orog's lair (which, you remember, is created by killing Tzang, who was lurking in this area). Make sure you have fire resistance rings, armor, a shield, and two, if not more, healing spells in your spellbook - Benefactions and Greater Healing will be very useful. It also doesn't hurt if you have an intact Altar of Life sited here in the Uram Gor map, and some lenya in the bank. Do a Save game if you want, then step into the Portal. Get busy summoning your heroes to join you as soon as you arrive. In Orog's lair are four Elemental Fire Nodes, from which he draws his power and summons mobs of fire elementals. Ignore the elementals and instead concentrate on destroying each Node. Reserve your mana for your healing spells because along with the elementals beating on you, Orog will launch fireballs at you as well. If your avatar or a hero dies at any point, have him or her respawn at the Altar of Life (it will cost you lenya) and then travel back to the portal to Orog's lair and resume the contest. After the four Nodes are eliminated, continue to ignore the elementals and go for Orog. It will be a tough contest, for a level 14 enemy he is not easy to kill, but you should hopefully take him down before the elementals kill any party members. When Orog dies the elementals die too. Spellforce 2 player Philip Fu emails with his strategy for taking on Orog: "I managed to defeat him in around 5 seconds and my party members barely got hurt by the end of the battle. The key skill used here is mighty blow. This skill is devastating when used consecutively (by this I mean VERY close together so the target won't even have time to react and heal) by party members that has it....You'll want to make sure that your avatar initiates the attack on Orog...Instead of going for the nodes first, I just targeted Orog....This strategy might take you a few tries to beat him, but I think it's worth it because it makes the fight literally quick and painless! Grab Orog's head and transport it back to Undar near the Fighting Grounds in the Gate of Swords to get some XP, and orders to kill the remaining two Blades, Itza and Shar, on upcoming maps. When you've completed things in Uram Gor and you're ready to go on to the next level, head for the portal to the Fireforge in the temple to the SE, and step through. 16. Firefangs (Fireforge) Fireforge: Defending the Barbarian Camp The initial stages of this mission can be a challenge, so remember to save often. First, you may want to switch your weapons from those directed against fire creatures, to beasts. Then head up the trail to the barbarian camp and talk with Vlad. After the cutscene you'll see that there are two large enemy camps on the map, to the west and the east, indicated by yellow icons on your minimap. The other two portions of the key to the Fireforge are located in those camps. You'll need to assemble a large army and invade each camp and retrieve the keys from the beasts. Then you can march on the abandoned dwarf village to the north of your base, through which you can gain access to the Fireforge, which is located in the center of the map. As soon as your workers spawn, get them busy erecting a smelter and a stonemason hut. Divide up the axemen at each of the camp's two entrances, for convenience we will call them the 'east ' and 'west' entrances. Station your party in the middle of the camp and send them wherever attacks take place. You won't have a whole lot of time to assemble a good defense, before very strong parties of enemy attackers will be coming for each of the camp's two entrances. To make things harder, there are limited resources in-camp, so you'll need to maximize your resource gathering. There is a small plateau just to the NE of the east entrance with some stone deposits, so sneak a party of workers up there and build a stonemason and start augmenting the stone reserves in the camp. With some luck the beasts won't stumble upon the covert stone gatherers, but until then, let them collect as much as they can. Get 7 - 8 towers built at the eastern entrance ASAP and spend the stone and silver and lenya to upgrade them with barbarian and orc features. Small groups of beasts will be attacking the entrances by now, so get your party in place to help repel the assaults. When you have about 9 - 10 archers created, station them among the towers at the eastern entrance to you base and Hold them (H key). The get together a force of your party and orc, or barbarian, troops (as you prefer); 25 or more slots should be good enough. This will be the force you use to eliminate the beast camp in the west. Also have 5 -6 orc workers standing by. Destroying the Western Camp Have your force head out on the trail leading west. Whenever you run into groups of beastmen and rock towers stop in place and wipe them out. Use the 'hold' key so your troops stay bunched. The parties coming down the trail to attack your base will be large and powerful, so be sure to create replacement troops on a regular basis, and send them up the trail to reinforce your dwindling army. Just outside the west entrance to your base is a patch of silver; send some workers to exploit it. As long as you have your army bearing westwards to the beast camp, they will be unable to send troops down the trail to attack your base, so the workers will be safe. Patiently advance up the path until you reach the beast camp. Lure the enemy troops out from the camp and try and fight them beyond the range of the rock towers. When you've whittled the attackers away, take down the towers and then move into the entrance of the camp, but not too much farther. While this is going on, you will be faced with periodic attacks by lots of beastmen and harpies on the eastern entrance to your base. Keep your archers (or axemen) stationed among the towers for protection, and just ride out these powerful assaults. You may lose two or even more towers after each attack, but have your workers get busy with erecting replacements. Keep cranking out farms and upgrading the size of your army, and send the new troops to assist in the defense. Back in the west, have your army focus on the beast workers and buildings just inside the camp entrance. Once the buildings there are gone, move further into the camp and deal with any beastmen and beast queens. Once they're defeated, start in on leveling the structures and killing the beast workers. Your attack force may be down to 20 or less, total, but that's enough to wipe out the camp. Be sure to pick up the dropped key from the dead beast queen. Your avatar might reach level 21 by the time the camp is destroyed, if so, definitely take immediate advantage of the leveling up to make him or her more powerful in melee combat or area-effect spells. By now resources in your camp may be getting low, so send a batch of workers up to the cleared-out camp to start harvesting the stone and silver for your own use. There are some level 22 Stormrider Giants lurking on the trails south of the path leading to the western camp, and they will sometimes ambush your workers en route to the new camp. So, on your way back to your base, make a detour and wipe out the Giants, and get some nice loot from the chest in their camp. Alternatively, you can wait until later in the mission, when you have a more powerful force at your disposal, to deal with the Giants; it's up to you. Now have your army return to your Barbarian camp, and make plans to eliminate the beast outposts in the east of the map. Taking On the Beast Camp in the East Use your army to aid in the defense of the eastern approach while you create more farms and produce more troops. You should be able to field a total force of 60 or more with the resources now available in the former western camp of the beasts . March your army out on the eastern trail from your base, and head up slightly northeast towards the remaining beast camp. There are some guard outposts along the way that you shouldn't have any trouble crushing. En route you may run into a big party on its way to attack your base, so hold your ground and wipe them out. On a small plateau off the main trail is a lenya field guarded by some snow cats, eliminate them if you desire. Hold up in front of the eastern camp, bring up reinforcements, and try and lure the enemy out and chop them up. Then cautiously go into the camp and keep an eye on your troops. There will be some groups of beast men and beast queens scattered around, so deal with them first, and then methodically destroy the buildings. A high-level beast named Wart Skin will drop the second part of the key you need to open the gate to the dwarf village in the north, and thus gain access to the Fireforge. When you've leveled the east camp, that's it for assaults on your base. You can now relax, build a huge army, and bring Real Pain to all the enemies remaining on the map ! But first, head southeast away from the east camp, along the trail edging the eastern border of the map. You'll eventually come to a small plateau where a set of wolves guards a corpse and a stone with a "?" associated with it. Make sure you have a force of at least 40 here. Kill the wolves and loot the corpse, it will have a Stone of Eternal Fire that will come in handy on a future side quest. Now activate the nearby stone and plunge Morca's sword into it. This will immediately spawn a batch of ghost legionnaires. As soon as you kill them all, another set will materialize, and then another. Needless to say this is a tough battle and when it ended I was down to less than 20 people in my army. A lone legionnaire ghost will be left; talk to him and get an Old Orc Helmet and instructions to return and talk to Morca in the Gate of Swords. Now it's time to return to the area around your base and prepare for the invasion of the Fireforge. Attack in the Abandoned Dwarf Village Amass an army of 60 or more, featuring archers, mercenaries, and axemen. Take the trail leading north from your base. At the front of the closed gate to the dwarf village are a rock towers and three beasts, you can easily eliminate them. Vlad will appear; give him the two keys in your possession and the gate will open. There are groups of level 20 and level 22 beasts inside, but with so large an army you should be able to wipe them all out without too much difficulty. As you work your way thru this area, and succeeding parts of this level, be sure to thoroughly check chests and corpses for loot; some of these items later will be necessary to work the Forge and obtain a new ring. A good rule of thumb is, pick up anything lying on the ground whether it has 'sale' value or not. Some of these chests or mineral deposits (marked by 'gear' symbols) can be obscured by objects intervening with your avatar's line-of- sight, so work the camera angle if necessary I went to the western side of the village first, but didn't go for the gate guarded by the fire elementals. Instead, after clearing the beasts, I went to the eastern side of the village, cleaned it out, and then headed up the paved road into the vestibule of the Fireforge. On a small platform you will encounter a Silver Wolf. Make inquiries and you'll discover it's our old friend Professor Twiddle, enchanted by one of Mauser's traps. There are seven levers surrounding him that must all be put into an upright position. Twiddle figures in a number of upcoming side quests so it's worth the aggravation to solve this puzzle. I have no idea exactly how I did this, but I do know that I tried to get the four levers on one side up first, then I randomly messed with the three on the other side of Dr Twiddle, until I had all seven upright. You'll get some XP, and Twiddle will ask you to see him back at the Gate of Swords with the Stone of Eternal Fire in your possession. Bring up 10 - 15 free workers and have them erect some troop-spawning buildings in this area so your reinforcements will be close at hand, then proceed on into the vestibule of the Forge. There are squads of beasts and raptors that will drop nice weapons, so mow them all down; by this time my troop quantities had maxed out at 70, so this was no trouble at all. On the stairs in the vestibule of the Forge is a small group of beasts led by Ulkmar Whipcracker, and the Ghost of the Forge. Kill the beasts and loot their corpses but don't talk to the Ghost just yet. Head on thru to the other entrance to the Forge area, and take down some Fire Golems guarding the spot where you can paint a scene of the Fireforge for the side quest for Myra Grey. Proceed thru the remaining area of the dwarf village, taking down golems and fire elementals, and some of them will have items related to side quests. When you've finished killing off the last enemy soldier, go back to the stairs and talk with the Ghost of the Forge. Forging the New Shadow Ring You'll find your avatar and party teleported into the Forge proper, a large pit in the center of the map. The ghost will tell you to find a Volcano Hammer in order to open the gate to the Forge, so battle the nearby Fire Elementals hiding in the wooden-wall alcoves, find the Hammer, and clean it using the nearby water fountain. Check the chests in this area for items needed for forging a new shadow ring. Take out the two Fire Golems guarding the gate to the Forge, use the Hammer to open the gate, and walk into the circular area housing the Forge. The Ghost will complain that the Forge is unlit; only something 'very hot' can re-start it. Dutifully march up each of the three ramps around the perimeter of the circle and wipe out the Fire Elementals stationed there, one of which at each ramp carries a Heat fragment. These are tough fights, so be prepared to resurrect one or two fallen party members with each encounter. The final batch of Elementals will be located in the center of the circle, so after they are dealt with you should have the required 4 fragments of Heat. Go to the Forge's anvil and feed the four heat fragments into it. Now talk to the Ghost and learn you'll have to manipulate the three jets of the forge flames so that all eject a yellow flame. Naturally, this means another lever-pushing puzzle. If you return to the Ghost after a half- hearted try, he'll give you a hint that all flames should be turned to the lowest heat; then raise one to white heat, another to green, and the third to red; this will trigger them all to turn yellow and solve the puzzle. Much like the puzzle with Professor Twiddle as the Silver Wolf I can't recall exactly what I did, but I messed with the levers only a short time until I succeeded in getting all three flames yellow. [Spellforce 2 player Michael Perry emails with this advice: After all the flames are changed to red pull the first lever 4 times Second lever pull twice Third lever pull once ] There's one last hoop to jump thru in order to forge the ring: talk to the Ghost and make sure you have the two splinters each of iron and moonsilver; the Volcano Hammer; the Truthsight Scroll; and an Arcane Catalyst, all items dropped by Golems, or available as mineral deposits, in the Dwarf Town, or found here within the Forge (in the chests which are located in the wooden-wall alcoves the fire elementals were occupying). If you are short an item, use the map (M key) to teleport to wherever it is you need to be to find it, then teleport back to the Forge. Now you can interact with the Forge and create a new Shadow Ring. Watch the cutscene and head back to the Gate of Swords (use the M key, select the Gate of Swords 'island', and then the Free Trader's campsite Journey Stone, as your destination) to continue the main storyline. 