Might and Magic VI - Basics Guide
v0.11 - July 15th, 2004
©2003-2004 Ęther SPOON! / Robert M. Shivers
webmaster [at thingy] vandaliersheart [dot thingy] com

**Table of Contents**
Introduction
Choosing Character Classes
Skills
    Weapons
    Armor
    Other Skills
    Magic
      Body
      Spirit
      Mind
      Fire
      Air
      Water
      Earth
      Light
      Dark
NPCs
Class Combinations
Special Thanks
Disclaimer
Version History

Introduction
******************************************************************************
This is the Might and Magic VI basics guide.  In here, you will find
  absolutely positively no quest info.  This is just to get you started and
  so you can make sure that the characters and skills you choose are the right
  ones for you.  If you want a full walkthrough, there are many available at
  GameFAQs.com - soon, my own full wakthrough shall be there as well.
No spoilers are marked in this guide.  There isn't much to spoil in MM6, but 
  you have been warned.
Might and Magic VI is a first person party-based RPG for the PC released in
  1996.  Fun game too.  If you like it, I highly recommend MM7 as well.


Choosing Character Classes
******************************************************************************
First off, there are a total of 6 character classes in Might and Magic VI.

Knight
Sorcerer
Cleric
Paladin
Archer
Druid

When you start the game, you pick out your four characters that will be with
you in the game forever (unless they die and you don't bother raising them).
You can't change this later!  What you decide now affects the game - forever.

***************************************
 Knight -> Cavalier -> Champion
***************************************
  The Knight is your standard "I like Swords!" class (only substitute 'sword' 
for any weapon you want).  They have the highest HP base (4), but no MP or 
spells.  Ever.  
Spellcasting Stat:  None.

HP Base:  4 + 2 (Cavalier) + 2 (Champion)
MP Base:  0 + 0 (Cavalier) + 0 (Champion)

Class rating:  **½ - I don't like the class personally that much, and it is
  rarely even useful...  especially endgame.

Weapons:
  Staff
  Sword (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Dagger (Can start with this skill)
  Axe (Can start with this skill)
  Spear (Can start with this skill)
  Mace
  Blaster
  Bow (Can start with this skill)
Armor:
  Shield (Can start with this skill)
  Leather (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Chain (Can start with this skill)
  Plate
Skills:
  Identify Item
  Merchant
  Repair Item
  Body Building (Can start with this skill)
  Diplomacy
  Perception (Can start with this skill)
  Disarm Trap (Can start with this skill)
  Learning

***************************************
 Sorcerer -> Wizard -> Archmage
***************************************
  Your stereotypical spellslinger.  They have access to the Elemental schools 
of magic, as well as the mirrored path (Light/Dark).
Spellcasting Stat:  Intellect.

HP Base:  2 + 1 (Wizard) + 1 (Archmage)
    NOTE:  According to the game, it should be 1.  It isn't though.
MP Base:  3 + 1 (Wizard) + 1 (Archmage)
    NOTE:  According to the game, it should be 4.  It isn't though.

Class rating:  ***** - I love this class.  It is very difficult for me to not
  have at least 1 or 2 sorcerers in every group of mine.  :)

Weapons:
  Staff (Can start with this skill)
  Dagger (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Bow
  Blaster
Armor:
  Leather (Can start with this skill)
Skills:
  Identify Item (Can start with this skill)
  Meditation (Can start with this skill)
  Merchant
  Repair Item (Can start with this skill)
  Diplomacy (Can start with this skill)
  Perception
  Disarm Trap
  Learning
  Body Building
Magic:
  Fire Magic (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Air Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Water Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Earth Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Light Magic
  Dark Magic


***************************************
 Cleric -> Priest -> High Priest
***************************************
  Your stereotypical healer.  Has both self spells and mirrored path spells.
Spellcasting Stat:  Personality.

HP Base:  2 + 1 (Priest) + 1 (High Priest)
MP Base:  3 + 1 (Priest) + 1 (High Priest)

Class rating:  *** - To be honest, this class isn't that great..  compared to
  its sibling in Mirrored magic (the Sorcerer) at least.  Yeah, sure, a healer
  with high MP is a good thing and all, but....  healing spells kinda suck in 
  M&M6 for the entire latter part of the game.  Luckily Clerics get better 
  towards the end of the game with their new offensive arsenal in Dark Magic.

Weapons:
  Staff (Can start with this skill)
  Mace (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Bow
  Blaster
Armor:
  Shield (Can start with this skill)
  Leather (Can start with this skill)
  Chain
Skills:
  Identify Item (Can start with this skill)
  Meditation (Can start with this skill)
  Merchant
  Repair Item (Can start with this skill)
  Diplomacy (Can start with this skill)
  Perception
  Disarm Trap
  Learning
  Body Building
Magic:
  Body Magic (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Mind Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Spirit Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Light Magic
  Dark Magic

***************************************
 Paladin -> Crusader -> Hero
***************************************
  The Paladin in MM6 is a hybrid Knight/Cleric.  Effective too.  Has Self 
spells.
Spellcasting Stat:  Personality.

HP Base:  3 + 1 (Crusader) + 1 (Hero)
MP Base:  2 + 1 (Crusader) + 1 (Hero)

Class rating:  **** - Better then the Cleric, that is for sure.  To be honest,
  this class is the best class in the game for combining two classes
  effectively.  Has great HP, and enough MP to actually be useful healing.
  After all - this class doesn't really need offensive magic unless fighting 
  oozes.  I hate oozes.  Of course, since Paladins have Self and not Elemental
  Magic, they can't do anything against Oozes anyways.

Weapons:
  Staff (Starts with this skill automatically)
  Sword
  Dagger (Can start with this skill)
  Axe
  Spear (Can start with this skill)
  Mace (Can start with this skill)
  Blaster
  Bow
Armor:
  Shield (Can start with this skill)
  Leather (Can start with this skill)
  Chain (Can start with this skill)
  Plate
Skills:
  Identify Item
  Merchant
  Repair Item
  Body Building
  Diplomacy (Can start with this skill)
  Perception (Can start with this skill)
  Disarm Trap (Can start with this skill)
  Learning
  Meditation
Spells:
  Body Magic
  Mind Magic
  Spirit Magic (Starts with this skill automatically)


***************************************
 Archer -> Battle Mage -> Warrior Mage
***************************************
  The Archer (hybrid Knight/Sorcerer) is a very effective elemental caster as 
well as a great fighter.
Spellcasting Stat:  Intellect.

HP Base:  3 + 1 (Battle Mage) + 1 (Warrior Mage)
MP Base:  2 + 1 (Battle Mage) + 1 (Warrior Mage)

Class rating:  **** - If you are going for a Melee heavy party and want some 
  elemental backup, the Archer is for you.  Best class ever for that.
  However, the Sorcerer outshines the Archer in most ways.  If you don't have
  any melee support in your character lineup and want to throw someone in, I 
  suggest throwing out a Cleric for a Paladin instead of throwing out a 
  Sorcerer for an Archer...  that is, unless you don't have any Sorcerers.

Weapons:
  Staff
  Sword (Can start with this skill)
  Dagger (Can start with this skill)
  Axe (Can start with this skill)
  Spear
  Mace
  Blaster
  Bow (Starts with this skill automatically)
Armor:
  Leather (Can start with this skill)
  Chain
Skills:
  Identify Item (Can start with this skill)
  Merchant
  Repair Item
  Body Building
  Diplomacy (Can start with this skill)
  Perception (Can start with this skill)
  Disarm Trap (Can start with this skill)
  Learning
  Meditation
Spells:
  Fire Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Air Magic (Starts with this skill autmatically)
  Water Magic
  Earth Magic


***************************************
 Druid -> Great Druid -> Arch Druid
***************************************
  Hybrid Sorcerer/Cleric.  Has both elemental and self spells, but no mirrored
path spells.
Spellcasting Stat:  Intellect and Personality.  Both impact a druid's
  spellcasting skills, but neither as much as a single stat on any other 
  character.

HP Base:  2 + 1 (Great Druid) + 1 (Arch Druid)
MP Base:  3 + 1 (Great Druid) + 1 (Arch Druid)

Class rating:  ***½ - Ehh...  great class, except that it has more skills to 
  spread out then any other class really...  That causes problems if this is
  your only spellcaster in a group, or even your backup caster.  However, in 
  pure caster groups the Druid rocks.  Great for a second healer or a third 
  nuker.

Weapons:
  Staff (Start with this skill automatically)
  Mace (Can start with this skill)
  Dagger
  Bow
  Blaster
Armor:
  Leather (Can start with this skill)
  Shield
Skills:
  Identify Item (Can start with this skill)
  Merchant
  Repair Item (Can start with this skill)
  Body Building
  Diplomacy
  Perception
  Disarm Trap
  Learning (Can start with this skill) 30 18/10 18/10 18/7
  Meditation (Can start with this skill)
Magic:
  Body Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Mind Magic
  Spirit Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Fire Magic
  Air Magic
  Water Magic (Can start with this skill)
  Earth Magic (Start with this skill automatically)


Skills
************************************************************

Certain skills are more effective in certain groups then others.  Some skills
 are always effective, and other skills are never effective.

***************************************
Weapons
***************************************

Staff - Well, to be blunt, this is the single crappiest weapon in MM6.  It is 
  two handed, and does an average of one point more damage then a long dagger.
  Ignore the skill completely on all characters, all groups, with one 
  exception - if you don't want your Sorcerer to melee at all, Expert this one
  just for the +4 AC benefit.  Might as well, right?
 Basic:  375+ gold (reduced by merchant)
    New Sorpigal, Blades' End
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.  
    Misty Islands, inside the town near the inn.
    New Sorpigal, south of the town of New Sorpigal.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, 5000 gold
    Silver Cove, on the North Island behind the inn.

Sword - Now, most people believe that the sword is one of the best weapons in
  any game.  It isn't in MM6.  In fact, if you are in a skill-starved group, 
  it is *worse* then most weapons (save the Staff).  The reason being is that 
  the sword isn't that fast unless you dump a LOT of skillpoints into it.  At
  that point, the sword is great...  but until then, it isn't so hot.  Can do
  a lot of damage, but not much else.  Two handed swords (with the relic
  Hercules being the only exception) suck, so don't bother.  
  Skill starved groups, ignore the skill.  All other groups, if you have a 
  Melee character, go for the skill.
 Basic:  375+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Cleric/Druid/Wizard.
    New Sorpigal, Blades' End
    Free Haven, Duelists' Edge
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, right next to the sword shop.
    Free Haven, near the southern alchemy shop in a duplex.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, Champion promotion quest.
    Blackshire, near the southern fountain.

Dagger - Ironically, most MM6 vets claim that this is the best weapon in MM6.
  It is - for skill starved groups.  Eventually the Sword becomes better then
  the dagger (the chance of a triple damage strike isn't high enough to matter
  really in a skill-normal group.  Skill-plentiful, maybe.) for speed.
  The biggest advantage for the dagger, however, is that all classes except 
  Clerics can use them, and you can use them in two hands.  That is a biiiig 
  plus in my book.
  Skill starved groups should have everyone Expert at Dagger.  Non-melee
  focused groups should have everyone Expert at Dagger.  Otherwise, just 
  Sorcerers and Druids should be expert in Dagger.  If you have a 
  Skill-Plentiful group, you might want to try dumping points into it and 
  Mastering for the 3x damage.
 Basic:  150+ Gold (reduced by merchant), no Cleric.
    New Sorpigal, Buccaneers' Lair
    Frozen Highlands, Protection Services (Castle Stone area)
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, behind the inn.
    Free Haven, near the southern alchemy shop in a duplex.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, 5000 gold, 40 speed.
    Frozen Highlands, in Castle Stone.