17. The Gate of Swords Back to the Gate of Swords The newly forged Shadow Ring will appear in your inventory, so be sure to have your avatar put it on. There are a bunch of things to do here. First you'll want to finish some side quests and get the XP that can push you to level 22 (if you're not there already). Go talk to Morca about the Old Orc Helmet you recovered from the Fireforge map; he'll clean it up and return it to you. More loot from the Legion can be found but since it's underground you'll need a magical 'Iron Detector' to find it, so keep an eye out for this side quest item. Now trot over to the Free Trader's camp where Lela is admonishing Professor Twiddle for getting into danger again. Talk with the Professor, and give him the Stone of Eternal Fire from the Fireforge map, to get some XP and a new side quest to find him two Magnet Stones. You will want to sell some of your excess inventory to the Traders while at this camp. Walk over to the Grey family and give Nyano his dwarven brandy from Uram Gor; he will reward you with a bow and some XP. Now go to the tree where the Shadow Warrior is waiting and talk with him. Make sure ONLY YOUR AVATAR speaks with the Warrior, so have your party members stationed at a distance, or he won't talk with you. It seems that to break the hold Sorvina has on the Shadows you will need to recover a mirror from a Crater where a meteorite, called the ‘Black Star’, once fell. There are magical enchantments on the Crater that make it difficult to find; the Shadow advises you to consult with someone about how best to locate it. Go talk to Zanza next, and she will tell you about the Library of Memories in the southwest area of the map; "it comes to you, rather than you looking for it" (or some kind of zen-style nonsense). Anyways, you'll see that a number of white icons have sprouted on the minimap. Assemble your party (note that Kor has dropped out and Nightsong is still inactive, so you're now at your avatar and 5 NPCs) and make your way to the southwest portion of the map. The Librarian of Memories and the Portal to the Magnet Stones As you make your way to the southwest you'll see that the new icons on the minimap represent Lost Souls; ignore them for now. Note that in the southern portion of the map a number of loot drops should have spawned; these loot drops consist of a "Memory of a Sword", or a "Memory of a Bow", "Memory of a Goblet", etc. Collect these in your inventory. The Librarian to whom you must talk is atop a hill in this area, and the path to him is blocked by Sharduk (level 20) and six orcs. Dispose of them and head up the trail and talk to the Librarian. After the cutscene, you will need to head to the lake in the south portion of the map to find the Portal to the Magnet Stones. Make your way back down the trail and to the southern part of the map. Now, when you see a Lost Soul, enter into a dialogue with them and give them either the Memory of a Bow or the Memory of a Sword, etc. and they will now join your party as a warrior, archer, or mage. There are 'bad memories' now scattered around the map, and having extra party members makes fighting them easier. Depending on the difficulty level, there are 5 - 8 Souls you can convert to your Party, which makes up for losing Kor and Nightsong. Having these Ghosts in your Party will be very helpful; if you convert some to Healing Mages, all the more so. Enter the paths that wind through the Lake and be sure to loot the chests. As you get deeper into the Lake, slow down and be very careful. Blocking the trail to the Portal to the Magnet Stones is a formidable force of several Cruel Memories of level 20 and above, and a Mist Dragon of level 24 that shoots fireballs that give severe, sustained damage. This is the hardest fight of the game so far. It's a little easier if you have all Souls to assist you. Try to lure one or two Cruel Memories away from the dragon and wipe them out. You'll probably lose at least one or two party members doing this, so resurrect them and heal them out of range of the dragon. Be sure to Save often and use the 'hold' key to prevent party members from running off on their own on suicide attacks. When it's just the dragon and one or two evil memories left to confront, have everyone in your party switch to a ranged weapons (the flying dragon cannot be hit by melee weapons) and trigger all your defensive spells, and go for the dragon. Try and have Lya stationed a little ways off from the conflict and hold her in place to deliver healing spells from her staff, while your other party members do battle with the dragon. You may wind up with only two party members surviving, but it's all you need to resurrect the fallen and prevent the game ending (if everyone is dead, you may be able to go with the Altar of Life reviving scheme). Killing the dragon nets you a whopping 3000 XP. Step thru the Portal to the Magnet Stones when you're ready. 18. The Magnet Stones The Magnet Stones: Defending Ardar's Base After the cutscene, group your party and the accompanying Black Fangs (where were they when you had to fight the Mist Dragon ?!) and help Ardar and his army eliminate the skeletons. Then talk to Ardar. He'll cut and run, leaving you with his Troll camp and a bit of resources. This is not an overly difficult map, but you will have to manage resources wisely and put up a good defense until you can get a mob of at least 13 - 16 troll Hurlers together and then take the fight to the enemy. There are not a whole lot of stone and silver in the camp, so you'll have to be shrewd in how you construct buildings and troops. The main attacks on your base will come from the large Bone Fortress in the West; periodically the AI will spawn a sizeable force of skeletons and undead beasts and they'll come for the western entrance to your base. If you encounter them on the trails with anything other than a powerful force of your own, then you'll be doing a lot of reloading of saved games. [Also scattered around the map are Undead outposts, usually protecting the magnet stones that are being mined by special 'mining' skeletons. These outposts will not spawn troops, but killing some of the mining skeletons as they rotate from the outpost back to the Bone Fortress can help cripple the power of the Lord in the Fortress.] First thing to do after the exit of Ardar is to spawn some workers and get them busy harvesting stone. Get another group building a smelter to harvest the silver in your base. And finally, have three workers go out the east entrance to the lenya patch near the riverbank and set up an alchemists' hut. Attacks will rarely come from the eastern side, so you will want to add maybe one or two extra towers at that entrance, just in case. North of your base are some canyons with lizards in them. If you don't get too close to the lizards, they won't bother you for the moment. You'll have to work fast and efficiently here, because you only have a brief period before the big attacks come down the pipe. Send your party and the Black Fangs and the trolls from Ardar out the west entrance, and up the trail to the west. Kill two panthers and take a picture of a magnet stone outcropping for Myra Grey. Go a little further west, and you'll come upon an area where the trail narrows into a canyon with a big rock right in the middle of the path. Station your troops here and as soon as you can, bring 6 workers up the trail to your location. Get them busy erecting towers. If you can apply upgrades to the towers such as the orc and troll upgrades, do so. If you move fast, you should have three or more towers up by the time the first of the attacking forces from the Fortress comes galloping down the trail with every intention of leveling your base. Pull your troops back behind the towers, and let the towers soak up the attack while your troops pick off any skeletons that squeeze thru. You may emerge with no towers left standing, but a good portion of your troops still intact. That's the key to this mission. Have some workers get busy right away replacing the towers to soak up the next wave, while you build up your army. Whittling Away the Undead Outposts to the West By now you should have enough stone and silver harvested to build a farm or two and increase the size of your army. You already have a Troll Lair structure built courtesy of Ardar, so I recommend creating Hurlers and Devastators; just keep in mind they take up multiple slots in your troop counts. Get four or five up to join your force guarding the pass. The second assault of Undead will soon occur, and just ride it out as you did before. This time, as soon as it peters out, send your army- you should have lost just two or three men- on a short walk northeast to the hills above your base. Have them quickly wipe out the lizards in the area, and then get a squad of workers busy building a smelter to harvest the silver on the hillside. Remember to have some workers repairing damage to your towers back 'at the pass' Send your army back to the pass. As you steadily expand the size of your army, send the reinforcements up the trail to help with the defense. You'll probably need to deal with a third assault on the towers guarding the pass. After that, you should have 10 - 12 hurlers and devastators total, plus your party and whatever orcs still survive. It's time to go on the offensive. Move past your defense towers and go due west along the canyon path and you'll come upon a north-south trail. There are nice deposits of stone and silver here, but also enemy troops to the north and south. Check to make sure another Undead attack isn't coming down the trail; if it is, immediately retreat to your towers in the canyon and ride it out there. If the coast looks clear, have your army carefully move down the south segment of the trail, taking down the enemy towers and whatever troops are loitering around the towers. You shouldn't lose too many troops of your own as you go all the way south into a little circular area, and wipe out the Undead outpost there. Heal and regroup, send reinforcements up to join you, and then turn around and head north. Stop a little ways past the stone field, but still south of the silver field, because if they haven't come by already, the regularly scheduled Undead attack force issuing from the Bone Fortress should be coming by now. You should now have a sizeable enough force to take it on and defeat it. Have your army block the trail and get 10 or more workers up to join you. Have them get to work harvesting the nearby stone field. You can also have them build a smelter nearby, and send some workers up the trail a little ways north to collect the silver deposits there. Just don't send them so far north that they get noticed by the enemy forces lurking there and draw an assault. When you've got 30 or more troops of any combination, edge north past the silver deposits. You'll see a large field with what seems to be like 15 or 20 Nightwings, along with some enemy towers, and some lenya shrubs along the field's edges. Patiently take down the towers and the Nightwings. To the west you'll see the front steps to the Fortress. You'll need a pretty strong army to go into the Bone Fortress and clean it out, and then do the 'Mosaic' side quest later in the map, so for now, ease back from the Fortress gate and concentrate on interfering with the movement of the mining skeletons into and out of the fortress. Create and bring up new forces while you do this, and be prepared to wipe out any undead attack force issuing from the gate. Have your Hurlers take down any Nightwings that spawn from the interior of the Fortress. There are still several powerful Undead camps and mining operations in the north of the map, as well as a graveyard in the NW that offers the 'Mosaic' side quest. You can decide to go eliminate them now, or after you deal with the Bone Fortress. They don't spawn troops to attack you, but they do heal the mining skeletons rotating into the Fortress, so it's up to you. There are some nice stone and silver deposits in the northern area, so if you're low on those resources you may want to explore and set up some gathering operations as needed. But the priority is to wipe out the Bone Fortress and access the Portal within it. Assault on the Bone Fortress When I had accumulated 55 - 60 troop slots, and created the orc Titan, it was time to deal with the Bone Fortress. Around this time you may hear the evil mage running the Fortress alter his ongoing complaints about lack of stone, to announce that he has lost all his power for good, and you'll get a message on-screen that the "Magnet Stone" main quest is completed. Wherever you are when this is triggered doesn't matter too much, because you still have to level the Fortress anyways. Go up the front gate, and ignore the Nightwings and instead take down the towers first. Then eliminate the Nightwings. There are large numbers of enemy buildings to tear down as well. As you move further into the Fortress you'll encounter level 22 bone mages, standing on glowing pentagrams on the pavement. Wipe them out and loot the chests they leave behind. Methodically grind your way through the Fortress, dealing with Nightwings and skeletons and towers. When every building is leveled and every skeleton destroyed, the Portal to the Crater will become activated and you should get a nice reward of XP. Be sure to search the Fortress grounds for all the chests and loot; some will contain items for side quests such as the 'singing magnet stone'. Now you can take on the leisure job of wiping out the Undead camps elsewhere on the map, killing Itza, one of the renegade Storm Blade orcs, and doing the 'Mosaic' side quest. Killing Itza and Mopping Up the Magnet Stones Map You can now take your army and go level the Undead camps guarding the magnet stone deposits in the north portion of the map. With a healthy force of trolls you shouldn't have too much trouble wiping out these camps with few casualties. There is some nice loot in the camps, so it's worth the trouble. Be sure to go to the NE, on the hills overlooking your base, and kill any remaining lizards and loot their chests. In the far NE corner, among some mountain lions and lizards, is some nice armor and weapons, so be sure to go up all the trails there. Itza is hiding out here in the Magnet Stones in the northeast part of the map, up some trails in the hills. Itza is level 24, and he has some level 22 sand spiders with him, but they should be no match for your party and your army, so kill him and take his head. Keep an eye on the Fortress; for whatever reason, I actually had a small group of skeletons spawn inside it (despite the absence of buildings) and come after my defenseless workers in my base, so if this happens, be ready to intervene, or else keep your towers up and running along the route to your base. The Mosaic Side Quest When you've cleared the other areas of the map it's time to try the first iterations of the 'Mosaic' side quest. If you've played the other Spellforce games you'll know how this goes: inserting a piece of tile into the damaged mosaic spawns a strong group of skeleton warriors and mages, one of whom drops the Second Fragment, then you insert that into the mosaic to trigger another wave of skeletons, one of whom drops the Third Fragment, etc. You will definitely need your troll or orc army by your side when you do this, and you will lose troops with successive rounds, so make sure you can replace lost troops if needed. [Also here in the graveyard is a chest containing the 'Perfect' Magnet Stone sought by Professor Twiddle back at the Gate of Swords.] I got thru the first three Fragments OK; my trolls could handle the skeletons with the loss of 2 -3 troops at most. However, the insertion of the fourth Fragment spawns the Master of the Mosaic, level 25, and various flavors of level 23 skeletons. The Master will summon replacement skeletons as soon as you kill them, so killing him first is a priority. This can be a tough fight as you may gather, so if you don't succeed at first you can always come back later in the game when your party has leveled up a few more times. Your army should remain intact, if you exit this map and then come back. Whether you elect to finish the Mosaic here and now or later, to continue with the main quest, step through the Portal to the Crater, located within the Bone Fortress. 19. The Crater Gauntlet to the Crater After the cutscene talk to the skeleton standing nearby. He'll cue you in that a zombie tyrannosaur (!) named Grozira (level 30) is loose on the map. This can be one of the more frustrating missions in the game, in my opinion, so be sure to save often. [Remember you can always return to this map later, when your avatar and heroes are more powerful, to loot and plunder regions of the map not vital for completion of the Main Quest.] There are basically three trail networks here on this map, all of which originate near the Portal ruins, and which lead west to various areas of the map. All of these areas are chock-full of monsters of one sort or another. The northernmost trail will lead you west to the rim of the Crater. The central and southern trails lead to lots, and lots, of monsters, and lots of loot. The 'Central' trail, as I shall call it, leads to the central portion of this map, which is crammed with lizards and a large number of their nests, which means that the lizards will spawn readily until you whittle away all the nests. The attraction of the lizard area is that it is filled with chests containing nice, low - to - mid 20s level loot, that are opened using the Star and Skull coins that you've been collecting throughout the game. If you are confident of your party's fighting skills, launching a foray into this area may be feasible, but be warned it can be tough going. The 'Southern' trail network takes you around a lengthy river or reservoir crammed with ridiculous quantities of monsters, and Demon Portals hidden in all sorts of dead-end canyons and cul-de-sacs that spawn these monsters almost as fast as you can kill them. There is a bit less treasure here, but extra coins if you need them. Don't bother even thinking about trying to access this area right now. Even in the patched version of the game the monsters here spawn continuously, so there is no way you can ever permanently 'clear' the area, and furthermore, you get no XP from killing the monsters anyways. There is a bit of loot here and that's all the southern portion of the Crater map can offer you for your trouble. If on any of these trails you should encounter Grozira, run far enough, for long enough, and he'll give up the chase. He regularly patrols all the trails around the Crater, and you can usually see him coming up the trail before he sees you. One thing you want to avoid is running away from him up unexplored trails; you are very liable to encounter some skeletons or elementals who will slow you down enough for Grozira to start dining on your party members. You can try hiding from Grozira behind buildings. Just make sure your party members armed with ranged weapons don't have a line-of-sight to him, otherwise they'll launch an arrow and give away your position-- time for a save game reload ! I should note that in the Forums more than a few players- such as BlankDots- have stated that they were able to kill Grozira with their party: "When my avatar was 24, party was lvl 19. I lured the T Rex and 2 of his cronies back to the altar of life. Here, where there were no other oppnents to spawn and attack u. I killed off his 2 cronies ( a demon and a lizard). At this point i was able to kill Gorziva relatively easily. Took me about 1-2 minutes. With chromatic shielding and greater heal, it was just a matter of time." Spellforce 2 player N1GHTHAUNTER has this to say: "It takes a while to knock its health down and you want at least one healer but none of my party 'died' and my avatar was still lvl24" And player Ksenia says: "i was actually able to kill him. I had maybe two characters survive, but that was enough to use the Shaikan spell and resurrect them, and no longer have the need to live in fear :).. By that point my avatar was level 23-24, i think" So if your avatar is level 24 you may want to decide to take on Grozira, rather than running from him - it's up to you ! Before setting out, be sure to note the location of the Altar of Life near the Journey Stone in the ruins; this is one mission where it will be quite useful. It has 1000 lenya, and the cost to resurrect a party member is 250 lenya, so you can revive a maximum of 4 party members using this Altar. Your avatar will cost 500 lenya to revive at the Altar. Whether it's avatar or heroes, remember this feature of this mission ! Move west on the Northern trail; you'll quickly run into small parties of skeletons, so wipe them out. In the middle of these battles, always keep an eye out for Grozira; if he's coming towards you, break off the fight and run for your life. Also, do Hard Saves often ! After every minor battle or skirmish. So if you do get wiped out by skeletons or Grozira (or both) you can restart at a convenient location. As you get closer to the Crater you'll run into skeleton camps. Try to avoid these if possible, but if you do have to fight, don't bother eliminating the buildings. They can be handy to hide behind in case Grozira comes sniffing around. At around the 1 o'clock mark on the Crater's rim is a very large skeleton camp. Try running past it and curving to the NW; smaller numbers of skeletons will pursue you, halt and destroy them. Then go back towards the camp and kill the remaining skeletons. Avoid the Pain Towers, and proceed down the trail, around the rim, in a clockwise direction. Destroying the Bone Wall in the Crater When you reach about the 5 o'clock point of the rim of the Crater you'll see a Demon Portal guarded by two slinkers; kill them and then destroy the Portal close by without alerting the nearby harpies and slinkers. Then go after the other harpies and slinkers located just a short way down the trail. You'll want this area cleared of all enemies. Just a short distance past the location of the since-destroyed Demon Portal is a trail leading down into the Crater; move onto it and stop beside the Journey Stone so it can be activated. Take a moment to see that all your party members are equipped with as many high-level healing spells as they can cast: Mend, Greater Healing, and Benedictions, for example. Equip Lya with a healing wand if she doesn't already have one (and maybe Shea too). Save the game, then march down into the Crater. Once you go further down the trail to the Crater you will trigger a cutscene, and then Naugron will begin hitting your party with 'Bone Rain' and sending constantly-spawning frenzies after you. Do a Hard Save immediately after the cutscene. What you have to do is keep your party running to each of the four Towers of the Bone Wall situated here in the Crater, and stop beside each Tower just long enough for Naugron to loose some Bone Rain on you. This will incidentally damage the Tower. When the Tower has accumulated enough damage, it will disintegrate. Don't waste time or mana fighting the frenzies. Use all your mana to fuel healing spells. Keep constantly shuttling from one Tower to another so the frenzies have a moving target. Stay beside the Tower just long enough to trigger a Bone Rain, and then immediately move to the next Tower. You may have to visit each Tower multiple times in order for it to acquire enough damage to finally collapse. Do a hard save or a quick save after every one or two towers goes down. Because the game will end if any of your party members dies without being resurrected, keep an eye on things as you run around here in the bottom of the Crater, and if someone dies- and they probably will- when their 'life timer' gets low, momentarily switch the camera to the Altar of Life back near the Portal to the Magnet Stones and resurrect them there. Remember you have 1000 lenya for resurrections, so you can afford to have four party members die during this section of the mission (it's more expensive to revive your avatar, so sacrifice your heroes first !). Whenever you resurrect someone at the Altar, park them there beside it for the time being. It may well take you four or five save game reloads to finally get Naugron to destroy all four of the Towers. You will hopefully have two or three party members still alive in the Crater when this happens. As soon as the fourth and final Tower goes down, get these survivors running out of the Crater as soon as possible. Go all the way up the trail past the Journey Stone and onto the rim of the Crater (keep an eye out for Grozira !). Two or three frenzies may pursue; heal up as soon as you can, Summon your heroes if you have the mana, and turn around and kill the frenzies. Naugron will not beable to spawn any more frenzies hereafter, nor will he be able to launch his "Bone Rain" on you anymore either. Taking Down Naugron Park your survivors on the trail, and turn your attention to those party members revived back at the Altar of Life near the Portal from the Magnet Stones. If your avatar is still alive and near the Crater, have him or her simply Summon the fallen heroes to his side. If your avatar is one of the 'resurrectees' back at the Altar, then have him teleport to the Crater to join everyone there. Now go back to the bottom of the Crater. Naugron can no longer summon frenzies, so there may be just four or five loitering in the Crater with him. Try to sneak around the perimeter of the Crater floor and take out the frenzies one by one. Naugron is level 24 and has some nasty area-wide pain spells. You will need to use hit-and-run attacks several times, to kill him. He won't pursue you too far up the trail back to the rim of the Crater. His health will slowly regenerate, so don't wait too long between attack intervals. When he finally succumbs, take the MindShard from his corpse and use it to listen in on Sorvina's thoughts at the crystal podium. Then approach the mirror and trigger a cutscene. Killing Shar of the Storm Blade Orcs Shar (level 27) is the final renegade Storm Blade orc and he's hiding on the rim of the Crater. He is guarded by a pair of level 25 Earth Elementals, so be prepared for a tough fight; you may or may not want to take him on until later in the game, it's up to you. Once you have his head, along with that of Itza from the Magnet Stones map, you can see Undar at the Gate of Swords for your reward. So, now it's time to return to the Gate of Swords. 20. The Gate of Swords Back to the Gate of Swords and Grab Some XP My avatar was level 24 and one-half by now. Go and talk to the Shadow Warrior, who will promise that the Shadows will desert Sorvina's army when you assault Dragh' Lur. He'll give your skeptical avatar a Shadow Crystal. You now can go on to the next mission in the Tuscari Desert if you want, but it may be a good idea to earn some XP by completing side quests, so you're much closer to level 26, or actually level 26,when you do arrive in Tuscari. To get some XP, go talk to Professor Twiddle and give him the perfect magnet stones; he'll create a 'geode detector' you can use to search for geodes around the Gate of Swords as part of another side quest related to his character. Now go see the Grey Family. Give the magnet stones to Sara Grey so she can fabricate a weapon, and get 800 XP and some items as a reward. Talk to Myra Grey to fulfill the 'paintings' side quest, and also reap 800 XP and some items, including a Magnetic Detector. Have your party join you, and then talk with Letho Grey. In his languid way, Letho will reveal the nature of the Fire Lord and the debt the Greys must pay. As soon as the cutscene ends the Fire Lord will materialize; he is a level 20 Orc Titan and your party can join in on the fight against him. But after the Lord goes down, the surviving Greys will turn on you and your party ! Kill them all to get some nice loot including Sara's 'Nightmare' dagger. So much for the Greys ! The Storm Blade Orc Side Quest: Conclusion If you have the heads of Itza (Magnet Stones) and Shar (the Crater) you can see Undar. He'll give you 600 XP for each head and 1200 for completing the Blood Revenge side quest in its entirety. He'll also reward you with the Hero Cleaver weapon and remark that the rep of the Storm Blades has now been completely restored, thanks to your avatar. Finishing the Cycles of Tests and Ascent at the Arena Now go talk with Nightsong and she'll rejoin your party. With that addition, your avatar at level 24 (hopefully) and the heroes all at around level 19, it's time to finish the 'Tests' sidequests at the Arena in the Orc camp. Go talk with the Battlemaster and enter the pit. If you have two or three 'Cycles of the Tests' remaining you won't find them too difficult; the Fourth Cycle features an Orc Titan but you should be able to whittle him down with the loss of one, maybe two, party members. With some nice gems and loot in your inventory to show for it, now see the Battlemaster and enter the 'Cycle of Ascent'. The first 6 iterations shouldn't be too hard, again, maybe the loss of one or two members is all the damage you'll suffer. The final cycle of Ascent pits you against the champion, Tor Helicos (level 30). A quick-save is wise prior to entering into this contest. When you step into the ring you'll actually find a small army of Treants, Mages, and Druids facing you. Try to have at least two party members with ranged weapons, because the Mage (level 28) will be tough to kill otherwise. Wipe them out, and then Tor Helicos will appear. For a level 30, he won't put up much of a fight- nothing compared to, say, the Mosaic of Death Crew- before conceding. Talk with him and offer to give him employ in your service in the Westguard, and he'll happily comply. That's it for the Arena ! Be sure to see some merchants and sell off all the expensive jewels you have earned. You should be able to afford some nice weapons, robes, and armor from the Free Traders. Searching for Geodes and Black Legion Armor You get the side quest for the Black Legion Armor from Morca, here at the Gate of Swords map, presumably when you first arrived earlier in the game. I believe that this side quest requires a visit to the Firefangs in order to get the helmet (see chapter 16 of this walkthrough, above) before you can expect to successfully search for the remaining peices of armor here at the Gate of Swords, but I could be wrong. In any event, make sure you've completed the other stages of this side quest before you go looking for the armor, otherwise the game's script coding may not spawn it for you and you can spend hours trying to find armor that simply isn't there to begin with.... You can do both these side quests at once. The Quest Log is not entirely accurate when it says you need to look 'north' of the wall of the Gate of Swords. You will actually need to search the entire northeastern portion of the map, bounded by the Gate. Also, Phenomic has made it so the geodes and armor pieces aren't obviously lying around for you to walk up to them; rather, you will have to wander thru an area for some time, and then the objects will materialize as your party approaches them. The geodes and armor will be small icons resting on the grass marked by streams of smoke coming from them. You may have to do quite a bit of backtracking, as new geodes and armor will spawn once you clear an area. The geodes will NOT be indicated on the minimap. Thoroughly look around the outskirts of the camp of Chieftan Kor, as well as the former site of the Dark Elf camp. Some objects are hidden among spaces between groups of trees and nearby boulders and outcroppings of rock, so keep an eye out for the telltale trails of smoke, and use the controls to swivel the camera around obscuring trees and other structures. There are five geodes each for lathanium and iridium, and six pieces of Black Legion armor. Once you find everything, return to Professor Twiddle. He'll tell you the next item he needs is related to Rohen, the pivotal figure in Spellforce, as well as uttering some crazy remarks about Time Travel, and thus provide a new side quest for you. Now go see Morca and he'll fashion the armor you found in the north into a set of Black Legion Armor. This armor actually encourages enemy aggression, but it is very protective, as well as the being coolest-looking armor in the game, particularly when you top it off with the Black Legion helmet. If you don't have the necessary skill points in Plate Armor you can either save the Black Legion suit until you do have the points (and be advised a big load of XP is coming your way in a rather short period of game time) or you can sell it to a merchant. You'll also get 800 XP for completing the side quest. Now it's time to go see the Iron Lord about the assault on Dragh' Lur. You should get a lot of XP for this and reach level 25, hopefully, if you haven't already done so in this session of side quests. After the cutscene, head to the statue of the Stone God in the south of the map. The Stone God Quests Have your party accompany you, and talk with the Stone God; not surprisingly for an Orc deity, it's not too bright and asks you to retrieve offerings stolen by 'beasts' in camps to the east and west. When you finish talking with the God, be prepared for an odd fight with a troop of Realm soldiers who, for some reason, seem to have magically appeared on the Gate of Swords map. The 'west' camp is actually south of the God (indicated on the minimap) and it consists of some buildings and a lone barbarian in an animal pelt (?!) You can easily kill him / her and loot the corpse. The east camp is not too far from the God, so go and kill the wretched lone barbarian stationed there, loot the corpse, and return to the Stone God. Enter into the dialogue with the God, and discover the 'God' is actually another scam perpetrated by professional con man and hustler Flink McWhirter ! (of Spellforce and Spellforce: Breath of Winter fame. I didn't play Shadow of the Phoenix so I don't know if Flink appeared in that game too). After the cutscene, the Iron Lord and his crew will make their way thru the now-open gate to the east ,and the Portal to Tuscari. You'll get a huge amount of XP (and probably achieve level 26) for this simple event, the cheapest and easiest XP you will earn in the entire game. Run along with them, because yet another Realm party will be waiting in ambush on the trail leading to the Portal. If you want you can proceed to Tuscari; however, with level 26 skills, and some nice Black Legion armor, not to mention some level 22 or higher melee weapons in your inventory, why not do some side quests and bulk up on XP and weapons ? 21. Side Quests: Westguard, The Crater Have Jandrim Forge the Two Daggers You should have the ingredients by now to have Jandrim Windhammer, back at Westguard, make the fencing daggers Thought and Memory, so now teleport to Westguard and see Jandrim. The daggers are nice melee weapons but require skills in dual-wield. Jandrim will give you a new side quest to forge the powerful Bloodmooon blade; there are three ingredients to it that must be found in upcoming maps. If you have by now finished the various Tests in the arena of the orcs at the gate of Swords, Tor Helicos, one of the final contestants you faced, will have relocated here to the Westguard. talk with him and he'll tell you he is pleased with the lifestyle at Westguard. Then talk to Bailiff Utrecht, who will give you a crossbow and a request for a wall around the town. See Warrad about constructing the wall; he'll need a LOT of material, including 2000 stone, 1500 gold, and 40 each of limestone and clay. You should have 1500 gold, from the sale of the gems earned in the Arena at the Gate of Swords, and perhaps 2000 stone harvested from earlier action in the Westguard map. If you find you're short on stone, you can always send some workers to the abandoned Undead camp in the NW to harvest the stone there; just be sure to have soldiers or your party escort them because there may be wolves spawning in various parts of the map. If you're short on clay, there are several clay golems wandering around the Gate of Swords map you can kill for 10 clay each. Give the building materials to Warrad and he'll tell you to go off and do some adventuring; when you return, the Wall will be in place. The Fruits of Mercy / Cult Side Quest Teleport to the Spear Heights Journey Stone if you have the Book of the Lord Steward (picked up when you killed the self-titled character in Uram Gor) and the Book of the Red Horde (which you can get from the University in Sevenkeeps, although you will have to kill the nearby guards after you grab it). Speak with Thur and he'll use the books to summon the Lord Steward (19) back again from the depths of hell. Thur, ever untrustworthy, intends to have the Steward kill your party and then ravage the Westguard, but the Steward promptly kills him instead ! The Steward will then go for your party, but you shouldn't have much trouble eliminating him. He drops some nice high level loot, and the nearby chest also has some nice items. So much for your partnership with the Cult ! Plundering the Lizards of the Crater, and Getting the Head of Shar the Orc With your avatar now around level 26, and your party members a few levels below that, you are equipped to return to the Crater map and grab some nice loot and XP. Teleport in to the ruins near the Portal and, if you didn't make an effort to kill him when you first came to this map, your party can now take down Grozira without too much effort. You're going to take the 'central' trail that leads to the area where the lizards are camped. Use some caution here and try to lure away individual lizards or small batches of them, then go for the unguarded nests to prevent more from spawning. Be prepared to retreat if too many come running for you at once. When you've cleared the area, you can start opening the chests. Each chest will require a combination of one, two, or three-value star and skull coins. You should have accumulated enough of these coins by now to open at least a few of these chests. Some chests may be booby-trapped and spawn a mage of level 20, but you shouldn't have any trouble killing him. I don't advise that you go poking around the south area of the map, where hordes of monsters guard every ten meters of trail, unless you're very confident of your RPG combat skills. You can of course try it, but if it is still too difficult, just decide to postpone your foray until later in the game. Your party is strong enough, however, to go and clean out the skeletons and Elementals on the Northern trail, and the rim of the crater. If you like, you can pick up even more loot and XP with this side trip. With these side quests completed, you can now proceed with the Main Quest. 