Axe - Now, most MM6 players don't even look at the Axe.  It is the slowest
  weapon save the Spear (it might actually be the same speed), and the quest
  to master Axe isn't all that great and involves everyone's least favorite 
  zone (Mire of the Damned).  However, in skill plentiful groups, the Axe is
  great.  Why?  Skillpoints go to attack bonus, recovery time, and DAMAGE.  In
  MM6, this is the only weapon that the skillpoints go to damage and speed
  - making the Axe the single most damaging weapon in a single strike in all
  of MM6 potentially.
  In Melee-focused Skill-plentiful groups, dump points in.  Otherwise, ignore.
 Basic:  375+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Cleric/Druid/Wizard.
    New Sorpigal, Blades' End
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, sharing the same building as the training grounds.
    Mire of the Damned, nearby the Armory in Darkmoor.  Hard to find.
 Master:  Requires 4 ranks, Snergle optional quest.
    Mire of the Damned, in the Haunt inn on the extreme north part of Darkmoor

Spear - Another weapon that most people in MM6 don't use - also for seemingly
  no good reason.  In a melee-weak (IE, one melee character) group, the spear
  is actually very very very good.  Why?  It adds to AC.  As does the shield
  skill.  So, if your only melee character is a Paladin or Knight, dump points
  into this and shield.  You'll have AC out the butt.  Alternately, in a
  Melee-only group, two people wielding spear/sword and the other two wielding
  Dagger is an effective combo.  Spears do damage based on skillpoints too, so
  keep that in mind.
  Dump points in if your only melee character is a Knight or Paladin.
 Basic:  375+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Cleric/Druid/Wizard.
    New Sorpigal, Blades' End
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Silver Cove, near the training grounds.
    Misty Islands, near the Inn in Mist.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, 5000 gold, Champion promotion quest.
    Mire of the Damned, northeast part of Darkmoor.  Hard to find.

Mace - Another very use... less...  skill.  Chance of stun is nice and all, 
  but there are quite a few better weapons for most characters - except for 
  the Cleric.  This is the Cleric's best weapon.  Also the third weapon to 
  add to attack damage with skill, but this is a Mace...  come on...
  If your party is going to melee, and you want your Cleric to melee with
  them, Master this.  If not, I'd still suggest at least experting.  However, 
  in a Melee-only group, you might want one person to dump skill in this -
  just for stun.
 Basic:  500+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Wizard.
    Free Haven, Duelists' Edge
    Misty Islands, Duelists' Edge
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Mire of the Damned, in the middle of the village.  Hard to find, don't use
    Frozen Highlands, near Castle Stromgard.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, 5000 gold, 40 might.
    Blackshire, near the dark and light guilds.

Bow - Everyone loves the Bow.  Everyone needs the skill.  Period.
  In a skill-starved group, don't throw any skillpoints in this.
  In a skill-normal group that isn't primarily melee oriented, Expert.
  In a skill-plentiful group or any melee oriented group, Master.
 Basic:  375+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Cleric/Druid/Wizard.
    Castle Ironfist, Beserkers' Fury
    Silver Cove, Beserkers' Fury
    Free Haven, Duelists' Edge
    Misty Islands, Duelists' Edge
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, next to the inn.
    Frozen Highlands, near Castle Stromgard.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, Warrior Mage promotion quest.
    Kriegspire, above the castle in the middle.

Blaster - Well, late game you gain access to Ancient Weapons - Blasters and 
  Blaster Rifles.  Their damage is similar to a Bow, but they take up a Right
  Hand slot as well as adding a LOT to Attack Bonus...  did I mention that 
  the speed of a Blaster is normally dagger speed and has a chance based on 
  your skill of just rapid firing and ignoring recovery time?  However, since
  this is a late game skill, a lot of people just ignore it.  Blasters are the
  best weapon in the game though, and everyone can use them equally.  The only
  problem is that they slow down a LOT when you have something in your left
  hand (Sword, Shield, Dagger).
  If you are going to use them, dump every single point from VARN on into it.
  If you aren't going to use them, just Expert it and be done with it.  You 
  have to use them for one enemy in the game no matter what.
 Basic:  Free.
    Free Haven, Control Center dungeon, first room on your left.
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    New Sorpigal, east of town.
    Eel Infested Waters, in town.
 Master:  Requires 8 ranks, 5000 gold, must have a blaster.
    Paradise Valley, east side at the end of a road.


***************************************
Armor
***************************************

Shield - The single largest AC booster in MM6.  What it doesn't tell you
  though is that it slows down your attacks (ESPECIALLY the Blaster).  Worth 
  it though for any non-Melee-oriented group or any group using a Spear/Axe
  for their primary weapons.
  Clerics should master this skill, as should Druids.  Paladins and Knights 
  are better off ignoring it in most cases.  There are some exceptions of
  course.
 Basic:  500+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Wizard.
    Castle Ironfist, Beserkers' Fury
    Silver Cove, Beserkers' Fury
    Free Haven, Duelists' Edge
    Misty Islands, Duelists' Edge
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, southern most group of houses.
    Free Haven, northern part of Free Haven.
 Master:  Requires 10 ranks, 5000 gold.
    Blackshire, near the southern fountain.

Leather - The only armor skill that everyone in the game has.  Personally, I'm
  not much for mastering Leather/Chain/Plate.  Mainly for Sorcs and Druids.
  In Skill-starved groups, I'd go so far as to say never put a single point in 
  them.
  In Skill-normal groups, master it towards the end of the game (I'd suggest 
  before VARN) and expert it towards the middle of the game (like before the 
  Crystal quests) for any Sorcerer or Druid you have.
  In Skill-plentiful groups, or melee-oriented groups, Master it ASAP for any
  Sorcerer or Druid you have.  If you don't have any, have at least ONE person
  Master it.  Some of the Artifact and Relic leathers are niiiiice.
 Basic:  300+ gold (reduced by merchant).
    Misty Islands, Buccaneers' Lair
    Silver Cove, Protection Services
    Frozen Highlands, Protection Services (Castle Stone area)
    Blackshire, Smugglers' Guild
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, southern most group of houses.
    Misty Islands, northern part of Mist
 Master:  Requires 10 ranks, 3000 gold.
    Frozen Highlands, in Castle Stone.

Chain - Again, I'm not much for mastering armor.  Mainly for Archers and 
  Clerics.
  In Skill-starved groups, I'd go so far as to say never put a single point in 
  them.
  In Skill-normal groups, master it towards the end of the game (I'd suggest 
  before VARN) and expert it towards the middle of the game (like before the 
  Crystal quests) for any Archer or Cleric you have.
  In Skill-plentiful groups, or melee-oriented groups, Master it ASAP for any
  Archer or Cleric you have.  If you don't have any, have at least ONE person
  Master it.  Some of the Artifact and Relic chains are good, not to mention
  that for a large part of the game, you'll find better Chain then Plate.
 Basic:  500+ gold (reduced by merchant), no Wizard/Druid.
    Castle Ironfist, Beserkers' Fury
    Silver Cove, Beserkers' Fury
    Free Haven, Duelists' Edge
    Misty Islands, Duelists' Edge
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, southern most group of houses.
    Bootleg Bay, in the mainland village.
 Master:  Requires 10 ranks, Hero quest.
    Mire of the Damned, across the street from the stables.

Plate - Again, I'm not much for mastering armor.  Paladin and Knight only.
  In Skill-starved groups, I'd go so far as to say never put a single point in 
  them.
  In Skill-normal groups, master it towards the middle of the game (like 
  before the Crystal quests) for any Paladin or Knight you have.
  In Skill-plentiful groups, or melee-oriented groups, Master it ASAP for two 
  characters (assuming you have two that can use Plate) that you have.
 Basic:  375+ gold (reduced by merchant), Paladin or Knight only.
    Castle Ironfist, Beserkers' Fury
    Silver Cove, Beserkers' Fury
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, southern most group of houses.
    Free Haven, northern part of Free Haven.
 Master:  Requires 4 ranks, Hero quest.
    Free Haven, on top of Castle Temper.

***************************************
Non-Weapon Non-Armor Skills
***************************************

Identify Item - Well well.  At one time, I would have said that this skill is
  required for all groups and all parties to have mastered by at least one 
  person.  However, the Scholar NPC Hireling makes this point moot.  The 
  Scholar, for the price of 5%, will identify *ALL* items as well as giving 
  you a 5% bonus on all XP gained.  Incredibly good.  
  Skill-plentiful groups or money-starved groups, might want to have one 
  person (Archers prefered) master this.  Otherwise, Ignore completely.
 Basic:  150 gold (reduced by merchant).
    New Sorpigal, Buccaneers' Lair
    Misty Islands, Buccaneers' Lair
    Silver Cove, Protection Services
    Blackshire, Smugglers' Guild
    Frozen Highlands, Protection Services (Castle Stone area)
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, near the training grounds.
    New Sorpigal, above the inn.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 30 intellect.
    Free Haven, on top of Castle Temper.

Merchant - Now this is an interesting skill.  It influences how much you spend
  or receive whenever you pay or buy something - ANYTHING.  This includes 
  things like getting new skills...  training...  selling...  you get the 
  idea.  There are a lot of NPCs that increase this skill, but no NPC that 
  will do it all by themselves.  However, the Light magic spell "Golden Touch"
  will give you 80% of the value of an item when cast upon an item (removing 
  said item) at Master level.  Interesting, no?  In fact, Master Light GT is 
  more effective then a Master Merchant in New Sorpigal.
  For most groups, you still want a Master Merchant.  Throw it on a Cleric or
  Paladin.  If you must, a Knight would work too as long as someone casts a 
  spell on him to increase his Personality score to be high enough to master
  the Merchant skill.  Become Expert by the time you reach Free Haven, and 
  Master by the time you are finished with the Promotion Quests.
  However, if you really want to tweak out skillpoints, don't bother with 
  anything except level 1 Merchant, hire Merchant-based hirelings, and wait 
  until you master Light for Golden Touch, and go from there.
 Basic:  150 gold (reduced by merchant through NPCs only).
    New Sorpigal, Buccaneers' Lair
    Frozen Highlands, Protection Services (Castle Stone area)
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Free Haven, near the southern alchemy shop.
    Mire of the Damned, in the middle of Darkmoor.  Hard to find.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 4000 gold, 30 personality.
    Silver Cove, near Castle Fleise.