22. The Tuscari Desert The Tuscari Desert: Relieving the Orc Camp This can be a fun map to play. The key is to be inventive and know when NOT to talk to an NPC and proceed the second half of the mission ! You're also going to 'game' the AI by treading carefully and not triggering the spawning of more spiders. Also, keep in mind that the spiders are endlessly spawning (at least for the first part of the mission) so don't trot off to the hills thinking you can destroy spawn points and then leisurely 'turtle' in your base. Phenomic has not set the map up for that. In any event, once you arrive it's clear a lot is going on. An orc named Sorok has been captured by your former friends and allies, the humans and elves of the Realm, and is captive in their camp in the south part of the map. Closer to you, an orc camp in the west of the map is under attack by monster spiders. Assemble all the orcs near the Portal, and group them into one force along with your party. It's a good idea to have your spellcasters armed with area- effect spells like Extinct and Lightning. Send the group along the trails leading to the spider-besieged orc camp. There will be lots of spiders in your path; don't hesitate to fight them, but keep in mind that killing every and all spiders is self-defeating, so stay focused on the objectives in your Quest log. Also, the pregnant spiders are a real pain, because once they die they will spawn a batch of spiderlings, so hit them with area-effect spells as needed. You should get to the Orc camp without any losses. Once there, create 3 - 4 more workers to join those already existing, and build a smelter. Get your workers busy collecting stone while your orcs fend off the spider attacks. Just be careful the Iron Lord doesn't get killed. His movement is 'linked' to your avatar, so station your avatar out of danger, and the Iron Lord will be safe. Arm your avatar with a ranged weapon if you want him or her to contribute to the fight. When you have about 650 stone (500 for an HQ and 70 each for smelter and stonemason) and 300 or so silver, which shouldn't take very long at all, group all your workers and station them in a safe area of the camp. Group all the combat units into one army and evacuate the camp by the 'south' entrance, with the workers following along. This is actually a strong army that you have, and it should be more than adequate for the coming offensive operations. As you exit the camp there will be some spiders and orc ghosts in the way, but you should be able to wipe them out with just a few losses. Now proceed towards the Realm camp where the orc is held captive by a south - then - east route. This will take you to a field of ruins with a healthy population of orc ghosts. Have your army deal with them, preferably with your party serving as the front line force, and have your workers follow at a safe distance behind. You should emerge from the area of the ruins to the 'southern ' entrance ramp, which leads to a long causeway into the Realm camp where Sorok is held captive. If you handled all the fighting with some degree of skill, you should have a strong force, with 55 - 60 troop slots still intact. This is a powerful enough force to liberate the Realm camp. It's a good idea to have your army continue through this southern section of the map and eliminate any lizards, spiders, and ghosts in the vicinity. Your old camp should by now be under assault by a huge mob of spiders. Let it be destroyed. The spiders will simply squat at the camp site and you won't have to deal with them until much later. Assault on the Realm Camp Get your force in place on a ramp leading up to the Realm base and have an archer - Jared or Mordecay - sneak up, loose an arrow, and lure a squad of Realm troops into your ambush. Use this strategy to whittle down the Realm force without taking them all on at once, particularly the Titan. Once the defense is weakened, sweep into the camp and kill the last few defenders. IMPORTANT: DON'T SPEAK WITH SOROK ! Now station some troops in the 'Sorok' camp, and some near the southern entrance you just came through on your attack. Make a pass thru the ruins patrolled by orc ghosts, just to make sure it's been cleared, and station a batch of troops here to fend off the occasional lone spider or two. What you want to do now is build a new base in the ruins where Sorok is located and create an army of up to 80 slots. You can do this in comfort and leisure while fending off the odd spider or two, compared to the constant pressure your first base was subjected to. The existing HQ in Sorok's area cannot be used to spawn new troops, but you can simply build a new one next to it. Crank out some new workers and get some of them harvesting the lenya here in the ruins. There are silver and lenya deposits to the southeast of the Sorok camp, so assign some workers to collect them. You'll want to have a force of archers and mercenaries and a party member or two around to defend them from the occasional spider that comes around. You can also have a group of your army, or perhaps your avatar and heroes, escort a team of 10 workers back towards your old base. Once you arrive near your old base, have the workers erect a smelter and begin harvesting the silver deposits just outside the south entrance of the old camp. There may be a spider lurking just to the north of the silver, but he won't attack as long as your troops don't get too close. The mob of spiders lounging inside the ruins of the camp won't bother you unless you go into the camp and provoke them. There is another silver deposit a little further south of the old base, guarded by a couple of ghosts; kill them and access this silver as needed. Back at the 'Sorok' camp, crank out more workers and start harvesting the stone among the orc ghost ruins, and erecting farms. You'll probably run out of space and you'll need to palce the farms at the base of the ramps. Where the Iron Lord is standing in the Sorok camp, place four Towers around him, with upgrades. He will not move from this spot for the rest of the mission, and if he is killed at any time the mission will end. Build another two or three towers near the entrance to each of the two ramps leading to the Sorok base. You will probably not need these at all, but it's nice to have them for 'insurance'. Following Sorok to the Zarach Altar Methodically build up your resources and your new base until you have a large army- I ultimately had a troop slot total of 80, relying on the orc and troll units, rather than barbarian units. Eighty troop slots will be enough to complete the mission. I personally invested in Troll Hurlers, but you can create the forces that you prefer. Make sure you have about 1000 silver and 2000 stone in your reserves and withdraw the workers operating near your old camp, back to the Sorok camp and station them within it for safekeeping. Place 5 or so archers near where the Iron Lord is standing and Hold them in place. With these archers and the presence of the nearby towers, the Lord now should be well-protected from upcoming assaults. Assemble your army, and NOW speak to Sorok. He'll tell you there are two ways to eliminate the spider spawn; sacrifice Realm captives, or summon the Spider Queen Shygalla and kill her. I chose the Shygalla option. Sorok will now take off on a long, long walk to the northern region of the map where the Altar of Zoroch is located. Of course, he'll run into spiders and lizards on the way, so have your army follow and deal with the vermin. Make some Saves along the route so if he does get killed, you can restart without too much trouble. Don't get preoccupied with wiping out the spiders, and keep up with Sorok. When he arrives at the Altar he'll chant some magic words, and Shygalla, level 25, will spawn a short distance away. Along with her, she'll spawn some other spiders. Your powerful army shouldn't have much trouble wiping out Shygalla and her assistants. You should in fact finish this particular quest without suffering any losses. Finishing Off the Realm Outpost As soon as Shygalla goes down the second portion of the mission gets under way. A lot will happen at once. First, General Aramin will start sending griffons (magicians) after the orc camp and the Iron Lord. Before too long, Realm infantry will be coming at the Iron Lord as well. These are spawned from a large Realm base in the far NE of the map. Second, you'll get 10 flying totems spawned next to the Altar of Zarach to assist you. These are horrible fighters and are only useful for clearing the 'fog of war' from the map so you can see where you need to go. If you like, kill all of them immediately after they materialize, and use the freed army numbers to make more melee units later. Turn your army around from the Altar of Zarach and march them back to the Journey Stone of the Northern Canyon that you passed on your way up. Don't delay to attack spiders unless they attack you. Simultaneously have 10 workers from your base running up to the Journey Stone as well. Your defenses back at the Sorok base should be sufficient to prevent any Realm assaults from killing the Iron Lord while you do this. The combination of towers and some archers should deter any griffons trying to snipe the Iron Lord from the air. It's unlikely any Realm melee troops will be able to get to the Sorok base, but if they do, the towers there will impede their attacks. Once your army arrives at the Canyon Journey Stone, promptly send them heading up the trail to the NE and the Realm camp. Have the 10 workers straggle along after the army on its way to the Realm base. As you approach, you should hear a voiceover from General Aramin ordering the gates of the Realm camp to be opened. When you reach the entrance area to the Realm base, stop and prepare to fend off some really powerful attacks, as batches of druids, paladins, catapults and titans will come streaming out of the Realm camp with the goal of killing the Iron Lord. Get your workers busy with an HQ and/or Troll Lair right near the Realm base's entrance, so reinforcements are close at hand. Patiently blunt the Realm attacks and when they slow, cautiously move into the entrance area and deal with the towers there. Be ready to retreat when things get too intense, and keep cranking out replacements for the troops you lose. There will be more groups of paladins and titans spawned to defend the Realm base, so keep the 'hold' command in use and don't let your force splinter into little packets of 'suicide' attackers. Gradually make your way further into the Realm camp and destroy the castle and HQ to reduce the spawning of enemy troops. Take down the towers, and the resource gathering buildings. Once the main camp is leveled, go up the path on the hillside and eliminate a small smelter operation there. An orc mercenary is captive in this camp; speak with him to recruit him for trap-detecting assistance in the Dragh' Lur map. Loot the chests and note the location of the Portal to Dragh' Lur. Finishing Up the Tuscari Desert Map You can now have your avatar, heroes, and a squad of troops go investigate the Tuscari map for loot. There are mountain lions guarding some nice chests on the eastern border of the map, and some loot is also present in the north-central and northern areas of the map. The spiders lurking there shouldn't pose much of a threat to a small army, particularly now that they can no longer spawn. Once you've completed the search for loot, and killed every last spider if you so desire, you can proceed to the Dragh' Lur map. 23. Dragh' Lur Dragh' Lur: Establishing A Base This can be a tough slog of a map. You will have to create an army and then travel north on narrow trails through the swamp. On a flat expanse of land just outside the gates to the city of Dragh' Lur is a very large and well-defended Dark Elf (Pact) base, located at the 'Blood Swamp' Journey Stone, that will disgorge waves of troops whenever your army comes close. Once you whittle away the defenders you'll have to deal with the many towers inside the base, before you can start to destroy its numerous troop-spawning structures. Then you need to attack Dragh' Lur itself, which is in turn heavily defended by a gauntlet of towers. Finally, you'll need to get access to the inner sanctum on the uppermost level of the city, where Toth Lar awaits. After the cutscene plays, group the five Pioneers together, and your avatar and party in another group. Advance away from the Portal (be sure to activate the Journey Stone next to it) and scout out the territory. You have a rather large field around your HQ to defend, with some stone and silver deposits. A little cul-de-sac to the north of the field holds plenty of lenya. There are only two entrances to this field: one to the west, and one to the north. Start in on the familiar drill: smelter, stonemason hut, then alchemist. Stone is scarce here at the beginning of the map, so be prudent in terms of building construction. Set your Pioneers aside in a sheltered place for the time being, while you concentrate on building up an army. Periodically a batch of Dark Elves will come down the trail from Dragh' Lur in the north, so have your party ready to meet them when they come thru the northern gate to your base. By now your avatar and heroes should be level 26 - 27 and 22 respectively, so they can handle quite a large force of elves without need of backup. Once the stone is available, start putting up two towers to cover the west entrance to your base area. A level 27 Dark Elf Titan might try a lone attack here, so have your avatar ready to run over and assist. The Titan is actually rather weak, so don't worry too much about him. Get some farms going and upgrade as you prefer. I eventually had 30 troop slots, filled with Hurlers and Devastators, created when I decided to make the march thru the swamp. You'll want three or four towers blocking the north entrance before you set out, with the orc upgrades added to the towers if possible. Have three archers in place here in case a fire gargoyle comes by (the fireballs from the towers will actually heal the gargoyle, so you'll need the archers to shoot it down). In my experience if you try and 'turtle' in this map it will make it a lot more difficult to subdue the Pact forces, since the AI regulating the Blood Swamp camp's spawning will crank out more and more troops the longer you allow it to remain intact. So get started on your attack and feed more troops into your force while it goes about taking care of the Dark Elf forces here in the swamp. The March Through the Swamp: Northern Trail There are two paths north to the Pact base on the outskirts of Dragh' Lur. One path leads from the northern entrance of your own base, the other route is longer and leads from the western exit of your base. Regardless of which route you choose, you will need to have the Pioneers travel in advance of your army. They will notify you when they detect a trap, signified by a flashing white circle on the ground. Move them over to the trap, and they will deactivate it, and then your army can safely pass over the ground. There are not a lot of traps, but you will have to be careful that a southbound Dark Elf force doesn't catch your Pioneers out ahead of your army and thus defenseless. As you go the northern route you'll come to a small Dark Elf camp; have your party engage the elves, while the devastators focus on buildings and the hurlers pick off enemies with their rock tosses. Captain Uzach here will drop the "Tear Stained Blade" for the weapon side quest with Jandrim Windhammer back in Westguard. Continue on the north trail. There is a small camp of skeletons, on a little island off the trail, you can destroy. The occasional Dark Elf assault force will come down the trail towards you, but just have your party meet them while your troops provide backup and you shouldn't suffer more than one or two losses - if any. All this while, keep your base up and running; when stone gets low (that is, below 200) you may want to hold off on spending for a bit, but create more troops if you feel you need them. By the time I leveled the first, small, Dark Elf base on the northbound trail I had 40 slots available. When you get to the outer periphery of the big Dark Elf camp be careful. There will likely be successive waves of enemy forces once you get close to the camp, and these waves will feature one or more Titans and lots of arachnis and necromancers who summon skeletons. If your army gets overwhelmed, you may want to try to approach via the western route: The March Through the Swamp: Western Trail The main advantage of taking the western route is that you will come upon a stone field, which will allow you to build more farms and thus increase the size of your army. There is also a silver field. And, it has wider trails, which can help if you decide to use a strategy of building towers to soak up enemy attacks. Exit the western entrance to your base and have the Pioneers out front to detect any traps. Directly to the west is an area patrolled by wild cats that has some silver and a chest containing a Dead Rat (?!). Continue on the trail and you'll come upon another open area where some black panthers guard a stone field. Take out the panthers and get some workers up to harvest the stone. Keep your army nearby because small groups of Dark Elves will come down the trail on a periodic basis. Continue on the western trail; there will be some smaller islands where spiders guard some chests of loot. As you get closer to the territory patrolled by the Dark Elf camp, in addition to the small raiding parties you'll