Repair Item - Master.  Period.  One person must master this skill.  To not 
  Master Repair Item as soon as you get items that would need Master Identify 
  item is stupid.  Very stupid.
  Knights master this one very easily.  You want to master this as soon as you 
  need it, so I suggest Experting this by the time you reach the Misty 
  Islands, and Mastering by the time you can actually reach Castle Stone in 
  the Frozen Highlands and not die 5 seconds after you get there from the 
  Magyars, Archers, and Harpies.
  Only one person should master in a group.
 Basic:  625+ gold (reduced by merchant).
    Castle Ironfist, Beserkers' Fury
    Silver Cove, Beserkers' Fury
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Misty Islands, near the Duelists' Edge in Mist.
    Silver Cove, near the Beserkers' Fury.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 30 accuracy.
    Frozen Highlands, near Castle Stone.

Body Building - An interesting thing about Body Building - it is retroactive.
  What this means is that if you are level 150 by the time you even put any 
  points into BB, and you instantly master the class, you gain all of the HP
  you would have gained if you would have been a master at BB since level 1.
  So, if you don't need the HP right this instant, don't bother with putting 
  points into BB.  The amount of HP you gain is equal to...
        (BASE + Promo1 + Promo2) * Skill
  Experts double that, Masters triple it.  Promo1 and 2 are your two 
  promotions, which increase the amount of HP you gain on a level up.
  All characters should master BB before the end of the game.  Even the most 
  HP blessed party (4 knights) should be a master at BB before the end of VARN
  at the latest.  More HP-cursed parties should be a master before they even 
  start the crystal quests, and everyone should expert it by the end of the 
  Council quests.
 Basic:  625 gold (reduced by merchant).
    Free Haven, Duelists' Edge
    Misty Islands, Duelists' Edge
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, near the temple.
    New Sorpigal, near the alchemy shop.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 30 endurance.
    Free Haven, on top of Castle Temper.

Diplomacy - Completely and totally useless.  Period.  I have never had the 
  need of this skill.  What it does is that it alters your reputation score 
  (which is a number like "42" and not just "Angelic") by your Diplomacy 
  score, either positively or negatively, depending on what you need.
  However, it only affects it when dealing with townsmembers on the street.  
  Townsmembers will only speak to you if you have a reputation above or below 
  a certain number (depending on the townsmember).  However, 99% of the time 
  you don't even need to talk to people, and when you do, you can always beg.
  This skill is WORTHLESS.  Noone should even spend the money to get it at 1
  rank.
 Basic:  300+ gold (reduced by merchant).
    Misty Islands, Buccaneers' Lair 
    Silver Cove, Protection Services
    Blackshire, Smugglers' Guild
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, roof of the castle.
    Free Haven, near the fountain.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 200 fame.
    Frozen Highlands, on the roof of Castle Stromgard.

Perception - Interesting skill.  What it actually does is highlight hidden 
  things (hidden rooms and traps) in red.  That in of itself isn't all that 
  useful, but the part that makes it useful is the fact that you need Expert
  Perception to get past the Superior Temple of Baa (which is required), on
  top of if you wanted to get any items from those Skull Piles and Trash Heaps
  that you keep finding in dungeons.  Finally, it gives you a chance to just 
  duck out of the way of chest traps....
  In a skill-plentiful group, everyone should master this.
  In a skill-normal group, one person should master this.
  In a skill-starved group, one person should expert this.
 Basic:  150 gold (reduced by merchant).
    New Sorpigal, Buccaneers' Lair
    Misty Islands, Buccaneers' Lair
    Silver Cove, Protection Services
    Blackshire, Smugglers' Guild
    Frozen Highlands, Protection Services (Castle Stone area)
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Bootleg Bay, in the mainland village.
    New Sorpigal, above the inn.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 30 luck.
    Mire of the Damned, east side of Darkmoor.  Hard to find.

Disarm Trap - As you can expect, this skill is to disarm chest traps.  At 
  master level, you can disarm almost all traps.  If you happen to have an 
  item of disarming as well as master disarm, you can disarm all chest traps.
  However, there are two big problems with this skill.  One, if everyone in
  your party has Master Perception (with a few more points thrown in for fun),
  the skill is completely worthless.  Two, you can set off traps at a distance
  by using the Master Mind Magic spell "Telekinesis."  Set them off far enough
  away from you and you won't be hit.  So, this leaves us with...
  In a skill-plentiful group, expert this skill on one person (Knight being 
  the best).  You won't need it later on in the game anyways.
  In a High-HP group (Knight/Knight/Knight/Knight as an example), you can 
  completely ignore this skill.
  In a skill-normal group, have your Cleric or Paladin expert or master this
  skill so you can use it in conjunction with Telekinesis later on.  You can 
  safely delay mastering the skill for a very long time though.
  In a skill-starved group, master this just as fast as you would master 
  Repair item - you can't afford to give everyone perception, and most skill 
  starved groups also don't end up with using much in the way of Telekinesis.
 Basic:  150 gold (reduced by merchant).
    New Sorpigal, Buccaneers' Lair
    Misty Islands, Buccaneers' Lair
    Silver Cove, Protection Services
    Blackshire, Smugglers' Guild
    Frozen Highlands, Protection Services (Castle Stone area)
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, near the training grounds.
    Free Haven, near the docks in the NE corner of the city.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 30 accuracy.
    Frozen Highlands, near Castle Stone.

Learning - There are few major schools of thought on the Learning skill.  One, 
  get the skill as soon as possible and never throw a point into it again.  
  This gives you a 10% bonus on all experience gained.  The second is to 
  Master the skill ASAP, giving you a 30% bonus on all experience gained.  The
  Final one is to throw as many points into this as humanly possible in order 
  to gain more points later when you start getting these +100,000 XP awards.
  Learning is NOT retroactive - It doesn't give back XP you've gained before.
  For skill-plentiful groups, dump skillpoints into this for all characters.
  For skill-normal groups, master this and leave it alone after, all 
  characters.
  For skill-starved groups, decide whether you want more skillpoints at the 
  start of the game or the end of the game.  If you want more at the start, 
  just learn the skill Learning (Mist is the first place you can learn it at)
  and don't spend any more points.  If you want more at the end (by being 
  higher level), dump skillpoints into learning.
 Basic:  1000+ gold (reduced by merchant).
    Silver Cove, Initiate Guild of Earth
    Misty Islands, Initiate Guild of Fire
    Misty Islands, Initiate Guild of Air
    Misty Islands, Initiate Guild of Water
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Earth
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Fire
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Air
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Water
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, on the roof of the castle.
    New Sorpigal, above the initiate guild of self.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 5000 gold, 30 intellect.
    Silver Cove, near the Beserkers' Fury.

Meditation - All non-knights need this skill.  Like Body Building, it is 
  retroactive.  Also like body building, it gives based on your base.
        (BASE + Promo1 + Promo2) * Skill = MP Given
  Experts double that, Masters triple it.  Promo1 and 2 are your two 
  promotions, which increase the amount of MP you gain on a level up.
  Unlike Bodybuilding, however, you tend to need more MP then HP (except in 
  Melee-focused groups).  So, you can take the suggestions I gave for Body 
  Building and apply it here, but realize that you'll need more MP faster.
 Basic:  1000+ gold (reduced by merchant).
    Castle Ironfist, Initiate Guild of Body
    Castle Ironfist, Initiate Guild of Mind
    Castle Ironfist, Initiate Guild of Spirit
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Body
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Mind
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Spirit
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 500 gold.
    Silver Cove, near the adept guild of self.
    New Sorpigal, near the alchemy shop.
 Master:  Requires 7 ranks, 2500 gold, 30 personality.
    Misty Islands, near the air guild.

***************************************
Magic
***************************************
Body Magic - The healing magic.  Body magic is easily the most useful of the 
  three self schools (Self is Body, Mind, and Spirit).  Should be mastered on
  all Self casters (Paladin, Cleric, Druid) in your party, regardless of how 
  many there are or skillpoint situation.
   Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of Self
    Castle Ironfist, Initiate Guild of Body
    Silver Cove, Adept Guild of the Self
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Body
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, near the temple.
    New Sorpigal, near the training grounds.
 Master:  Requires 12 ranks, 4000 gold.
    Silver Cove, near fountain.
 Spells:
     Cure Weakness - Hyper useful spell throughout the game.  You don't really
        need it past Expert level Body magic though, as if you have someone
        who has been weak for *days*, you've got some issues.  Weakness is 
        caused by not sleeping, not eating, the duration of haste running out,
        or Skull Piles.
     First Aid - Healing spell.  Useless by the time you get Cure Wounds.
     Protection from Poison - Damage reduction for poison.  Not that useful.
     Harm - The first good offensive self spell.  The damage is good for the 
        first parts of the game, but it never really gets high.  However, 
        the damage is magical - almost all of the endgame enemies are immune.
     Cure Wounds - The reason why you need high body is because of this.  Not
        that Cure Wounds is a good spell - far from it in fact.  It only heals
        5 + 2*skill HP, which by the end of the game where you have 15 in body
        your ~1300 HP knight that was just eradicated that you resurrected is
        going to go from 0 HP to...  35 HP....  which is less then what they
        take from a single hit.  The spell sucks, but it is the only healing
        you have that goes up in power at all until you get Power Cure or 
        Shared Life.
     Cure Poison - Oddly enough, this spell is actually useless.  By the time
        you actually get the spell (which would be by the time you reach Free
        Haven usually, or if you are lucky Castle Ironfist), you've gone past
        most of the enemies in the game that poison you.  Things that poison 
        you include low level enemies and skull piles.  In fact, if I've 
        forgotten some high level enemy that does poison you, a cure poison 
        potion is just Blue + Red.
     Speed - Completely useless by the time you get Day of the Gods (Light).
     Cure Disease - I don't get why this is such a high powered spell.  Still
        useful (but again, exert level is enough for anyone on this) unlike 
        Cure Poison.  Werewolves in particular tend to Disease people - a lot.
     Power - See Speed.  However, if you are wanting to pull a sword out of a
        stone, this spell could have some uses....
     Flying Fist - Flying Fist vs. Psychic Shock.  Flying fist does more 
        average damage at lower levels (like...  level 4 and under), and 
        PsiShock does more at higher levels.  However, since PsiShock is the 
        only reason why anyone would have Mind Mastered (other then too many
        skillpoints), Flying Fist is better.  Magic damage again though, so 
        there isn't really much you can use this spell on at the end....
     Power Cure - Basically identical to cure wounds, only heals 5 more HP, 
        heals everyone who is not stoned/dead/erradicated, and costs six times
        as much MP.  This spell sucks, but it is the other reason why you need
        high body magic.  Shared life is *usually* better though.

Mind Magic - Status Effect magic.  In principle, this is actually the best 
  school of magic.  In reality, due to MM6 bugs, all of the status effects... 
  don't...  work....  Unless you are going to use PsiShock (see below), Expert
  the skill (for status removal spells) and leave it at that.
 Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of Self
    Castle Ironfist, Initiate Guild of Mind
    Silver Cove, Adept Guild of the Self
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Mind
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Free Haven, near the adept guild of water.
    New Sorpigal, near the training grounds.
 Master:  Requires 12 ranks, 4000 gold.
    Silver Cove, near fountain.
 Spells:
     Meditation - At first, I thought this spell might be useful for lower
        levels, like before you get Day of the Gods.  Then I reminded myself 
        that you only get 10+2*skill at normal levels to personality and int.
        Only druids would this spell actually be useful on.  Everyone else, 
        this is kinda worthless.
     Remove Fear - a lot of enemies (ESPECIALLY in Mire of the Damned) cause
        fear.  This is the #1 reason why you need Expert Mind.  If you are 
        afraid for 12 days at a time, I fear for your RPG playing skills.
     Mind Blast - You know those worthless spells that never do any damage
        that the Followers of Baa cast?  Yeah, that is this spell.  Better
        than Harm, but only barely.  Also does Magic damage, which means most 
        things towards the end of the game (if you have some bizzare fetish 
        with Mind Blast that you keep using it for some stupid reason) are 
        immune to it.
     Precision - the only one of the stat increasing spells that are actually
        useful before you get Day of the Gods in my opinion.  Increases 
        accuracy by 10+2*skill.
     Cure Paralysis - There are very few enemies (all of which are in 
        Blackshire actually....) that can cause Paralysis.  You are stupid if 
        you need it higher then Expert though.
     Charm - Great concept.  Works great in MM7.  Bugged in MM6 and doesn't 
        work at all other then saying "Charmed" on the creature description.
     Mass Fear - Wow, a spell that makes it when you rightclick an enemy it 
        says "Afraid" on it!  Of course, that is its only effect as the spell
        is bugged.
     Feelblemind - This would be an AWESOME spell to use against enemy 
        Warlocks....  if it only worked.  See Charm/Mass Fear.
     Cure Insanity - Ye gods this comes up often towards the Oracle quests.  
        Enemy wizards and beholders *love* making you go insane.  In fact, 
        after you are insane and are cured of it, you get to be weak as well!
        Again though, being insane for more then 4 hours means that either you
        didn't notice it, or that you decided to starve yourself of sleep for
        a week (in game - it actually causes insanity and death).
     Psychic Shock (aka PsiShock) - the only good damaging spell in all of 
        Self.  Heck, if it weren't for the fact that it is Magic damage, one 
        of the best ray-based spells in the game.  Deals 12+skilld12 damage 
        for 25 MP.  If you have a Paladin that wants an offensive spell, this 
        may be reason enough for you to go Master Mind...  the problem is 
        since that it is Magic damage, almost the entire end of the game is 
        immune to it.  Damn annoying.
     Telekinesis - Ranged trap disarming, treasure stealing, switch throwing.
        What more do you need?  Too bad it costs 30 MP.

Spirit Magic - The best thing about spirit magic is that you can master it at 
  skill level 4, and it has the anti-"OMG I'm Screwed!" spells and Shared 
  Life.  The problem is that it doesn't have much else.
 Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of Self
    Castle Ironfist, Initiate Guild of Spirit
    Silver Cove, Adept Guild of the Self
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Spirit
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Free Haven, near the adept guild of water.
    New Sorpigal, near the training grounds.
 Master:  Requires 12 ranks, 4000 gold.
    Castle Ironfist, near the castle.
 Spells:
     Spirit Arrow - Why you would ever use this spell past level 1 when you 
        don't have arrows, I have no idea.  Deals 1d6 damage.  Nothing more.
        At master level though it doesn't cost any MP!  Neither do arrows, and
        arrows not only do a lot more damage and hit more often, but also 
        aren't magic damage that everyone seems to be immune to anyways.
     Bless - Mildly useful.  Outdated when you get Hour of Power (Light) 
        though.
     Healing Touch - Well, if you are a Paladin without body magic yet, or a 
        Druid that for some incredibly stupid reason has Spirit but not Body, 
        this spell is for you.  Damage barely increases (see First Aid), but
        it DOES heal a little more then First Aid at least...    on average it
        heals 0.5 HP more!  Only costs 1 MP more....
     Lucky Day - Come on.  What is the point?
     Remove Curse - Incredibly useful spell, with only one minor drawback.  If
        the caster of Remove Curse is cursed, it ends up eating a LOT of MP 
        trying to cast it.
     Guardian Angel - Never die.  Much easier then using this spell.
     Heroism - Outdated by the time you get Hour of Power, but it works for 
        any group that doesn't have HoP and is melee based rather well.
     Turn Undead - Take Mass Fear, make it apply to undead.  Of course, since
        Mass Fear doesn't work anyways, neither does this.
     Raise Dead - Brings someone back from the dead.  It works.  Works well.  
        The person is weak when they are raised and are usually at 1 HP.  This 
        is the first anti-"OMF I'm Screwed!" spell.
     Shared Life - Ahh...  the one good thing about Spirit is this spell.  It 
        takes everyone's HP who is conscious, puts it in a pool, adds your 
        skill level in spirit magic (times 2 if expert, 3 if master), and 
        divides it back up amongst your party.  Want to know the sad part?
        For a vast majority of the time, this is the best healing spell in the 
        game.  Even if the only person left conscious is the one casting it, 
        as long as you are a master with a skill higher then level 5, it heals 
        more then Cure Wounds.  Heck, by level 10, it heals more then Power 
        Cure.  If it weren't for the 25 MP cost, this would almost be reason 
        enough not to master Body at all and just throw points into Spirit.  
        However, if you have an unusually HP unbalanced party, this spell 
        sucks.
     Resurrection - Read "Raise Dead", replace all instances of "dead" with 
        "erradicated" and dance a happy dance.

Fire Magic - Buurrrrnnn....  This has some of the nicest AoE spells in the 
  game...  mainly because the rest suck though.  Always have someone master 
  this, unless if your only elemental caster is a Druid or Archer...  then you 
  might want to decide if it is worth it.
 Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of the Elements
    Misty Islands, Initiate Guild of Fire
    Frozen Highlands, Adept Guild of the Elements (in White Cap)
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Fire
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Free Haven, west end of the city.
    New Sorpigal, near the training grounds.
 Master:  Requires 12 ranks, 4000 gold.
    Misty Islands, near the alchemy shop.
 Spells:
     Torch Light - Makes you able to see in the dark more then 5'.  Lasts 
        skill level in hours, and gets brighter at Expert/Master.  Awesome
        spell.
     Flame Arrow - You know when I dissed Spirit Arrow pretty badly?  Well, 
        Flame Arrow does 1d8 instead of 1d6, and costs 1 more MP at basic 
        level.  Beyond that, it sucks just as bad.
     Protection from Fire - It protects you...  from fire...  *shrug*  A lot 
        of enemies use Fire, so this is actually somewhat useful.
     Fire Bolt - Well, this is your first ray-based attack that actually does 
        damage more then a set amount.  Deals skilld4 damage, always hits.  
        Not bad actually.  Very useful against Oozes when you don't want to 
        waste MP on them.
     Haste - This is the only Hour of Power spell that is actually useful 
        AFTER you get Hour of Power.  Why?  Because Haste's duration is pretty 
        crappy, even with Hour of Power.  If you recast it, you won't be 
        weakened by the Haste duration ending.
     Fireball - Ripped right out of the pages of D&D, this is a fireball.  
        skill d6 damage in an Area of Effect.  The problem is that the Area of 
        Effect...  isn't always constant.  I've fired at something rather far 
        away and have been hit by it, I've fired into a room right next to me 
        and not been hit.  In any case, this is your first (and only good) 
        crowd control spell that gets very powerful towards the higher levels.
     Ring of Fire - Speaking of crowd control, this spell is great for those 
        pesky minor enemies (Rats, Baa, and Goblins mainly) that are annoying
        in large numbers.  Mastery is awesome for this because you recover
        incredibly quickly.
     Fire Blast - As I now refer to it as the poor man's shrapmetal, Fire 
        Blast is actually the most efficient damage spell in the game - 
        assuming you are right next to the enemy and at master level.  It will
        fire 7 blasts of fire from you and spreading out from there.  Thus, if
        you are right next to someone (like as in you can start counting the 
        pixels), and fire, you'll hit...  with all 7.  Loads of damage, fast
        casting spell, low MP cost.  Only downside is that it is fire magic - 
        there are almost as many things immune or resistant to fire as there 
        are things immune to Magic damage.
     Meteor Shower - ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) spell #1.  
        This is the big outdoors AoE spell that ALSO can be used against one 
        outdoors enemy for effects similar to Fire Blast (just not quite as 
        efficient, but you can do it at a range at least).  Great spell.  
        Somewhat low on MP (Lower then Starburst and Death Blossom), and the 
        meteors group together a bit more then the starburst's stars do.  Only 
        problem is, like Fire Blast, Fire element based.  That, and you can't 
        use it indoors (I swear, you should at least be able to use it in a 
        big place like VARN....).
     Inferno - For those times where you *really* don't want to mess with low
        HP enemies that are too spread out for Fireball and too far away for 
        Ring of Fire, there is Inferno.  Deals damage to everyone that you can 
        see - as long as they can see you as well.  Great spell, but there 
        really is little difference between skill 1 and master skill 12 
        Inferno other then recovery rate.  That and, again, Fire elemental.
     Incinerate -Highest damage elemental ray-based spell.  15 + skill d15.  
        30 MP.  'nuf said.