start to encounter large forces with a Titan or two and flying units like fire gargoyles and frost gargoyles. There will be some traps here, so be ever ready to have your Pioneers out front, and be ready to yank them back to safety when the Dark Elves approach. It can be helpful to bring up some workers and create 4 -5 towers at a choke point and then send a party member out to provoke an attack by the Dark Elf forces in the area. Let the towers inflict damage on the attackers while your army bashes away at them. There are quite a few of these larger Dark Elf forces and at times it will seem like they spawn just as fast as you eliminate them. Just be patient and carefully and methodically edge closer to the big camp. You may wind up losing 50% or more of your force when you finally eliminate the majority of the these defenders. Then you have the task of destroying the camp proper. The Main Dark Elf Camp Be careful in attacking this base, since the Pain Towers can whittle away your troops while you are preoccupied with destroying the buildings and their defenders. Nibble off a chunk of the base at a time, and be prepared to rein in troops that want to go off on solo missions. You'll also want to keep an eye out for spawning Titans. Once the Pact buildings are leveled, bring up 10 - 15 workers of your own to begin exploiting the stone and silver here. Station your army near the gate to the causeway (be careful of the last booby trap here). With your party out in front, the regular attacks from Dark Elf troops coming thru the causeway from Dragh' Lur in the north should be easy to fend off while you increase your army. Build some farms and an HQ and other troop-spawning structures. The Quest Log will recommended you build catapults, so you can do this, although personally I found the troll hurlers worked just as well, and were cheaper to build. Once I had about 65 - 70 slots created, I began to advance into the causeway. There's no real quick and easy strategy to employ here, just have your party absorb the elf troops attacks, while the hurlers and/or catapults batter them from long range. As you get closer to the city proper there will be towers to eliminate. Have the catapults bombard them from afar. Periodically Toth Lar will send batches of dark elves and spiders out against you, with the occasional Titan thrown in, so be prepared to defend those expensive catapults. The Inner Fortress of Dragh' Lur This is tricky, and a bit reminiscent of the assault on the Bulwark back at the Needle map. A rampart overlooking the road into the city is lined with Pain Towers that can rapidly injure and kill even stronger party members, and can decimate your orc or troll troops. This ramp into the interior of Dragh' Lur is blocked by a healthy force of dark elves. Instead of a head-on assault, send your party hooking around the alternate trail that leads away to the waterfront. Take out the small group of buildings there, then you can use a side road to lure the elf blocking force down towards you and away from the safety of their towers. Pound them to dust, then send a group of 6 or more workers up to join you. Have only your party rush up the road to the interior of the city; the Pain Towers may loose some bolts, but not enough to kill anyone. Or, you can cast Chromatic Shield on your avatar, have him or her run up the ramp and into an area safely out of reach of the towers (for example, alongside the Inner Fortress Journey Stone in this area). Then summon your party members to join him, without the need to expose them to the bolts from the towers. There will be some Dark Elf troops scattered on this tier, so you may have to lure them towards you and eliminate them and secure the area. Just keep your distance from the Pain Towers along the parapet here, because if you lose a party member near them, trying to resurrect them can be fruitless due to the fact that the bolts from the towers will kill them as promptly as they revive. To get rid of the towers, you can try several strategies. If you assign three party members to simultaneously attack a tower each, they will draw off the bolts from the towers and you can use this interval to bring your army up the ramp and to a safe location. You will in all likelihood have your three party members die in their attacks on the towers, but if you move fast you can have your army destroy the towers, and then revive your fallen party members before their 'heartbeat' timers expire. Alternatively you can try having a mob of 6 - 10 workers dash up the ramp. Some of them should survive and you can have them erect a troll lair near the Journey Stone. Kill some of your own troops to free up troop slots if necessary, and then crank out hurlers or catapults from the new lair, and use them to destroy the towers. Once you've whittled away enough of the towers, the remainder of your army should be able to come up the road and join you without being decimated by the towers. Don't let your catapults or hurlers stray too far from the Journey Stone in this area, because after a certain number of the towers are destroyed Toth Lar will order a sizeable force to come out of the top level of the city and make for your army. Be ready to deal with them. All of the towers must be eliminated in order for the gate leading to the top level, and Toth Lar, to be opened. Here on the top level are some more Dark Elf buildings and some troops. Kill them and pick up any loot they drop. Toth Lar (level 25) awaits, with a couple of elf mages, here at the top of Dragh' Lur. If there are areas of the map that you have yet to explore and plunder, you may want to hold off on killing him for the moment while you pick up any loot yet to be gathered. Kill Toth Lar and destroy the HQ he is defending and when he succumbs, settle back for an interesting cutscene. 24. Shal Shal: Establishing a Base As soon as the cutscene ends you'll have to concentrate on resurrecting your fallen party members before their 'death timers' expire. Quickly kill the dark elf warrior, then rush down the ramp and go to the east where three of your party members are lying dead in a small alcove. Wipe out any dark elf guards and then run in and stand beside the corpses of the party members and resurrect them. As soon as you have them all up, immediately rush to the alcove to the west where the other two party members lie; take out the dark elf guards and resurrect the fallen members (if your avatar is low on mana by this point, one or two of the other party members may have regenerated enough mana of their own to assist). [Most, if not all, of your six party members, and perhaps your avatar as well, should be ready to Level Up. I went to Level 27 at this time] Now go talk to Ur the dragon patriarch, still helpless and beaten down after all this effort on your part. Before he expires, he'll tell you that you need to journey to the Crystal Forest and take down Malacay once and for all. Be sure to grab the Dragon Skin from him for construction of the Bloodmoon weapon by Jandrim Windhammer back in Westguard. Nightsong will now come running up; she wants to be your friend still...that is, if you take her side in the ongoing civil war among the dark elves. Take the now-open exits out of the temple area and down into the city proper. This map is different from the usual resource-collection setup, and is more reminiscent of games like Relic's Warhammer 40K "Dawn of War" RTS series ("SEND ME TO DA BOYZ !!!"). Instead of harvesting resources, you need to capture (by simply standing next to them for a few moments) the fifteen 'Depots' marked on the minimap. Each depot is actually a banner or flag, guarded by dark elf troops. Flags held by the elves will have a red color; when those elves are eliminated the flag turns white; when you capture it, it turns blue. Once a flag or depot is yours, it will generate stone, silver, and lenya automatically. Losing a depot means losing the resources it generates. To complete this level, you're essentially going to have to 'metastasize' your army around the map and grab all the depots and destroy the enemy dark elf bases in the process. Some of the depots are guarded by just a small force of elves; others are in the middle of very large elf camps. If you leave a captured depot undefended, and the enemy has access to it, they will mount a constant trickle of attacks in an effort to regain it, so with this map, you will need to move your army in such a way as to block roads leading to your depots (or else erect Pain Towers to deter the enemy from these roads). While it's not a disaster to lose possession of a depot for a few minutes, you don't want to have to spend time interrupting your own attacks to go and liberate a depot in your rear areas. Just down the ramp from Sorvina's temple is the first depot, guarded by a few dark elves; wipe them out and capture the depot. Nearby are some buildings for your use and some workers. Ignore them for the moment and go activate the nearby Journey Stone. Your party, with avatar, heroes, Nightsong, and a couple of her elf allies, should number 9; this is a good enough defense force for the moment. Station them near the Journey Stone and eliminate the random dark elf that comes running into your camp. Keep an eye on the resource tallies along the top of your game screen and once you've got enough resources generated, create some necromancers; their ability to summon skeletons means you can get more troops for your money at this stage. Now you're ready to begin expanding your base and your army. [At various locations on the map are cells containing 'tortured' beasts that Sorvina experimented upon. A chest nearby to each cell contains a key. You can unlock the cell, but all I discovered was that the beasts immediately attacked my avatar and troops, so I'm not sure if this is all that worthwhile except for garnering a bit of XP for freeing the beasts.] Expanding Your Army and Capturing the Enemy Camps The main attacks on your base will come from the trail leading directly north- northwest; also, troops from the Archon clan will come at your base from the east in periodic batches. Once you've got 5 - 10 necromancers created, group them with your party and head north on the trail to the Sinistrim camp. There is a depot not too far up the trail guarded by their elves; kill them and capture the depot. Move your army a little farther north above the depot, and where the road constricts, Halt them and take up a defensive position here. Leave Lya here with a healing staff, and about 10 - 15 troops and maybe a party member or two, and they should hold off any forthcoming Sinistrim dark elf assaults comfortably. Some of the attackers will be flying units, so be sure you have some spellcasters to deal with them, or party members with ranged weapons. Send the rest of your force back to your base to assist in its defense. Get to work creating troops and building farms to increase your troop slots. Even with only 2 or 3 Depots in your possession you shouldn't have much trouble in rapidly accumulating resources; in fact, there is a troop slot cap of 50 in this map, and you'll find you'll have way more resources than you can ever spend. A peculiarity of the Dark Elves is that several of their units summon skeletons or spiders (Necromancers and Arachnis). If you have the bulk of your army comprised of these types of units, the battlefield can quickly become a chaotic mess of summoned units all fighting with each other. At these times you can Select your 'core' units and focus them on destroying the enemy buildings, while the enemy forces are preoccupied with your summoned units. Take advantage of this fact, and whittling away the larger enemy bases is not all that difficult. Sinistrim or Archon Once you have a decently-sized army assembled you can go on the offensive. If you decide to head north and deal with the Sinistrim clan, have your slaves busy erecting a thicket of towers to defend the eastern approach to your base from the Archons. Resources are plentiful so you can have quite a few towers in place. If you decide to go east and deal with the Archons first, be sure to keep a blocking force in place on the road leading north from your base. Along the way to the main enemy camps you can overwhelm and capture some of the 15 Depots marked on the map. You shouldn't lose more than 2 or 3 troops in the course of capturing a Depot. Just feed reinforcements back in and continue on your way. It can be helpful to have a party of workers come up and create new Black Fortresses in locations you clear, so reinforcements don't have to travel a long route in order to meet up with your main army. When you take on the main Sinistrim or Archon camps, be prepared to deal with the usual Spellforce 2 equivalent of the 'Zerg' rush, as enemy units come barrelling out to attack your force. Let them engage your summoned units and deal with the buildings. It can take some time, but eventually you'll finish off all the troop-spawning buildings (be aware of enemy slaves repairing a structure even as you try and knock it down), at which point the camp is essentially conquered. If you are having trouble dealing with the Zerg rush, feel free to use the tactic of building an array of towers just outside the confines of the enemy base, and letting the enemy deplete themselves on the towers for several iterations. If there are tickles of enemy troops coming down the roads and attempting to capture your Depots while you are otherwise occupied, have teams of workers get busy erecting towers at appropriate intersections to stop these 'sneak' raids. Finishing Up the Shal Map Once the Sinistrim and Archon camps are destroyed and all the Depots have been captured, you'll get an update to your Quest Log and a nice 7000+ XP, so it may be time to Level Up. If you didn't come across it earlier, in the NE area of the map there is a small alcove containing merchant Zar Sharach, a harmless Archon onlooker, some chests and, for all you puzzle fans, another 'seven levers' puzzle. One of the chests that doesn't require puzzle solving to open, contains the Fragment of the Time Portal relating to a side quest with Professor Twiddle; you will need to see him in the upcoming Crystal Forest segment of the game. If you are so inclined you can try the lever puzzle; all must point in one direction to open the first chest, and then all must point in the opposite direction to open the second chest. There is some nice, but not critical, loot in these chests. Zar Sharach sells some nice upper-level weapons that your avatar (mine was now at level 29) can use. Now go to the Portal to the Crystal Forest in the SE and trigger a cutscene with Nightsong. Having eliminated her dark elf competitors, she's more kindly disposed towards you now, and will support your efforts. She tells you the Portal is now open to you, but prior to traveling to the Crystal Forest, you must first travel thru the Crystal Wastes. But first, let's return to some other maps and side quests, and earn some more XP as we do so. 25. Side Quests: Westguard and The Crater Back to Westguard for the Bloodmoon When you teleport to Westguard you should see a cutscene announcing that the Wall is now in place around the city. Go and see Jandrim to have him forge the Bloodmoon axe, which is one of the late-game segment's best weapons, because it feeds you health points for every 12% melee damage you inflict. Getting Bloodmoon crafted gets you 2400 XP as well. Now go speak with the Bailiff. He announces that an emissary from King Ulf, back in Sevenkeeps, has threatened to attack the Westguard and place it under control of the King. As soon as the conversation ends you'll discover that Realm troops are assaulting the Westguard in the north, near your HQ, and in the eastern approaches to Westhome itself. These are rather weak attacks, and at this stage of the game your party is powerful enough to wipe out the attackers without aid of troops if you prefer. In any event, you should have a nice force of troops already on the map from earlier Westguard action, so just have them deal with King Ulf's soldiers near the HQ while your party takes care of the ones in the east. When King Ulf's force is destroyed go and see the Bailiff. He sends you to Warrad for yet another City Building Quest. This time it's a wall for the Castle and he wants a sizeable 3,000 stone, 2,000 gold, and 50 each of limestone and clay. Hand it over if you have it, and when you next return to Westguard the castle wall will be constructed. Cleaning Out the Monster Swarm in the South of The Crater With your avatar now at level 28 or 29, and your party members in the low - to - mid 20s, you should be able to tackle one of the harder maps of the game: the southern area of the Crater map. Keep in mind this is just a 'macho' thing and there really isn't much point to it from a reward standpoint, although you will get some weapons and coins. Teleport to the Ruins near the Portal and, if you haven't killed Grozira the zombie dinosaur earlier, you can probably do it now without much effort. Then embark onto the southern trail network. As you hack and slash your way along the trail around the river / reservoir make sure you seek out and destroy the hidden Demon Portals, otherwise the areas you thought you had cleared will re-fill with monsters within a very short period of time. It's real easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of these creatures if you travel too deeply into the trail and neglect to level the portals behind you ! Even if you destroy these portals as you go along, you're going to find there are still plenty of monsters all over the place, so be patient. The chests and XP you earn will obviously help you in leveling up, as well as providing some more coins for use in opening the chests back at the lizards' campsite in the central region of this map. [Unlike most other maps in the game, this section of The Crater will respawn every monster once you depart.] When you've had your fill of killing monsters in the southern part of the Crater map, return to the Shal map, and advance thru the Portal to the Crystal Wastes. 