Air Magic - Also known as the utilitarian elemental magic.  This is more like 
  what Mind magic was supposed to be (compared to the pile of ineptness it is 
  now).  You only need to be skill rank 4 to master Air (along with the second 
  sorcerer promotion), so it is usually worthwhile for all elemental casters 
  to master it.  I also usually have someone at ~10 ranks with Air too.
 Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of the Elements
    Misty Islands, Initiate Guild of Air
    Frozen Highlands, Adept Guild of the Elements (in White Cap)
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Air
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Free Haven, west end of the city.
    New Sorpigal, above the bank.
 Master:  Requires 4 ranks, 4000 gold, archmage quest.
    Misty Islands, near the alchemy shop.
 Spells:
     Wizard Eye - Best.  Spell.  Evar.  Lasts level hours, lets you see 
        enemies (normal), items on the ground (expert), and important access 
        points like teleporters and chests (master) on your minimap.  Also, an 
        unintended side effect - since a lot of the "all in vision" spells 
        (Prismatic Burst, Inferno, Mass Fear if it actually worked, Turn 
        Undead if it actually worked) is based on "if the enemy can see you" 
        more then if you can see them, Wizard Eye will only reveal red dots 
        (enemies) if they can see you indoors.  Outdoors it doesn't matter 
        though.  All of this for...  1 MP.  Awesome.  Also included with Day 
        of Protection (Dark).
     Static Charge - this is the only one of the crappy offensive spells that 
        are even worth the cost to cast in the beginning.  Automatically hits 
        for 1+d5 damage.  Cost is reduced to 0 at master level, where it is 
        actually USEFUL.  Why?  Simple.  It can be used to tell whether or not 
        you can hit an enemy - since it is a ray based spell (just like arrows 
        are), and always hits, you can tell if that tree between you and the 
        enemy will actually matter or not.  Handy, no?  Cold Beam is identical 
        to this spell by the way.
     Protection from Electricity - See Protection from Fire.
     Sparks - Your very first spell that is completely useless outside (but 
        can still be cast), and incredibly useful outside.  This is also one 
        of the few spells that can hit enemies that you can't see.  It spreads 
        out a few sparks on the ground in front of you, which are affected by 
        gravity.  Meaning if you have a hallway you are in that slopes down, 
        and you want to know what is at the end of it, cast Sparks and let the 
        sparks slide down.  Only 4 MP too.
     Feather Fall - Interesting spell since at Normal level the spell is used 
        for a very different reason then Expert or Master.  At normal level, 
        the spell is usually cast WHILE you are falling, or when you are about 
        to fall in order for you not to die when you land.  At Expert or 
        Master, it is cast usually before you start adventuring in case you 
        fall.  One of those Reactive/Proactive spell things.  Again, very 
        useful spell indoors.  Outdoors the spell is mostly useless since 
        you'll be flying 24/7.  You DO have the Fly spell, right?
     Shield - I don't really find this spell useful since the only enemies in 
        MM6 that use arrows are Archers and Lizards.  Also included with Hour 
        of Power just to add insult to injury.  Worst Air magic spell.  
        Finally, contrary to what it seems, it won't half the damage of that 
        flying rock that Priests of Baa send at you - that flying rock is 
        actually Flying Fist (Body).  Oddly enough, the identical spell in MM7 
        is a lot more useful.  Skip this.
     Lightning Bolt - skill d8 damage.  10 MP.  Lightning Damage.  Duh.  Ice 
        Bolt is actually a better spell though, so I'd skip this one. 
     Jump - Now, this spell in MM6 isn't nearly as good as it is in MM7 where 
        the only way to reach certain places is repeated uses of the jump 
        spell.  Jump in MM6 is usually reserved for inside dungeons where you 
        want to jump back up from the hole that you came from.  Especially 
        useful in the Hall of the Fire Lord, but usually you can skip buying 
        this spell.
     Implosion - Now, this spell seems to be just a high MP cost version of 
        Lightning Bolt, until you realize that it is physical damage...  not 
        much is immune to Physical Damage (the major exception:  Oozes).  
        Thus, if you are fighting an enemy that is seemingly immune to most 
        spells (read:  Gold Dragons, Beholders, and more Beholders), this 
        spell will work.  Great backup spell, just don't use it as a primary 
        since the MP cost (20) is high for the damage (10 + skill d10).
     Fly - Noone should be without Fly.  Not just for the obvious reason of 
        flying around outdoors - it also makes you move faster...  so when you 
        run away from that angry head of cattle known as the Minotaur Kings of 
        N. Kriegspire, you'll be safe.  You can fly around in the city of Free 
        Haven incredibly quickly.  There are, of course, a few downsides.  The 
        obvious one is that when you fall from Fly's duration running out, it 
        hurts.  Also, there are dragon towers in certain cities (more 
        specifically, every city that you can Town Portal to) that fireball 
        anything that flies.  Fly also takes away 1 MP every 5 minutes in 
        which you are flying (as in not touching the ground).  Finally, you'll 
        be so used to flying that whenever you move in a dungeon, it will seem 
        slower to you (it isn't...  it just seems that way).  Luckily, most of 
        these problems go away.  The falling problem isn't really a problem 
        when you have 10 hours worth of fly (skill 10, Master).  Dragon Towers 
        are stopped with the second Archer promotion quest, and the 1 MP drain 
        is diddly squat when you have 300 MP on your Archer towards the end of 
        the game.  Alas, you still don't get to move faster in dungeons.  :P  
        Most useful spell in the game, easily.  This is why I can't do a game 
        without a sorcerer or archer in a party.  There is a NPC that can cast 
        this.  The NPC can only cast it at rank 12 Expert (2 hours).  Ignore 
        the NPC and cast it yourself.
     Starburst - Very similar to Meteor Shower, except that the damage is 
        electrical, slightly more spread out, costs 30 MP, and does 12 more 
        damage per star.  This is the OTHER ICBM spell.

Water Magic - Remember when I said that every Self caster should have body 
  magic mastered?  Well, every Elemental caster should have both Air (easy) 
  and Water mastered.  Why?  Lloyd's Beacon.
 Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of the Elements
    Misty Islands, Initiate Guild of Water
    Frozen Highlands, Adept Guild of the Elements (in White Cap)
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Water
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Free Haven, west end of the city.
    New Sorpigal, near the training grounds.
 Master:  Requires 12 ranks, 4000 gold.
     Misty Islands, near the alchemy shop.
 Spells:
    Awaken - Wakes up the entire party.  Other then the Area of Effect (all 
        party), this is identical to every other status curing spell.  
        However, this spell becomes incredibly useful in three situations - 
        one, when you are sleeping outdoors and have an encounter (which 
        shouldn't happen), two is when you are in Castle Darkmoor and are 
        fighting the beholders that can put you to sleep in a single attack, 
        and three includes the Genies in VARN that do the same as the 
        beholders (just not as often).
     Cold Beam - Identical to Static Charge, except does Ice damage.
     Protection from Cold - See Protection from Fire.  However, this isn't 
        nearly as useful as there are only a few enemies that do cold damage.
        Don't bother buying.
     Poison Spray - If Fire Blast is the poor man's Shrapmetal, this is the 
        poor man's Fire Blast.  Just a hell of a lot more useless.  The damage 
        is VERY low, and I don't care what the spell description says, it CAN 
        miss.  In fact, the chance of it missing increases as the enemy is 
        further away - even if the enemy stays still!  Don't bother buying.
     Water Walk - The poor man's Fly.  There are only a few maps in which this 
        can even be used correctly - New Sorpigal, Bootleg Bay, Hermit's Isle, 
        Eel Infested Waters, and Silver Cove.  Even then, Fly is superior to 
        it in every way except MP cost.  Skip it unless if for some bizarre 
        reason you are going to avoid Fly for awhile.  There is a NPC that can 
        cast this.  Most times, it is a better idea to just hire the NPC if 
        you *really* need it.
     Ice Bolt - This is the most efficient Ray spell in the game.  d7 damage 
        for 8 MP, cold damage, always hits.  Regardless of what the game says, 
        less have resistance to cold damage then poison.  Heck, I think less 
        have resistance to cold then PHYSICAL sometimes.  Awesome spell if you 
        are at a long distance indoors.
     Enchant Item - Whoa boy...  this is our moneymaker right here.  Enchant 
        Item can only be used to enchant unenchanted Armor, Rings, Gauntlets, 
        Belts, Shields, Hats, Helms, Crowns, Boots, Capes, Amulets, and 
        Weapons (but only at Master level Water).  The quality of the 
        enchantments, well, varies greatly.  On weapons, the enchantments will 
        almost always suck for use.  They might sell well, but they suck for 
        someone to use them.  For everything else, well, it is rather random 
        (and VERY VERY dependant on your Water Magic skill, even though it 
        doesn't say so).  An example:  An Expert (Skill 4) Water Magic user 
        enchants a Ring, and gets +3 Cold Resistance.  A Master (Skill 12) 
        Water Magic user enchants a Ring, and gets +23 Cold Resistance.  You 
        don't really have a higher chance of getting a 'better' enchantment, 
        just a higher quality enchantment.  Yes, it is possible to get an 'of 
        the Gods' enchantment on something you cast Enchant Item on, along 
        with an 'Antique' enchantment.  However, both are rare (otG a heck of 
        a lot more rare...  I've had it happen once.  Antique I've had it 
        happen a few dozen times), and neither will show up at Expert level.  
        Hint:  Always enchant something (if possible) before you sell it.
        However, you only ever need one person with the spell.
     Acid Burst - Yes, I know the description says that very few monsters have 
        Poison resistance.  They are correct - the ones that do are Immune.  
        >_<  In any case, Acid Burst is handy for some creatures, but not that 
        many really...  most could be done better with an Ice Bolt.  Sure, it 
        does less damage (average of 4*skill compared to 9+5*skill), but it is 
        a tad over half the cost.  Still, I usually keep Acid Burst in my 
        spellbook - you never know when it could be handy.
     Town Portal - The godsend to all MM6 players everywhere.  Town Portal is 
        a lot like Feather Fall - it has multiple uses depending on skill 
        level.  At normal, it is a transit device from Castle Ironfist to 
        wherever you were just at, or to go from clearing out a zone to the 
        town in the center.  At Expert, it is a "GET ME THE HELL OUT OF 
        HERE!" device that works roughly half the time.  At master level, it 
        is your ticket to finishing off two quests in 5 minutes as well as 
        going between places in the Kingdom quickly, as well as healing (20 MP
        and 40 gold for full healing = worth the problem of going back often) 
        when combined with Lloyd's Beacon, as well as extra money (as the 
        shops in New Sorpigal have better prices then anywhere else in 
        Enroth).  There is a NPC that does this.  If you have a party without 
        any elemental caster, by all means hire said NPC (then hit yourself on 
        the head with a frying pan for not taking along an elemental caster or 
        two).  If you don't have Town Portal at master level, hire the NPC 
        when you need it.  If you want to try to go to one of the town portal 
        destinations (Blackshire, White Cap, Free Haven, Silver Cove, Mist, 
        New Sorpigal) quickly at any expense without having a Water magic 
        master yet, hire the NPC.  Otherwise, leave the NPC alone.  Every 
        caster should have this spell in their spellbook.  This is the spell 
        that, if you have two Water Magic Masters and combined with Lloyd's 
        Beacon, possible to handle any status effect WITHOUT a self caster at 
        any time regardless of what status or who it is done to.
     Ice Blast - You know, with the prior spells, you would think this one 
        would be good.  It isn't.  It sucks.  It has the crappiest AoE of any 
        spell in the game that has one, does horribly low damage for a very 
        high MP cost, and it lies at that (it DOES fire a shard at you when 
        you hit).  Unless you are fighting enemies that are positioned in a 
        very odd way, or your skill level is below 5, Ice Bolt is better then 
        this spell in every way.  The only places that I have *EVER* seen 
        anyone lined up correctly for this spell would be the Supreme Temple 
        of Baa and Gharik's Forge.  Unless you are going there, don't bother 
        getting the spell.  It is a waste of money and 25 MP.
     Lloyd's Beacon - This spell is awesome...  except when it is not.  
        Rephrasing, at Normal level, this spell has only two real uses - 
        inter-dungeon transportation (creating the beacon at the start of the 
        dungeon and recalling to the start of the dungeon when needed), or as 
        a "Save Point" (set the beacon, Town Portal to New Sorpigal, heal, 
        save, Recall Beacon).  At expert level, it can be used for some 
        running around as well (more specifically, for Loretta's council 
        quest), and since you can have three beacons, it could even be used 
        for some positioning in dungeons (setting it up between points that 
        you need to run back and forth between...  the Temple of the Moon 
        being the main use that I can think of).  At master level though is 
        where it really shines.  Since it lasts in *weeks*, you can set up a 
        beacon in, assuming you have two master water magic users, every zone 
        on the map + 3 wherever else you want.  As an example, what I do...  
        (Two master casters, 10 beacons total)
      1) Sweet Water, by the fountain that gives +50 to all stats.
      2) Paradise Valley, near the Temple of Baa
      3) Hermit's Isle, by the fountain of youth
      4) Kriegspire, by the +30 level well.
      5) Dungeon/Temporary use
      --
      1) Either Dragonsand inside of Abdul's Discount Paradise, or NWC Dungeon
      2) Mire of the Damned, on top of Castle Darkmoor.
      3) Bootleg Bay, on top of the Hall of the Fire Lord
      4) Eel Infested Waters, on top of Castle Alamos
      5) Dungeon/Temporary use
        Since it lasts in WEEKS, and you'd need to be skill level 12 to master
        it anyways, those beacons will last....  oh...  84 days each....  Now 
        I can go whereever I want without any travel times for 30 MP!  :)
        All elemental casters MUST have this spell!

Earth Magic - How can I put this nicely...  I can't.  Earth Magic is almost as 
  bad as the butchered Mind Magic.  Although at least it has a high damage 
  ray-based spell.  One that is.  Also, unlike mind, all of its status effect 
  spells actually WORK.  None the less, two people should expert it, just for 
  Stone to Flesh.
 Basic:  750+ gold (reduced by merchant), Archer/Sorcerer only.
    New Sorpigal, Initiate Guild of the Elements
    Silver Cove, Initiate Guild of Earth
    Frozen Highlands, Adept Guild of the Elements (in White Cap)
    Free Haven, Adept Guild of Earth
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 1000 gold.
    Free Haven, west end of the city.
    New Sorpigal, near the training grounds.
 Master:  Requires 12 ranks, 4000 gold.
    Silver Cove, near the western alchemy shop.
 Spells:
     Stun - It stuns the enemy.  Um..  I'll rephrase.  It stuns the enemy.
        Not much to say really....  I guess it is sorta worth the money...
     Magic Arrow - Well..  since I insulted Fire Arrow so much, I guess that 
        there is only one thing that I can say about this really.  It deals 
        0.5 extra damage on average.  Yip... e..e...  It is physical damage 
        though!
     Protection from Magic - See Protection from Fire.
     Deadly Swarm - the only physically damaging spell that always hits in the 
        game.  There, I actually said something good about Deadly Swarm.
     Stone Skin - Adds to AC.  Included with Hour of Power.  HoP good.  SS not 
        so good.
     Blades - Now, I'm sitting here thinking to myself...  self, why would 
        anyone EVER cast blades?  Not only does it do one less damage then Ice 
        Bolt, but it also has a chance of missing.  It does the same amount of 
        damage at Expert Skill 5 as Deadly Swarm on average...  only DS always 
        hits.  This also costs twice the MP.  I'm sorry, Blades is the worst 
        ray based spell that costs more then 2 MP in the entire game.  Period.  
        There is no redeeming factor to it whatsoever other then the fact that 
        it looks slightly better then Deadly Swarm.
     Stone to Flesh - Well well...  yet another status effect curing spell, 
        only this is grouped in Spirit Magic's anti-"OMG! I'm screwed!" 
        spells.  It cures Stoned.  Of course, only one set of enemies 
        (Medusas) in all of MM6 can stone you, and they are only found in two 
        places in the entire game, but that CAN'T be the point, right?  Then 
        again, there are some water fountains that will stone you (and give a 
        permenant bonus) too, so I guess it isn't TOO bad...  still need two 
        elemental casters for (in case one gets stoned).
     Rock Blast - This is, in my opinion, the only good AoE spell in the game 
        other then Fireball that can be used indoors.  Mainly because it can 
        be used for bowling.  Yes, I'm joking.  It costs twice as much as 
        fireball and deals 1 point more damage per skill level then FB on 
        average.  What is actually good about it?  It bounces off of walls.  
        Meaning you can use Rock Blast the same way you can use sparks (just 
        not close up) and hit enemies that you can't see.  Not to mention it 
        is physical damage.
     Turn to Stone - Quite possibly one of the single most useless status 
        effects in all of MM6...  that actually work.  There are only two 
        situations that this is actually useful.  1) Temple of the Snakes and 
        you cast this on the peasants in order to not hit them with your 
        massive AoE spells.  This is actually the only reason why I ever get 
        the spell.  2) If you are about to die against this enemy that you 
        know isn't immune to magic and you only have 20 MP left on your druid 
        who only has Earth magic.  The second one is far less likely to 
        happen.  Oddly enough though, this status effect actually works.
     Death Blossom - The Wannabe ICBM spell.  This is a combo of Fireball, 
        Rock Blast, Meteor, and some dwarf throwing a gigantic bowling ball in 
        the air.  At least the last part is where it got its looks from.  It 
        doesn't work AT ALL for an ICBM spell.  You can't choose where it 
        targets (just like Rock Blast) except by physically moving, and it 
        goes from you UP a bit, then lands when it arcs down.  Quite 
        literally, this is an offensive spell where the only point of it is to 
        hit yourself.  Confused?  Don't be.  The only purpose I've ever found 
        for the spell is when you are surrounded (outdoors) by flying enemies 
        that are immune to Fire.  Want to know where the only place that 
        happens is at?  Silver Cove, Gargoyles.  It is the only time I've ever 
        used Death Blossom effectively...  by using it on the flying Gargoyle 
        right above me, hitting me and the rest of the gargs.  Beyond that 
        single novelty, it is useless, don't buy it.
     Mass Distortion - the only potentially high damage ray-based spell in 
        Earth Magic.  Mainly because the damage is 25% + 2% per level of their 
        max HP in Magic damage.  The problem, as you can most likely guess 
        from my ranting in the Self spells, is that the damage is Magic based, 
        so most of the end game enemies are immune to it.  However, this spell 
        works very well (even at Normal 1 skill level) versus some high HP 
        enemies such as Cuisenarts and some of the lower powered titans.  What 
        I haven't tried yet is what happens when you have over a 37 skill in 
        Earth...  does it automatically kill any non-resistant enemy?  Then 
        again, I've never been insane enough to actually dump that many points 
        into a crappy magic skill like Earth, but that is just me....

Light Magic - The ultimate defensive magic.  Since it is so easy to master
  light, all sorcerers and clerics should at least have this at rank 4 master.
  I usually have at least one character attempt to max this skill (usually rank
  30 or so by the end of the game).
 Basic:  1500+ gold (reduced by merchant), Cleric/Sorcerer only.
    Silver Cove, Initiate Guild of Light
    Blackshire, Adept Guild of Light
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Silver Cove, near the fountain.
    Kriegspire, towards the southeast.
 Master:  Requires 4 ranks, Saintly reputation.
    Eel Infested Waters, behind the Inn on the southern islands.
 Spells:
     Create Food - USELESS!  Yay, I can cast a spell that makes food, look at
        me!  Not only is it making something you don't need, but it makes so 
        little of it - at rank 1, 1 food.  At rank 10 master, 4.  Now, if
        there was something in the game to actually take away all of your food
        I could understand...  there isn't though.  Skip it.
     Golden Touch - Ahh...  the skill poor group's moneymaker.  At master
        light level, you'll be averaging making more money from Golden Touch
        than a master merchant - and unlike selling things, you can do this
        anywhere!  A must have for all groups, even if you prefer using your
        merchant, as those pesky Plate Mail pickups are actually useful now!
     Dispel Magic - Useless because in Might and Magic VI, there isn't a
        single enemy that casts a defensive spell.  In MM7 this is actually
        one of the most useful spells in the game...  but worthless here.
     Slow - Hey, look, a status effect?  What are the chances it actually
        works...  if you said zero, YOU ARE CORRECT!  Give the person a
        cookie.
     Destroy Undead - Yep, light gets a couple of offensive spells.  This is
        their best.  While it only works against undead, it is the highest 
        damage single target ray spell in the game EASILY.  Awesome against
        Liches, but usually I don't end up using this much due to the high
        MP cost.
     Day of the Gods - Words cannot simply describe how awe inspiring this
        spell is.  What it does is take those worthless statup spells in 
        the game, combine them, and then increase the power of them based
        on your light magic skill.  So, for an example, if you are a rank
        10 master casting Day of the Gods, you are treated as casting
        Lucky Day, Meditation, Precision, Speed, and Power at Master rank
        40!  Unlike what the game says though, the duration isn't one day.  It
        is instead based on the individual spells (which are 1 hour per point
        master level).  Cast this at the start of every day and use the temple
        to recover HP/MP.
     Prismatic Light - potentially the best area of effect spell for Clerics.
        Namely because this is the only area of effect spell in light magic,
        and it seems to match their tendency of having FREAKING MAGIC DAMAGE
        AOE SPELLS!  What is it with Clerics and Magic Damage?!  Why can't it
        be physical...  anyways, works just like Inferno.
     Hour of Power - The next grouping of spells comes in the form of Hour of
        Power.  Awesome spell with a huge drawback.  Like Day of the Gods, HoP
        casts multiple spells at up to 4 times your skill level in light.  The
        bad side is that one of these spells is haste.  As you should already
        know, not only is haste's duration less than that of other spells, but
        you become weak at the end of it..  which is why most people don't
        bother to cast haste.  This forces it on you.  However, if you start
        going ultrahigh in Light magic, it shouldn't bother you anymore.
     Paralyze - Status effect that WORKS?!!  Can it be!  Yes, it can be.  This
        status effect, unlike every single one in Mind, actually works.  
        However, not only is the duration low, but anything immune to magic is
        ALSO immune to this..  meaning in MM6 this spell is almost worthless.
        Again, like dispel magic, in MM7 this spell is actually incredibly
        good.
     Sun Ray - Direct damage ray based attack, but it must be outdoors AND 
        daytime.  On top of it, the damage is magic based, so the only
        creatures this even effectively works on are the weaker dragons in 
        Dragonsand.  Not worth casting, horribly inefficient, and low on use.
     Divine Intervention - The single most powerful healing spell in the game.
        Nothing beats a full heal, removal of all status effects, and full MP
        restore.  Even with the 10 year age penalty, this is nice.  Problem is
        that it must be cast during dawn or dusk.  It IS good for those cases
        where you are slaughering Titans and Hydras in Hermit's Isle and don't
        want to TP back, then beacon.  By that point, magical aging is easily
        remedied, so the only real cost is the time of day.  NOTE:  The only 
        place you can get this spell in the game is the Obelisk treasure.  You
        cannot get more than one of this spell (unlike MM7).