26. The Crystal Wastes Defending the Base in the Crystal Wastes After the cutscene ends you'll learn that your former close friends and allies, the orcs of the Clan (along with the lone Troll or two) are now all over the Wastes, having obtained five fragments of a book called the Book of D'arh that will let its end-user create gargoyles. You are no longer on good terms with the Clan, so you'll naturally have to wipe out all the Clan camps on the map in order to get access to the Portal to the Crystal Forest in the NE. Having to work with the Dark Elves on this map is a pain because they are mediocre fighters compared to the Orcs and Trolls, but there is not much you can do about it. You start with a camp with modest stone, silver, and lenya at hand. There are what seems like an awful lot of Clan camps all over the map, and they are too close for comfort to the other deposits of resources that you know you will need sooner rather than later. One good thing about fighting orcs, is that they are stupid - you can use this to your advantage. [Arming your party with armor and charms that protect against fire can be helpful, since that is what the Orcs like to use in their weapons and defenses.] The key to this map is that major assaults will come from just one large Clan camp, located in the NE among the Glowing Hills. Parties spawning in this camp will predictably charge south, straight down the road to your base. The other Clan camps you see around your base don't spawn troops, and if you don't get too close to them, they will not sally out to attack you. You eventually will need to level these satellite camps because an orc chieftan in each of the five camps has a fragment of the Book of D'arh. Capturing all five fragments restores the Book which, combined with some side quests here in the Wastelands, will allow you to create gargoyles. But for the time being, ignore them. [Spellforce 2 player Roy Majewski emails: I use your walkthrough when I tried on my own and I get mesed up! Anyway I played the CRYSTAL WASTES for a very lengthy time on my own and with your stratagies but I kept getting decimated!!!So I got pissed and stumbled onto a very easy stratagy. As soon as my party steped through the portal I sent them strait to the enemy's headqurters up in the NE no stopping no building nothing.I destoyed ther headquaters first and their camp and consentrated on keeping my party alive.After that I went back to my camp built up my army and finished off the CRYSTAL FOREST with no big troops attaking me at every turn.Piece of cake. ] You can try Roy's strategy if you like, or go with the 'slow' approach: Immediately get to work with a smelter, stonemason, and alchemist. Stone is scarce here, so build just three Pain Towers at the narrowing of the road out of your base, and have your party stand by them to assist in the defense. At first you'll have to make do with weaker Dark Elf units like Shadow Blades and Sorceresses, because you'll need to spend precious stone on farms and Beetle Breeders upgrades in order to increase your army's size. If you're good at base building and resource management, by the time the first, large attack party from the Hills comes at your base you should have a smeltery, stonemason hut, alchemist, and Academy up and running, 10 troop slots filled, and at least two towers erected at the entrance to your base. Let the towers soak up as much of the attack as they can, use your party as the frontline melee troops, and hit back at the orcs. Don't be surprised if you lose two or three party members to the assault. Once you've repelled the orcs, heal up, repair the towers, and assemble your troops for the next onslaught, all the while building farms, upgrading them to beetle breeders, and making sure you have no idle workers if you can help it. Going for the Stone Field Up the Road By now your stone supplies in-camp will be diminishing, but try to have at least 70 stone reserved. You are going to need more stone from elsewhere on the map to create the buildings and upgrades necessary to increase and improve your army. You will probably have to endure one more big onslaught at the entrance to your camp (but with negligible losses) before you accumulate 30 to 35 troop slots. Right after this battle ends, group all of your force together and venture north. Again, don't provoke the orcs in the nearby camps due east and west, and they won't bother you. Your target is the orc camp a short distance up the road in the north-central area of the map, and stone field just south of it. There is a frost golem lurking near the stone field, but he isn't much of a problem to dispose of. Station your army near the stone field, blocking any assault from the northern orc camp or the Glowing Hills camp, and as soon as possible bring up 6 or so workers and have them erect a stonemason and get to work harvesting the stone. When the next big orc attack force comes south from the Glowing Hills, engage it and try and protect your workers. This will be a tough fight, but you should defeat them and have a decent number of troops left over. Heal, and maintain your station at the field. As the stone starts to flow in, back at your base, get a Black Fortress and Onyx Tower erected and some more farms as well. If lenya and silver start to run low, as they probably will by now, sneak some workers up the road from your base and then into the first trail west. There is a circular clearing here with silver and lenya. Carefully have your workers build an alchemist and smelter, don't attract the attention of the orc camp close by, and you can harvest without any trouble. Now you can start making Necromancers and Death Knights to replace the Shadow Blades and Sorceresses. Send them up to your army near the stone field to help with the defense. You'll probably have to endure several consecutive Glowing Hills orc assaults on the stone field army while you work at increasing your numbers to the mission's maximum of 50 slots. By now your army should be large enough that these Glowing Hills forays fail to cause more than one or two losses, if at all. Take the opportunity of any lull in the attacks, to go for the orc camp just north of the stone field. Let the summoned skeletons of your necromancers soak up the orc and troll attacks and destroy the buildings. A chest in the camp will contain a fragment of the book on gargoyle creation. Cleaning Up the Crystal Wastes Getting access to the stone field at the 'crossroads' is the turning point in the map, more or less. You can now grow your army up to its max of 50 slots, endure the pressure of the Glowing Hills assaults, and methodically eliminate the satellite Clan camps. The crossroads area near the north-central stone field is a critical strategic point because the attacks from the Hills will come thru it on their way to assault either your base or your harvesting operations, so keep an eye on it when you send your army out to eliminate the nearby orc camps. Whenever you see a large orc force rolling south towards this crossroads, break off what you are doing, and go intercept them. Then return to leveling the nearby camps. Once stone is plentiful, you can have workers erect defense towers here at the crossroads to make it that much harder for the orc attackers to break thru to your base. There is usually some good loot in the satellite camps as well as the needed pieces of the Book of D'arh. As soon as a satellite camp is destroyed, have some workers get busy harvesting nearby resources. Be careful when you go for the satellite camp in the NW; this is close to the Glowing Hills base, and orcs from there may come to attack you while you're preoccupied with the satellite camp. If this happens be prepared to pull back and let the summoned skeletons occupy the orcs' attention, while you hit them with ranged attacks. When you've succeeded in recovering all five fragments of the Book, a cutscene with Nightsong will explain that you need to obtain Essences of Fire and Ice near some isolated Journey Stones (and some Earth Essence as well), to empower the Book and the gargoyle creation process. Move your army to the crossroads and Hold them there. It's best to prepare to attack and eliminate the Glowing Hills orc base at this point, and then deal with the Book side quests. Assault on the Glowing Hills Base This base is well-defended and you'll need to be patient in attacking it. Get all your troop slots filled, party members healed, and then depart the crossroads and head north to the Glowing Hills. You can approach the base from either the west or the east, thru some snowy trails guarded by various Elementals that won't put up much of a fight. Halt your troops just outside the entrance to the Hills and lure the orc defenders out. Engage them, but be ready to retreat and let the skeletons soak up the combat when the action gets too intense. Keep reinforcements spawning back at your own base, and charging up the road to join you on a regular basis. Necromancers and death knights are all you really need; I wouldn't invest in the more expensive arachnis. After some tough battling, you should be able to weaken the defenders enough to enter the base and go for the orc HQ. Once it's down, the base is essentially finished; just wipe out all the structures and complete the quest to defeat the Clans. There may be some silver, stone, and lenya left here that your own workers can exploit if needed. There is also loot on the ground that is actually sizeable quantities of silver and lenya. With the Glowing Hills base out of commission, you can do the Book quests without distraction. The Book of D'arh Quests: Getting Ice Essence The gameplay will now switch to extended sessions of hack n' slash, RPG action. After the past few maps, which were very much intense RTS, this may be a nice change of pace for the player. Arm your avatar with Bloodmoon if you have it; wielding it in the upcoming melee combat means you'll earn health points for every 12% of melee combat damage you inflict. Or a fire-based weapon can be useful too. If you have armor, charms, and rings that protect against cold-based attacks you'll want to equip your party with them. Save the game and teleport to the now-available Ice Rocks Journey Stone. When you arrive, summon your heroes. You'll see that there are a lot of frost elementals (level 23) here on the mountain; the Journey Stone is not active until you complete this portion of the quest, so right now you can only leave the mountain by dying. Ignore the elementals and go straight for the Elemental Nodes. There are two on the trail to the mountain top, and two more at the top itself, where the Ice Essence elemental (level 24) is stationed with its guards. By destroying the Nodes you prevent the elementals from respawning after you kill them. With the timely use of healing spells you should be able to destroy all four of the Nodes without too much trouble. Then you can wipe out the Elementals at your leisure. Now go for the Ice Essence at the top of the mountain. It will drop the Ice Essence crystal. You'll get some XP, and the Ice Rocks Journey Stone will now let you return to the other areas of the Wastes map. Getting the Fire Essence The Journey Stone to the Fire Rocks is now active. This mission is the converse of the Ice Rocks, so arm yourself with fire resistance armor and rings. Save the game, then teleport to the Fire Rocks, summon your heroes, and destroy the three Nodes here. After they are gone, go after the fire elementals (level 23), and then the Fire Essence (level 24) and retrieve the Essence crystal it drops. You'll win some XP, for me enough to send my avatar to level 30, which is as high as your avatar can get in this game. The party members are also maxed out at level 23, when you reach level 30. The Fire Rocks Journey Stone will now let you return to the Glowing Hills. Opening Up the Crystal Forest Portal Voiceovers by Nightsong will notify you that the Earth Essence needed to complete the mastery of Gargoyle command and control, may be found in the Crystal Forests. You'll see that the map now has the Portal to the Crystal Forest visible, as well as the Portal's associated Journey Stone. The Stone and Portal are guarded by two batches of Fire and Ice Golems, level 20 and 22, as well as some level 16 Elementals. You'll need to eliminate these Golems before the Portal (or the Portal to the Song Glass elsewhere in the Glowing Hills) is activated. Much like with the Ice and Fire Essences, once you teleport to the region of the Portal, you cannot return using the nearby Portal's Journey Stone, until all enemies are dead. Now teleport to the Journey Stone at the Portal to the Crystal Forest, and summon your heroes to join you. Attack the Ice Golems and whittle them away. With some luck you can do this without attracting the attention of the Fire Golems standing on the other side of the hilltop. Once the Ice Golems are down, take on the Fire Golems When all the golems are dead, you'll get some XP and the Portal to the Crystal Forest will now be open, as will the Portal to the Song Glass, lying on a short trail leading north away from the Glowing Hills area. 27. The Song Glass Helping Out Malkuth in the Song Glass It's a good idea to make the side trip to the Song Glass, and then proceed to the Crystal Forest and the last few missions of the game. If you approach the Portal to the Song Glass, you'll trigger a cutscene and Nightsong will tell you she suspects the Dark Elf mage Malkuth has been captured by the Clan somewhere in the Song Glass area. Step thru the Portal and arrive in the Song Glass. You'll see a number of Crystal Golems in the immediate vicinity. You should be able to eliminate them without too much effort; pick up the Perfect Crystals they drop. Head up the trail, through the ornate archway, and you'll encounter Malkuth, who seems at ease in front of his hut. Talk to him, and you'll learn the orc chieftan Lokhar has stolen Malkuth's life-sustaining crystal 'Heart', thus preventing Malkuth from leaving the Song Glass. Malkuth will make crystal weapons for you as a reward, if you retrieve his Heart; he'll need 6 Perfect Crystals for each weapon crafted. You should already have 4 crystals from your attack on the golems, so you just need 2 more. However, access to other areas of the Song Glass map, where other Crystals can be obtained, can only be made via Journey Stones, so your avatar will now have to teleport to these locations and Summon the heroes to join him or her. Getting Perfect Crystals for Malkuth's Weapons I first traveled to the Glittering Hills Journey Stone. Kill the Crystal Golems hanging around and you should find quite a few Perfect Crystals, as well as the Sunglass needed to conduct Professor Twiddle's side quest. There are plenty of Perfect Crystals all around the Song Glass map; grab them all, for Malkuth can make you a weapon for every six crystals. Note that there are a total of 46 crystals on this map, either associated with Golems, hilltops (accessible by the flying golems, below) and in Lokhar's camp. You can only make 6 x 6 = 36 crystal's worth of weapons. Depending on how you have fashioned the development of your party members, all of them may (or may not) qualify to use a crystal weapon. Now teleport to the Crystal Passage Journey Stone and kill the Golems there for more Crystals, and the Moonglass. Teleport back to Malkuth, enter the dialogue tree, and have him fashion whatever style of weapon you desire. The crystal weapons he makes are not all that superior to the other weapons in your inventory, but they will come in handy later in the game when you face a tough enemy, the Malar, that are particularly vulnerable to them. Freeing the Prisoners You can teleport to the Prisoner's Camp Journey Stone, kill some more Golems, and get some more crystals. The orc camp here needs a bit of caution; if you try and storm it, you may lose a good chunk of your party members, so lure out orcs and slavers and whittle them away before going into the camp and dismantling the fire towers. Pull the lever and you'll complete the 'Scout' side quest; the scouts were actually Frost Golems ?! These Golems, like the Orc Totems, are pretty pathetic combat units but they can fly to the highlighted mountaintops on the minimap where more Perfect Crystals are located, so have the Golems grab these for you. When you're ready, teleport to the Journey Stone of the Clan camp to take on Lokhar and retrieve Malkuth's Crystal Heart. Defeating Lokhar and Returning Malkuth's Crystal Heart Station your Frost Golems at a safe place, they will be of no help here. There are some more Crystal Golems you can kill, to access more Perfect Crystals. As with the Prisoner's Camp, the Clan camp has some good defenses so be patient in luring out the defenders. Lokhar (level 29) is guarded by some level 26 and level 27 Devastators, so be careful about taking everyone on at once. Be sure to loot Lokhar's corpse for the Heart, and check out the camp for chests with loot and more Perfect Crystals. Travel back to Malkuth's camp and give him his Heart. It turns out he can't leave the Song Glass anyways, but he will fabricate crystal weapons for you, so go thru the dialogue exchanges with him and try and get the appropriate crystal weapon made for each member of your party. Professor Twiddle and the Time Machine Puzzle One more quest remains on the Song Glass map. Teleport to the Journey Stone at Professor Twiddle's laboratory. He has erected Rohen's Time Machine, but has no idea how to start it up. You'll need to figure out which glass- Sunglass or Moonglass - and which set of geodes - - lathanium and iridium - need to be correctly inserted into the machine to get it to work properly. I don't really like these kinds of puzzles, so I consulted the Spellforce 2 Forums at the Phenomics website. Polaris suggest that you examine your uncompleted quests log and the "Odd Codger" entry from long ago in the Rushwater Downs map, for the hint to solving this puzzle. [If you still require help: Kubi the Community Leader at the Forums reveals that you need to insert the moonglass, and into every geode slot a piece of iridium, to get the Machine working. ] Once the Time Twister is operating, talk with Professsor Twiddle to get some XP (that you probably can't exploit) and a powerful crossbow, the Twiddlinium Flame Thrower. The Professor will now enter the Machine and travel back thru time to the Rushwater Downs map, where, while fighting Doctor Mauser, you will observe him materializing and revealing to you the ingredients needed to operate the Twister that sent him there ! Next to Twiddle's laboratory are two cages containing Giant Lizards (28); you can operate the nearby levers to release these and promptly kill them; each drops a Jewel. With the Song Glass map completed, and your avatar - if at level 30 - no longer able to level up, you might as well tie up loose ends before going on to the last two maps in the game. 28. Side Quest: Westguard Final Westguard Campaign This segment is probably less perfunctory if done earlier in the game, but this is the point at which I completed the Westguard map. Upon teleporting to Westhome you'll see a nice new wall around the castle. See Bailiff Utrecht for a reward. Talk to him again and learn, with some exasperation, that the Beasts in the SW portion of the map are now rebelling and attacking the city. At this point your party is so powerful they could probably level the beast camp on their own, but anyways, assemble your army and party and make for the beast camp in the SW. You should have some towers up, from earlier Westguard missions, on the likely attack routes that the beasts will take, so this will slow them somewhat. There are actually quite a lot of beasts spawning in this short period, so you'll have to grind them down as you approach the entrance to their camp. Once you've eliminated most of the beast army you can enter their camp and begin leveling the buildings. If you previously defeated Tor Helicos at the Arena in the Gate of Swords, and told him to go to Westguard to serve you rather than killing him, you should also trigger an amusing cutscene between Tor and Aya, his paramour barbarian girl. Once the beast camp is destroyed you will hear a voiceover from the Town Crier that the Westguard is now, finally, at peace. When you're ready to travel to the Crystal Forests, teleport to the Crystal Wastes map and enter the Portal to the Forest. 29. The Crystal Forest The Crystal Forest: Procuring Earth Essence When you arrive, it's clear that the Realm is stubbornly defending access to Malacay's laboratory, despite the fact that he can materialize and take control of it at any moment, for his own nefarious purposes. So, you're going to have to create an army and defeat the Realm forces, and hopefully prevent Malacay from gaining access to his lab. It's helpful to know the geography of this map: you have a flatland area here at the location of the Portal from the Wastes, where you'll construct your base. Then there is a Plateau directly above the flatland, where there is a large Realm base and a smaller one, as well as two massive, closed Gates that lead to the mountainside proper. Sprawling all over the mountainside is a huge Realm city, and a portal that will permit you to access Malacay's laboratory, which is in turn located at the summit of the mountain. Needless to say, as this is the last big RTS mission of the game, you'll have a lot of action on your plate. This map is not difficult in the sense of having your forces hammered into the ground, but it is a war of attrition requiring patience and attention to small details. I actually found the hardest part to be controlling my army in the middle of combat. You can also anticipate some framerate drops during the more intense battle sequences. First, take out the steppe lions lurking in the vicinity of your HQ so they don't eat your dark elf workers. There will be some stray Earth Elementals around here that need to be eliminated as well. Once the area is safe, you know the drill: workers, stonemason hut, smeltery, alchemist, farms, Training Ground. The best position from which to defend your base from upcoming Realm attacks is the narrow path leading to the east, with a pool of water on one side, and a deep gully on the other. Station some towers here and when you get some initial Shadow Blades and / or Sorceresses created, have them mixed in with the towers. The first forays against your base will come from lone elf archers or paladins, and this will be enough to deter them for a bit. You're going to need to procure the Earth Essence to create gargoyles, so you'll need to go after the large Elemental camp in the south. There are a number of Nodes here that, as always, should be destroyed first. I was able to take on this Elemental camp with my party alone, although I did lose several members in the process. When the last Elemental is killed, you'll get the Earth Essence and the ability to produce gargoyle structures and units back at your base. As soon as the Elemental camp is cleaned out, send some workers running thru it and on a little ways to the east, where in a little dead-end natural arena containing lots of big crystals, there are sizeable stone and silver deposits to exploit. Also, get your party back to aid in the defense of your towers, because sooner or later a powerful force of Realm elves, paladins, and dwarf defenders will be attacking them. Gargoyles After all the effort put into gathering the ice, fire, and earth essences, I personally found the gargoyles to be a bit underwhelming. The frost and fire units take up two slots each, and as flying units, are vulnerable to the elf archers of the Realm and ranged attacks from defensive towers (as you probably have guessed, you're going to have to eliminate a big, big, BIG Realm base in this map). You're best not creating any flying units until later in the map. The stone gargoyles (level 18) are expensive and require three slots, but they are good melee units to tangle with Realm Defenders, Paladins, and Titans, and are certainly more sturdy than Death Knights for close-in combat. I was pleased with my mix of some dark elf necromancers, arachnis, and 10 - 13 stone gargoyles. Anyways, fend off the occasional Realm attack, construct the buildings needed to create higher-level units, and build up your army to at least 55 or 60 (and ultimately 70-this is the max for now) troop slots. Up the Trail to the Rim of the Plateau Your force will have to ascend the trail northwards to a series of plateaus where the Realm forces are located. I found Shae to be very prone to dying in this part of the map, as a mage level 23, so I left her behind in my base, and you may want to do this as well for any weaklings in your own party. Head out from your base on the northbound trail, and wipe out the lone elf archer or paladin in your path, but stop just short of where the nearest Realm towers lining the cliffs overlooking the trail can reach you with their bolts. Group your party and the stone gargoyles together, and rush them on up the trail; when you reach the entrance to the plateau, hook westwards around the line of towers and make a 'gauntlet' run for the open area to the SW where a squad of steppe lions are lurking. Take down the lions and Hold here while you heal up. Then you can send small groups of stone gargoyles to destroy the towers, while your party members repel the elf archers. Methodically work your way from tower to tower, and keep an eye on party members who succumb to enemy fire. You will also need to exercise constant 'hold' control on the gargoyles, as they seem to have a real liking for wandering off to attack on their own. (The large enemy bases on this map means that your troops, in general, will tend to sprawl to a greater degree than with previous maps). A treant will eventually come up to try and stop you, so be ready to send some gargoyles to kill him. Once the line of towers overlooking the trail approaches to the plateau are eliminated, you can safely bring up the remainder of your army. Destroying the Large Realm Base and the Small Realm Base on the Plateau The Realm base here on the plateau is large and well-defended, so as always, keep watch on your troops and don't neglect the defensive towers. Your necromancers or arachnis should spawn a healthy number of skeletons and spiders, so let them do the dirty work if at all possible. Keep an eye out for the Realm Titan at the beginning of the battle. None of the units available to you here are very good at leveling buildings so it may take a while to eliminate the base entirely. There will be chests to loot as well as dropped batches of lenya, silver, and stone, the latter of which you will probably be quite short of by now. Reinforce and replace, and now take your army and head along the trail leading south, then west along the rim of the plateau, so that you are curving back to overlook your base and the region of the Portal to the Crystal Wastes. Be careful while you do this, because the Realm City above you on the mountainside will periodically disgorge a sizeable force of paladins, defenders, archers, and even a level 30 Titan, who will make a beeline for your base. If you see this happening you'll obviously need to rush back to your base to defend it. If you have a good number of towers choking off access to your base this will slow down the Realm hit squad and give you more time to catch up to them. The curving trail edging the plateau will dead-end at a smaller Realm camp that you should be able to crush without loss. There are more high-level weapons in the chest here, as well as dropped resources that will be needed later on. Be careful you don't send your avatar too close to the Journey Stone of The Passage up on the cliffside as you explore this region ! You DON'T want to trigger its activation (and following cutscene) just yet. You may observe that among the crystal formations there are two massive, closed gates, leading north to what you will soon discover is a very, very large Realm camp (more like a city) sprawling on the mountainside. With the large and small Realm camps here on the Plateau wiped out, and stray steppe lions and elementals eliminated from the area, you can move your army back to the site of the former large Realm camp and station them there. Take your avatar, and make a solo trip to The Passage Journey Stone you glimpsed earlier. Sneaking Into the Realm City With Assassins As soon as you trigger the activation of the Journey Stone you'll get a cutscene. When the cutscene finishes, have your avatar (and Nightsong, who will join you by default) run back to join your army, so a Realm foray can't suddenly wipe them out. [The Shadow Warrior you summoned at the Journey Stone will pretty much do nothing for the rest of the mission except show up now and then to lend some advice, so ignore him.] You'll find that you have been given 1000 stone, your troop slot has been increased to 80, and the Shadow Upgrade is now available at your HQ. Purchase the Upgrade, have your workers build a Shadow Crystal, and create 8 - 10 Assassins (if you need to liquidate some of your existing troops to meet this number, go ahead and do so). Group the Assassins and send them up the mountain to the site of the Passage Journey Stone. Since only your avatar has a ring that permits him to see them, the Assassins can roam anywhere without being detected by Realm forces- as long as they don't initiate an attack. So have your squad of Assassins stroll thru the nearby heavily defended, but wide-open, road into the Realm City. Save often in case you accidentally do an 'attack' cursor-click, instead of a 'movement' cursor click - this will be fatal to your Assassins in the midst of the Realm city. Have the Assassins scout out the place. It is huge and there are quite a few defenders, as well as patches of resources. While this spying mission is going on, make sure any Realm forays against your base are intercepted and destroyed by your army back at the Plateau When you're done with your scouting, turn back to the Gates, and select the one located furthest east for your 'sneak' attack. The Assassin attack is like the Thief 'Backstab' in the D & D games; they can deliver very high initial damage, but once revealed, they become average melee fighters. Have your Assassins take on the Realm defenders at the Gate. You may lose 5 or more Assassins but you should kill all the defenders. Have an Assassin click on the 'gear' icon to open the Gate. Once the Gate opens, move your army up to it and carefully enter the outskirts of the Realm City. You'll also want to have 10 - 15 workers from your base advancing up the mountain to join you. Demolishing Ragna's Camp To the west of your entrance point is a sizeable camp with a mage named Ragna the Cruel leading its defense. This is your target. Bring your army up and start the battle. You can have your Assassins join in, but when they die, I recommend you replace them with sturdier units like arachnis or gargoyles, since they've served their purpose. Grind away at Ragna's enclave until you've leveled every building. Then turn your attention to the area just northwest of it, where there is a silver field and an HQ and Citadel. Focus on destroying these buildings. There will be lots of Realm workers spawning here, but you should not have many Realm troops to deal with. When this segment of the City is destroyed, the attacks on your own base should stop. Now you can have your own workers exploit the nearby stone and silver. Take your army back south, near Ragna's campsite, and eliminate the small force of guards at the other, closed Gate so they can't launch attacks on your workers while you're off wandering around the mountain. As the trail climbs a bit further northwest up the mountainside, there are some lenya patches bracketing the road. You can harvest these without triggering an attack by the elf archers stationed on the road a little more to the north, if you place your alchemist south of the patches. Get the fallen Assassins replaced with the unit of your choice, restore your 80 troop slots, and prepare to clean up the remaining Realm forces on the mountain. Eliminating the Realm Camps Up the western and eastern spurs of the mountain trail are several forces blocking the trail, consisting of a Titan and some archers, and along with them small camps of farms and towers. These smaller camps don't spawn troops, but they will present a danger to the flying units you will shortly need to create, and they also offer some nice loot and resources. So it's a good idea to send your army out to eliminate these satellite camps. While you set about doing this, you should have enough stone collected to have your workers construct a Black Fortress and Tower of Faces here on the mountain side to allow you to spawn new troops close by. Be sure to examine the weapons and armor you acquire on this portion of the map, because they are all high-level, good quality items, and equipping your party with them will help you out in the RPG section to come. When you've destroyed the last of the Realm forces, send your army back to the area where your workers and buildings are, and park them there. They really won't be needed for the rest of the map. The Crystal Melody Puzzle By now you may have noticed what seems to be an altar of some sort here on the mountain side; this is a 'Humming Crystal' portal with a level 28 golem guarding it. Kill the golem and interact with the Humming Crystal. It will play a series of 5 musical notes when you strike it with the hammer. Exit the dialogue with the Humming Crystal and you'll discover that five sites are now revealed on the minimap; each of these sites is an individual peak on the mountain top, and contains a Crystal Shard guarded by a Realm mage (griffon). You're going to have to create some flying units and retrieve the five crystal shards from these five sites. You'll probably need to kill off some of your melee troops to free up troop slots, but make a mixture of 8 or 9 frost and fire gargoyles. Send them to kill each mage and grab the crystals. Be careful about sending them too close to the center of the mountain top, because there are golems and elementals lurking there that will bring down the gargoyles very easily. Save often ! Your gargoyle 'air force' should have no trouble wiping out each lone mage. When they've collected all five crystal shards, park them in a safe place and have your avatar approach the Humming Crystal portal structure again. You will need to insert each of the five crystal shards in the correct order to duplicate the series of notes you hear when you bang the Humming Crystal with the hammer. A mistake forces you to start all over again with the insertion sequence. The dialogue box will notify you when you make a correct insertion. [In my encounters with the puzzle, the correct order was: 3, 2, 4, 5, 1.]