Dark Magic - Okay, when I said it was easy to master light, I did not say it
  was the easiest.  In fact, Dark magic is.  Dark magic is VERY destructive
  (with two exceptions).  It holds the single highest damage spell in the game
  that is physical (!!) damage.  It also holds the most powerful ray-based AoE
  spell in the game, and the spell that noone understands why it is in the
  game.
 Basic:  1500 gold (reduced by merchant), Cleric/Sorcerer only.
    Frozen Highlands, Initiate Guild of Dark (in White Cap)
    Blackshire, Adept Guild of Dark
 Expert:  Requires 4 ranks, 2000 gold.
    Frozen Highlands, southwest corner of White Cap.
    Blackshire, near the bank.
 Master:  Requires 4 ranks, Notorious reputation.
    Paradise Valley, towards the southwest in the town.
 Spells:
     Reanimate - Speaking of that spell noone understands, here it is.  You
        reanimate a creature.  It still hates you mind you.  It doesn't drop
        more money.  It doesn't drop another item.  In fact, I don't even
        think it gives any more experience for killing it again.  I have seen
        only a single use of this spell, and it involves a glitch with
        Armegeddon AND is still completely pointless.  Seems you can revive
        townsfolk, and if they didn't see you cast Armegeddon, they still like
        you.  So, if you really wanted to, you could have a Zombie NPC.  Looks
        the same, acts the same, blah blah blah.  Why this spell is in the
        game, I have no idea.  It even says it on the description that the
        people you raise are still hostile (unlike MM7's, which is useful).
     Toxic Cloud - Who ever said poison damage was low?  This is a very useful
        spell, as it does a high amount of poison damage, which there isn't
        much that resist it.  Also, it bounces around like Rock Blast.
        However, like Poison Spray, the further away the enemy is, the less
        likely it will hit.
     Mass Curse - Assuming this status effect would work, it would have the
        very nice effect of muting all of those enemy spellcasters.  It
        doesn't work, by the way.
     Shrapmetal - The bane of every high HP enemy everywhere.  Shrapmetal at 
        first glance seems to be a crappy version of blades (which is crappy).
        That is, until you realize that it is a melee combat spell.  
        (6+Xd6)*7 damage at master level, where X is your skill in dark magic.
        On average, at 10 skill master, that is dealing 287 damage for 50 MP!
     Shrinking Ray - Yay!  Tiny enemies!...  and the appearance of them being
        small is the only effect it has.  Joy.  Kinda funny to do it on 
        townspeople though...
     Day of Protection - The second exception to the "dark magic is all
        destruction" principle is Day of Protection.  It doesn't belong in
        dark magic - at all.  The holy temple of Free Haven casts it on you
        when you donate even!  In MM7 and up, this is actually light magic.
        It works the same as Day of the Gods, only casting all of the 
        resistance spells, Wizard Eye, and Feather Fall instead.  If you cast
        this, DotG, HoP, and Torch Light at the start of the day, you will
        have every "buff" spell in the game cast upon you.  This and
        Shrapmetal are the major reasons to have a high Dark Magic rating.
     Finger of Death - Now this is an..  unusual spell.  If you have 20 ranks
        in dark (mastered), and you target a non-magic immune enemy, it dies.
        Doesn't matter what it is, it just dies.  Problem is, by the point in
        the game that you would have 20 ranks in dark magic, the only enemies
        you are facing are magic immune.  Thus, this spell gets relegated to
        the "nice thought" bin.
     Moon Ray - A very low damage and high MP cost Inferno-like spell that
        requires it to be night time.  However, there are two things going for
        it.  One, it drains the damage (meaning it is actually one of the most
        efficient healing spells in the game).  Two, it can be used OUTDOORS.
        It is the only "everything within sight" spell (excluding the status
        effects that don't work) that can be cast outdoors.  In MM7 and up,
        the outdoors-only in the moon light part was removed, bumped up to 
        a grandmaster level spell, and renamed Souldrinker, after the
        complaints about how crappy the high level spells were in Dark.  I
        make sure to always pack this spell, even if it IS magic damage.
     Dragon Breath - Fireball on steroids.  Very high damage dealing fire
        magic spell.  Only problem is that by the time you get it, Shrapmetal
        is stronger, faster, less resisted, and cheaper than this spell.
        Don't bother with this spell.
     Armegeddon - This is the reason why dark magic is so easy to master.
        It is the largest AoE spell in the entire game.  What is the area?
        THE ENTIRE OUTDOOR ZONE.  This includes yourself, of course, but
        you can take 50 damage, right?  Problem is, this is damage coming
        from the ground - meaning everything that flies is immune.  I think it
        is magic damage, but I'm not sure...  but still, nothing satisfies you
        more than nuking New Sorpigal, right?  :)
     Dark Containment - Most people think this spell sucks.  I'd agree, but
        it isn't pointless.  This spell is an unknown magic damage based spell
        that inflicts every status effect in the game on the target and deals
        the damage ONLY to the Area of Effect (think fireball) around the
        target.  Unlike the status effects individually, ALL of these work.
        However, it has four things going against it.  First, it costs more MP
        than most small wizards guilds would have.  Secondly, the damage 
        (which is unknown) is magic based, meaning most are immune to the
        damage.  Third, the status effects are useless by the time you'd get
        the spell, and fourth the spell has this nasty tendency to do
        absolutely nothing.  What is the use of this spell, pray tell?  Temple
        of the Snake.  In that temple, there are peasants amongst enemies.  
        You can cast this spell on the peasant (which will stone the peasant
        amongst other things, meaning it will automatically take no damage)
        and hit everything else.  Nice, no?  No one seems to think of that use
        of the spell.  It is the only time (other than playing around) that I 
        actually use the spell.  The only place you can find the spell is in
        the Obelisk treasure, and you only get one of them.



NPCs
************************************************************

A quick review over all of the various cute guys and girls in Enroth.  Also,
   a quick reminder - You can have up to two DIFFERENT NPCs.  You cannot have
   two NPCs that do the same thing (two bankers).  You can, however, have two
   NPCs that do similar things (a banker and a factor), or two use-activated
   NPCs (two Healers).  This list does not count "guests", which are specific
   additions to your party added by plot (Prince of Theves, Violet, Sherry,
   Nicolai, et cetra).
Hint:  If you want a certain NPC, save and reload - it will refresh the NPCs
   in whatever town you are currently at, giving you new NPCs to choose from.
 