. The Crystal Portal Journey Stone to the top of the mountain, and thus Malacay's laboratory, is now active. Teleport to it to enter the final segment of the Crystal Forest map. Malacay's Lab and the Mosaic Puzzle Summon your heroes and the flying gargoyles and set off down the trail to Malacay's lab. There are groups of golems and elementals guarding chests containing weapons and armor and most importantly, Tiles (not to be confused with the Drakkar gaming tiles you have been picking up throughout the game). Make sure you grab the Tiles. When you reach Malacay's lab, you'll discover that, after grinding thru the most intense RTS map in the game, Malacay.....isn't there. The scroll on the nearby podium will tell you he has created another lair (the 'Steel Shore') that can only be accessed thru solving a special puzzle. Loot the chests here in the lab for more Tiles. Strike out to the very top of the mountain, killing more golems and elementals and obtaining more Tiles on the way. There are 8 Tiles you'll need to obtain. Near Malacay's circle mosaic is a Giant called The Guardian, level 28; he shouldn't be too much trouble to bring down and he has some nice weapons and armor. Approach the mosaic and you'll see there are 8 outer slots, or 'spokes', and a center wheel. Examine a spoke and you'll see there are 5 symbols arranged on it; there is one symbol in the center of this arrangement. Interact with the spoke, and insert whatever tile into it, that's the one in the center of the spoke. The spoke will now be highlighted in color with a symbol impressed on its surface. The center wheel of the mosaic will now be rotating. Look to see the location on this wheel, of the symbol you just activated (you may have to zoom in the camera view to make these symbols legible). You will now need to insert your remaining Tiles into the spokes, corresponding to the location of the symbols displayed on the center wheel. So for example we'll say the star symbol on the wheel is at, arbitrarily, 12 o'clock, and a spiral symbol is next to it, in a clockwise orientation, at the one o'clock position. Thus if you have a star Tile in a spoke, in the spoke next to it at the one o'clock orientation, you'll need to place a spiral Tile. Got it ? After all the Tiles have been correctly placed, the Mosaic will be activated and a Portal to Malacay's Secret Fortress will appear in its center. Step thru to the last map of the game ! 30. The Steel Shore The Steel Shore: Combating the Black Towers You're at Malacay's secret fortress, which is guarded by overgrown millipedes called Malar. You will inherit a party of 7 Ravages, which are more powerful versions of the Assassins from the previous map. Like the Assassins, the Ravages are invisible until they attack, and while their first strike is very lethal, after that they are mediocre melee fighters. It you've taken the pains to complete the Song Glass map, you can arm your party with Crystal Weapons that inflict 30% more damage to the Malar. Kill the two Malar right in front of you, Save the game, and advance just a bit. You'll quickly discover there are four Black Towers here in the fortress courtyard, and the towers can zap your party dead in a shockingly short time. Phenomic intends that you use the Ravages to destroy the Towers, but if you're not careful you'll likely lose all the Ravages in this process, which will make the subsequent combat elsewhere on the map difficult (if not impossible). ozambersand at the Spellforce 2 Forums recommends a perfect strategy: having a mage cast Chromatic Shield on a Ravage, then sending the protected Ravage to destroy a Black Tower. The first hit by the Ravage will destroy the Tower. Have the Ravage immediately run back to your party so when the spell expires he won't be exposed to fire from the other Towers, and can recharge his powerful 'first strike' ability. Patiently recast the spell on the Ravage, send him back to the next Tower, and so on until all towers in the vicinity are gone. Without any foreknowledge of this strategy, I was fortunate to arrive at the Steel Shore with Shea able to cast Chromatic Shield, so I could take advantage of ozambersand's approach. If you find yourself without the ability to cast this spell, Randroid at the Spellforce Forums has a more complicated but nonetheless successful tactic to destroying the towers that you can try: he recommends having two Ravages attack two towers simultaneously, so that once 'uncloaked', each Ravage is not immediately vulnerable to a killing strike from the opposite tower. This calls for some skillfull use of grouping and movement controls. You can consult the Forums for further instructions. On this topic, Spellforce 2 player Handel writes in: 'Explaining how to go through the death towers you put lot of advice besides the most obvious - the description of the towers says they cast "extinct" for 15,000 health points. Well, at this point the avatar has more then 15,000 health points so towers are as dangerous as a farm to him. Of course he has to run from the malars, but if you stuff him with high health items even a single malar will not present a danger.' Regardless of which method you choose, you will need to have at least 5 Ravages survive the tower-leveling section of this map, to be able to complete the end game at the Steel Shore. It helps to prevent them from engaging in any combat with the Malar, because they are at a disadvantage doing so. Methodically make your way thru the city, with your party killing any Malar, and your Ravages going for the towers. Be sure to Save often so if you blunder and lose all your Ravages or party in one ill-timed move, you can reload and try again. Note that at the corners of the plazas in the city are what appear to be churches and that the grounds of these churches are enclosed areas that can be accessed only thru a narrow gate. When you get further into the city you'll meet Malacay (in his incarnation as Sorvina) blocking a road. Send your avatar towards him and provoke Malacay into taunting you about 'the child trying to destroy the father'. At this point he will spawn a big bunch of Malar; have your avatar retreat to where you have the rest of your party, and then kill off the Malar as they come rolling up. The Big Battle in the Pentagram This is tricky but with some good party management, not too difficult. Once you finish making your way thru the city and eliminating the pain towers you'll come to a series of boulevards and viaducts that leads to Malacay's central 'Malar' lair, a large room with a pentagram inscribed on the floor in gold paint. Malacay hovers in the center of this room in a defensive 'bubble'. As soon as you enter the outer vestibule of this room, a series of Malar will spawn from one or more of the five Dragon Altars located here, and come rolling to attack you. So, rather than sending everyone blundering into this room and promptly getting killed by ever-spawning Malar, station your party back a ways - a long way back ! Remember the churches sitting on the corner plazas of the city ? Find one closest to the viaduct to Malacay's room, and station your party on the grounds of such a church, so that the only avenue for an attacking force is channeled thru the narrow gate to the church grounds. Arm your two weakest party members - probably Lya and Shea - with Healing staffs, Hold them in place, and make sure everyone in the party has a healing spell (or two) in their inventory. Have your Ravages even further back in the safety of the church grounds, because if at all possible you will not want to use them in the upcoming combat. Now send your avatar, or another strong party member, on a solo trip up the road and into the entranceway to the Malar Lair / pentagram room. As soon as he or she triggers the spawning of the Malar, have him or her sprint back to join the other party members at the church grounds. When a Malar or two comes rolling up to your group, wipe it out, but don't allow your party to go running off on suicide attacks. You should be able to defend this position against a steady stream of one or two Malar without too much difficulty. Save the game, then select a Ravage and send him running all the long way into Malacay's room. Then direct him to one of the five Dragon Altars, and have the Ravage uncloak and destroy the Altar. The Ravage will be immediately killed but that's OK. Upon its destruction, the Altar will stop generating Malar but it WILL spawn a 'Blood Ghost', which is essentially a giant-sized, level 30 version of one of your party members. The Blood Ghost will take off running for your party. When the Blood Ghost arrives, it may or may not be accompanied by a Malar or two. Ignore the Malar and have your party concentrate on killing the Blood Ghost, then any Malar. You should be able to do this without losing more than two or three party members, but if things look desperate, you can (carefully !) have your Ravage reserves join in the fight. Heal up, Save the game, and then select another Ravage, and send him off to wipe out another Altar. When this Altar's Blood Ghost spawns, patiently await the Ghost back at the church grounds, and when it arrives, kill it. Repeat this maneuver until all five Dragon Altars have been destroyed. This will cause Malacay to flee and stop the spawning of any more Malar. The 'pentagram ' room is now reasonably safe to enter, so send your party (the Ravages are no longer vital to the mission) into the room. Solving the Pentagram Puzzle Kill any surviving Malar en route to the Pentagram room, and any baby Malar in the room itself. In order to open a Portal to the game's final level, you'll need to solve a relatively simple puzzle involving the pentagram inscribed on the floor of this room. You can trigger a 'cup' at the apex of the pentagram's five points to catch fire simply by running up and standing next to it. To solve the puzzle you have to deduce the correct order in which to light each cup. If you make a wrong guess the fires already lit will all go out and you'll have to start all over again. You are free to run thru the pentagram as you go about from apex to apex. Need the solution ? At first only one of these cups will catch fire when you stand by it; let's call that apex the 6 o'clock position. Next run to the apex that corresponds to the 1 o'clock position. Then go to the 9 o'clock apex, then the 3 o'clock, then finish with the 11 o'clock. You should see a Portal appear in the center of the pentagram. [Again, I am not 100% sure if this puzzle solution is the same for all copies of the game, or randomized]. Arm your party with ranged weapons, Save the game, and step into the Portal. The End of Malacay You'll be teleported into the last pentagram room on the map, and here it's just your party and Malacay. I would recommend that you select Nightsong and another of your weakest party members (Shea comes to mind), stash them in the anteroom to this area, and Hold them there while you battle Malacay with your other party members. These two tend to die a lot, and it can be annoying to have to devote time and mana to reviving them. Head for the pentagram and place your party in its center. Malacay will teleport from one apex to another and bombard you with spells. It's easier to just stay in the center and peck away at him with ranged weapons. His spells probably won't cause much damage, simply apply healing spells when needed. Whittling down Malacay's health takes a while, so patiently pursue him around the pentagram. After some time passes, you should see his health bar start to ratchet inexorably down. Keep up the pressure, and he'll eventually succumb. Watch the cutscene. Note that, if you have some side quests still left to complete, you can still return to any other map in the game, just click on the World Map icon in the upper left corner of the screen, or press the M key, and select the Journey Stone destination that interests you. ******************************************************************************* What's next ? The expansion pack Spellforce 2: Dragon Storm ! While it is not available as a standalone product in the US, it is available as part of the "Spellforce Universe" collection at amazon.com for 29.99. "Dragon Storm" is a great sequel to Spellforce 2. Check out my walkthrough at Game FAQ if you get stuck ! As of October 2008 it looks like Phenomic's next game (and their first as a EA-owned company) will be 'Battleforge'. It's going to be an online RTS with a trading card-based gameplay design. There will evidently be hundreds of units rendered onscreen at once; screenshots of the game look pretty good. I can't say I'm all that thrilled with a trading card component to an RTS but I guess we'll have to wait and see how the game actually plays. 'Battleforge' is scheduled for a Q1 2009 release. ******************************************************************************* 31. Miscellaneous Sevenkeeps Quests Rather than lengthen the main walkthrough section unnecessarily, I've incorporated the numerous Sevenkeeps side quests here. Those side quests I completed in the course of pursuing the main quest, are described in the respective walkthrough section above. The side quests listed here can be done at any period in the game after you return to Sevenkeeps from Underhall, including after you finish the Steel Shore map (although killing level 9 harpies with your level 30 avatar may seem like a lukewarm challenge). While they are essentially 'FedEx' style tasks, and may not offer a lot in terms of loot, you can pick up Drakkar tiles, weapons, and of course XP by completing these side quests. As well, they can serve to gain you druids and soldiers from the mages and militia, respectively, for the "Rescue the Elf Ambassadress" segment of the Main Quest. Militia General Irion: Speak to the General and he'll ask that you kill 10 harpies. Head outside the walls of the city, and these shouldn't be hard to find - watch out for ogres and wasps, too. You'll also want to have ranged weapons equipped. Return to the General after killing 10, he'll tell you to see General Redmond, standing close by, for a reward. Speak to Irion again to get a side quest for a missing banner; it seems it was blown away to the NW in a storm, and no one has since found it. Teleport to the Sacred Grove Journey Stone and a little ways to the east you'll see the Hermit. Talk with him and he'll reveal that he not only has the banner, but has been using it as a blanket ! I had my avatar insist on taking the banner back and leaving the hermit in the cold. Return to Irion, then Redmond, and get some nice items and XP for the banner. Lieutenant Falida: Speak with Falida and she'll tell you she's suspicious of a character named Lemuel, who is located in the NW corner of the map, near to Hagard's fortress. She wants you to gain his confidence and discover if he is planning a theft of some sort. Go speak to Lemuel and hint that you'd like to join his gang; he'll ask you to pickpocket 5 purses for him, and he'll give you the Claw of Pickpocketing to aid you in this endeavor. Head into town and have your avatar walk close to any Citizen of Sevenkeeps to 'snap' their pocket. You may have to pick a good 10 - 15 pockets total before you can obtain the 5 purses. Return to Lemuel with the purses. He's still not willing to trust you, and wants you to lift the day's takings from 3 of the chests in the trader's quarter. This must be done only at night, and you must beware the Night Watch. I was unable to steal from the three chests without attracting the attention of the Watch, even if I was sure they weren't around to observe me thieving (?!) In fact I wound up killing two or three of them ! [On this topic, Spellforce 2 player Bugz Podder emailed me: 'On one of the missions you had to steal 3 boxes of loot, and you commented that you weren't be able to avoid the guards. Well, here is a relatively simple strategy. Note that the box on the left is relatively isolated and is within a small perimeter, so it is crucial that you pick that up first. The key is then journey immediately out of the area to the market place. That area is much more vast and you are able to hide without the guards see you, since the visibility is increased as well.'] Return to Lemuel; in the conversation he'll accuse you of alerting the Watchmen, but then he'll agree that it's hard to steal from the chests without attracting their attention, so it's no deal-breaker. He'll now give you his plans to break into the Palace and steal some valuables. At this point you can either join him, or return to Falida with the plans and turn them over to her. She'll tell you to see general Redmond for a reward (XP and some Drakkar tiles). If you choose not to turn Lemuel in, but instead, in the dialogue tree alert him that the militia is aware of his plans, he'll give you the Claw in gratitude and call off his planned break-in. Go back to Lieutenant Falida and tell her you failed to discover Lemuel's plans, and while she'll be disappointed in you, you will still get some XP for completing the side quest. The Magicians Alba: If you ask her for a task she'll direct you to the SW corner of the map and the presence of Earth Elementals, five of which you have to kill to obtain their Hearts of Stone. Teleport to the Spider Lair Journey Stone and close by you should see a batch of Earth Elementals. Kill the five, get their hearts, and return to Alba, and then head mage Alyre, for your reward. Zacharias: Interrupt Zacharias's babblings and he'll request that you obtain five different mushrooms for him. These can be recovered from the Sevenkeeps area. If you've been diligent about collecting any and all loot since you first entered the map, you may already have picked up some (or all) of these mushrooms. When you have them, return to Zacharias, then Alyre, to complete the side quest. The Crafters Flann Gunderson: Talk with Flann, of Spellforce 1 fame, and he'll tell you a sad tale: en route from Liannon to Sevenkeeps he was attacked and robbed of his merchandise by bandits. Retrieving the stolen goods will earn you a decent amount of XP and some items. The bandit camp is in the SW corner of the map; have your heroes accompany you, because once inside the camp you'll encounter successive spawnings of bandits. After you kill about 10 or 15, the spawning will cease and you can take Flann's merchandise from the chest in the camp. As you exit the camp you'll trigger the spawning of Thief Siobhan; talk to her and she'll urge you to split Flann's goods with her 50:50. If you're of a moral disposition, you can turn her down and instead teleport around the city delivering the 6 items Flann was carrying, to their respective owners. After each delivery the grateful recipient will ask you to talk with the clan / faction leader for a reward. The recipients / leaders are: Gallius and Alastar; Odger and Laudinia; Firin and Cardogan; Thoya and Cardogan; Talienne and Alyre; and Jorge and Laudinia.