 NAME (GP Cost (if any), GP % cost, Reputation decrease (if any):  Rating - 
   Description
 ACOLYTE (200 gp, 2%):  *½ - Bless once per day.  I guess if you are in a 
   100% Knight/Archer group, this would be useful.  Sorta.
 ALCHEMIST (400 gp, 4%):  ½ - Unlimited magic item repair.  That sucks.  I
   mean, not only do you identify items more often, but the Scholar only costs
   100 gp / 1% more, AND provides a 5% XP bonus AND can identify all items.
   Item repair NPCs in MM6 suck.
 APPRENTICE (500 gp, 5%):  * - A two point bonus to spells won't do diddly
   squat.
 ARMORER (200 gp, 2%):  ½ - Everything I said about the alchemist?  Repeat
   here.  This does armor instead of magic items.
 ARMS MASTER (300 gp, -3%):  * - Huh?  What is the point?!  +2 to weapon
   skills isn't bad and all, but it most certainly isn't worth 3% of your gold
   and that precious NPC slot!
 BANKER (1000 gp, 10%):  ****½ - If you have 1000 gp spare, a NPC slot open, 
   and aren't sure what to get, get a banker.  For most of the game, they are
   the best NPCs, as give +20% GP.  Yes, this means you have a profit of 10%
   on each banker.  Nice, no?  For the first half of the game, I always have 
   a banker.
 BARD (1000 gp, 10%):  ***½ - Bards have one use really.  They increase your 
   reputation by a full category as long as you keep them around.  Their main
   use is so you can more easily gain light magic mastery.  In that use, they
   are great.  Otherwise, they are worthless.
 BARRISTER (300 gp, 3%):  (no stars) - Worthless.  Simply worthless.  It adds
   8 to your diplomacy skills.  Of course, since diplomacy is the single most
   useless skill in the game, this is the single most useless NPC in the game.
   (tied with the Councilor)
 BEGGAR (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 BURGLAR (20%, -1 reputation):  ½ - Yes, you read that right.
   Burglars actually take 20% of the money you find, and they don't tell you
   about it. Yeah, increasing Disarm traps by 8 points is useful..  sorta...
   It does have a use though - reducing rep for being evil.  I'd use a pirate
   and Gypsy for that though, or just nuke New Sorpigal.  Both work.
 CARPENTER (1%):  (N/A) - Required for the first Cleric promotion quest.
 CARTOGRAPHER (200 gp, 2%):  **** - Constant Expert Wizard Eye.  There are two
   major uses for this.  The first is at the very beginning of the game before
   you expert air magic - this is a good choice.  The second is if you don't
   have air magic.  You fool. :P
   Actually, I take it back.  There is another really really good use for 
   a Cart - anywhere that dispels magic.  The most annoying part of dispel
   is losing your Wizard Eye.  This lets you keep it.  Thus, this is awesome.
   Thanks to my Kritter for that one.
 CHILD (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.  Only found inside homes.
 CHIMNEY SWEEP (200 gp, 2%):  ?? - If someone could actually tell me the exact
   purpose of luck, I might actually rate it.  2% for a 20 point bonus in luck
   tells me that luck isn't exactly that useful of a stat...
 CLERK (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 COOK (300 gp, 3%):  *½ - Now this is an unusual NPC.  It makes 1 food per day
   to a max of 14 food.  If you were trying to go without ever entering a shop
   or bar in MM6 for some reason, AND avoiding the NWC dungeon, this would
   actually be useful.  Dunno about you, but I don't do that.
 COOPER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 COUNSELOR (200 gp, -2%): (no stars) - Worthless.  Simply worthless.  It adds
   4 to your diplomacy skills.  Of course, since diplomacy is the single most
   useless skill in the game, this is the single most useless NPC in the game.
   (tied with the Barrister)
 DITCH DIGGER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 DUPER (200 gp, 2%, -1 reputation):  * - 8 point increase in merchant.  Not
   really that useful due to the rep loss though.  Skip it.
 ENCHANTER (1000 gp, 10%):  *** - Elemental resistance +20, constant.  I have
   only ever used an enchanter once (well, technically twice) - Castle
   Darkmoor (damn beholders!) and VARN (damn genies!).  Beyond that, they 
   might as well be useless in my mind.
 EXPERT HEALER (2000 gp, 20%):  ** - Expensive, and not really worth it.  
   Unlike healers, these heal all status effects (except Stoned, Dead, and 
   Erradicated).  However, if you are a end game party with no method of 
   "self" healing, grab one of these and a Master Healer, and suffer the
   -70% GP.  Your fault for not having any healing.
 EXPLORER (100 gp, 1%):  **½ - Not quite as good as a horseman, but more
   versitile.  These folks reduce ALL travel times by one day.  I guess if you
   are in a hurry to beat the game, they are useful.  I know I'm not.
 FACTOR (500 gp, 5%):  ** - The poor man's banker.  They provide +10% GP on 
   all money found (profit of 5%).  However, Bankers are better.  The only 
   time I would ever use a Factor is if I couldn't afford a banker, or if I
   needed a lot of money and already had a banker.
 FARMER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 FOLLOWER OF BAA (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 FOOL (100 gp, 1%):  ?? - See Chimney Sweep.  5 point bonus to luck.
 GAMBLER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.  
 GATE MASTER (2000 gp, 20%):  ***** - If you have a party without master Town
   Portal, and you think you need it and can afford the cost, this NPC is 
   awesome.  Once per day use of a master level town portal is easily worth
   20% - until you get it yourself that is.  You do have water magic, right?
 GUARD (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.  
 GUIDE (100 gp, 1%):  (no stars) - Remember how much I think the Quartermaster
   was useless?  This is worse.  It is worse than an explorer in every way, as 
   for the identical price, it reduces map crossing time by 1 day.  Nevermind
   that explorers can do the same thing (along with other crossings).
 GYPSY (100 gp, 1%, -1 reputation):  *** - Gypsies are actually useful.  They
   reduce food usage by 1 (minimum 1), and increase merchant by 3.  The rep
   loss sometimes is wanted, so overall they are pretty good.  Just don't do
   it if you want to keep your reputation high.
 HEALER (500 gp, 5%):  ***½ - A healer cures the party's HP once per day.  
   Period.  No status effect removal, no MP removal...  just heals.  However,
   since they cost VASTLY less than the other healers, they are easily worth
   it, especially in a "No Self" party such as Sorc/Sorc/Sorc/Sorc...  dunno
   why you would play in a No Self party, but to each their own.
 HORSEMAN (100 gp, 1%):  *** - Horseman/women shorten stable trips by 2 days
   (what, do they get out and drive the coach that YOU HIRED faster or
   something?), to a minimum of one day.  This is actually the best "fast
   travel" NPC, as you actually use stables rather often.  However, not only
   are there better NPCs, but by the time you gain master Water, you should be
   Town Portalling everywhere, right?
 INSTRUCTOR (700 gp, 7%):  **** - What happens when you make the already great
   teacher more powerful?  It becomes less efficient, but better.  Instructors
   add 15% to all experience.  Me like, especially end game.
 JESTER (1%?):  ** - Does absolutely nothing.  Do not confuse with the
   fool.  Update!  My Kritter has informed me that the Jester gives you the 
   joke of the day when you hire him/her.  That SO makes it better than most
   of the NPCs in the game, right there.
 LABORER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 LOCKSMITH (300 gp, 3%):  ** - Now, although increasing trap disarm by 6 is
   nice, in my personal opinion it isn't worth the 3%.  There is, however, one
   situation where it might be.  You clear out a dungeon completely, hire a
   locksmith, go around disarming all of the traps, fire the NPC, and open the
   chests.  I prefer to keep my NPCs though.
 MASTER HEALER (5000 gp, 50%):  *** - Single most expensive NPC in the game.
   They heal everything save erradication.  Great for almost any end game
   group where you have more money than you know what to do with anyways.
 MERCHANT (200 gp, 2%):  ****½ - As an alternate to a banker, you might want
   a merchant.  6 point bonus towards Merchant, when you have master merchant,
   is incredibly handy.  Basically, you need to decide if you will receive
   more money from stuff lying on the ground, or selling stuff.  If your 
   primary means of making money is Enchant Item (and you don't have Golden 
   Touch with master light), go for a merchant instead.
 MISSIONARY (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 MYSTIC (1000 gp, 10%):  ***½ - Mystics are awesome for mixed spellcasting
   parties.  They add 3 points to all spell skills.  Handy, but if you have a
   low magic party (or even a moderate one), too expensive to be useful.
 NEGOTIATOR (500 gp, -5%):  ½ - All right, combine two NPCs together, one is 
   good, one is absolutely worthless, charge more, and what do you get?  A
   NPC that adds 4 to Merchant and Diplomacy skills!  Almost worthless, and 
   very overpriced.
 NOBLE (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 PATHFINDER (300 gp, 3%):  ** - Reduces travel time by 3 days.  As was pointed
   out to me from my Kritter, this is great if you have an expert water
   lloyd's beacon waiting for you and you need to move around.
 PEASANT (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 PIPER (300 gp, 3%):  *** - Not bad for the price.  They cast Heroism at Level
   12 Expert (?) once per day.  If you have a party of Archers and Knights, 
   this is for you.  Otherwise, don't bother.
 PIRATE (500 gp, -5%, -1 reputation):  **** - The best of the rep reducing
   NPCs.  Decrease boat travel by two days and an increase of 10% in gold 
   (5% total profit).  Too bad he has the rep decrease, as otherwise he'd be 
   good.  Arrr.
 PSYCHIC (400 gp, 4%): ** - Could someone actually tell me EXACTLY how luck
   works?  I haven't been able to figure out how much it influences things, 
   so I can't tell you how good this NPC is.  Psychics increase perception by
   5 (which is actually very handy) and luck by 10 for each character.
   However, since I've never actually seen the use of luck other than in MItem
   creation, I usually don't bother.
 QUARTERMASTER (200 gp, 2%):  (no stars) - This has got to be the second most
   useless NPC ever that does something.  It reduces the food usage from
   camping outside by 2 (min 1).  Pass this one over, as food doesn't exactly
   cost that much.
 RUSTLER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 SAILOR (100 gp, 1%):  *½ - Barf.  I hate travel time decreasing NPCs.  2 days
   less on a boat (min of one day).  Barf.
 SCHOLAR (500 gp, 5%):  ***** - This is the other one I usually get, only I
   keep these for the entire game.  Free ID Item, +5% experience.  Easily
   worth the cost in all but the most skill plentiful groups.
 SCOUT (300 gp, 3%):  *** - +6 to perception.  Nice if you are avoiding using
   trap disarm.  Not worth it otherwise.
 SCRIBE (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 SERF (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 SMITH (200 gp, 2%):  ½ - Insert all ranting and raving about alchemists and
   armorers here, but this one is for weaponry.
 SPELL MASTER (2000 gp, 20%):  *** - There are few NPCs where the higher 
   powered one is actually worse than the lower powered one.  This is one of 
   those.  Instead of the Mystic giving their +3, this gives a +4.  Costs
   twice as much.  I still use these at end game for magic-intensive parties,
   but only because I have too much money.
 SQUIRE (600 gp, 6%):  ** - Overpriced, but at least better than the
   armsmaster.  Adds 2 points to all armor and weapon skills.  Useful for 
   melee oriented parties only!
 STONE CUTTER (1%):  (N/A) - Required for the first Cleric promotion quest.
 TAILOR (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing. 
 TEACHER (300 gp, 3%):  ***½ - Teachers teach.  Basically, you get an extra
   10% experience bonus (above that of Learning).  Instructors are better, but
   Teachers are easier to find *and* work great in conjunction with any other 
   increase in XP NPCs.  More efficient too.
 THIEF (??? gp, ?%):  When talking to a thief, the game crashes.  'tis a bug.
 TINKER (200 gp, 2%):  ** - See Locksmith, only 4 point bonus for 2% instead.
 TRACKER (200 gp, 2%):  *½ - 2 less days on all map crossings.  Useful to
   those who care about time.  Useless to the rest of us.
 TRADER (100 gp, 1%):  **** - The poor man's merchant.  4 point bonus to 
   merchant.  More efficient, but NPC slots are useful.
 TRAPPER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.
 WEAPONS MASTER (400 gp, 4%):  * - see Arms Master, only +3 to all weapons.
 WEAVER (1%?):  (no stars) - Does absolutely nothing.  
 WIND MASTER (2000 gp, 20%):  ** - I guess they could be useful.  You can fly
   at level 12 expert level (2 hours) once per day.  If you don't have air
   magic, first off beat yourself up.  Secondly, grab this NPC.  If you do
   have air magic, what the heck are you doing?  Go get that fly spell!

65 total NPCs at the moment, let me know if I missed some!

Class Combinations
******************************************************************************
The following are some of the more simpler class combinations:

****************************************
Paladin / Archer / Cleric / Sorcerer
****************************************
The default starting party.  Simply put, this is the most balanced party - at 
first glance - in the game.  Two melees (Paladin and Archer), two healers 
(Paladin and Cleric), two nukers (Archer and Sorcerer), and two mirrors 
(Cleric and Sorcerer).  The problem comes up with the latter part of the game.
At that point, things get much trickier.  Your poor Cleric will be most of the
time out of MP, and your Paladin will be your sole healer.  Not good if your
Paladin gets eradicated.
Great for a first time party, but beyond that, I don't like it much.

Skill-plentiful group.
Money-rich group.
Melee-average group.
Magic-average group.

Start game ease:  8/10
Mid game ease:    9/10
End game ease:    4/10

Skill Strategy:
All characters should Master Meditation rather quickly.  Later on, Master
 Body Building.  All characters should also have normal Bow unless noted.
 All characters should also have Master Learning rather quickly.
Paladin should take Plate, Spear, and Shield for melee skills and max them.
  Spell wise, have the Paladin learn Expert Mind, Master Spirit (4), and
  Master Body (12).  Later on, bring up Spirit to 12, but low priority.
  Put the Paladin with Repair Item and master it.
  Extra skillpoints should be divided between Bow and Body Magic.
  Blasters down the line are a maybe.  Have your Paly be the Perception Expert
Archer should take Chain, Bow, and Dagger for melee skills and max them.
  Spell wise, have the Archer learn Master Air (4), Master Water (12), and 
  Expert Earth.  Later on, you can tack on Master Fire, but low priority.
  Put the Archer with Disarm Trap.
  Extra skillpoints should be divided between Fire and Dagger.
  Blasters down the line are a definite yes.
Cleric should take Chain, Bow, and Shield for melee skills and max them.
  Spell wise, Master Body (12) ASAP, then go for Light/Dark.  Mastering
  Spirit (4) before reaching your first instant death enemy is a must.
  Give the Cleric Master Merchant, but don't go beyond 7 skillpoints.
  Later skillpoints should be devoted almost exclusively to Dark.
  Blasters down the line are a definite yes.
Sorcerer should take Dagger and Leather for melee skills and max them.
  Spell wise, Master Fire (12) and Water (12) ASAP.  Take Air after.  Expert 
  Earth before reaching the temple of the snakes.  Later on, go headlong
  into Light and don't look back.
  Later skillpoints should be dumped exclusively into Light Magic.

Hireling wise, a Scholar and a Teacher would be best.

****************************************
Knight / Druid / Cleric / Sorcerer
****************************************
In my opinion, this is a much more balanced party then above - if you like 
casting.  You only have one real melee character (Knight), but you have two
healers (Druid and Cleric), two nukers (Druid and Sorcerer), and two mirrors
(Cleric and Sorcerer).  This time though, your backup has quite a bit of MP, 
and your melee character has buttloads of HP.  The real weakness with this
party is anything that can zero out your MP, namely Devils and Druids, as well
as highly magic resistant enemies, Gold Dragons being the notorious example).
You aren't going to have a choice on whether you are going to fight Devils or 
not, so this might not be the newbie class group for you.

Skill-average group.
Money-poor group.
Melee-average group.
Magic-rich group.

Start game ease:  6/10
Mid game ease:    9/10
End game ease:    7/10

Skill Strategy:
All characters should master Body Building rather quickly. Also, have Learning
 be at approximately Level/5 + 3 at all times (so by level 20 Master Learning)
 and be sure to have the best weaponry for your Knight!
Knight should take Plate, Axe, and Shield for melee skills and max them.
  Give the Knight Merchant, Repair Item, Perception, AND Trap Disarm.
  Later on, master Bow.
  All future skillpoints should be dumped into Axe.
  Definite No on blasters.
Druid should take Shield at master, Leather at Expert, and dagger at expert.
  Spell wise, Master Body (12) ASAP, Master Spirit (4), Master Water (12), 
  Expert Earth.  From there, put points into Fire and Air equally.
  All future points should be for the purpose of maxing out all magic and
  meditation.
  If you have any more past that, master Leather.
  Definite No on blasters.
Cleric should take Chain, and Shield for melee skills and max them.
  Spell wise, Master Body (12) ASAP, then go for Light/Dark.  Mastering
  Spirit (4) before reaching your first instant death enemy is a must.
  Split all skillpoints past that between Spirit, Dark, and Meditation.  
Sorcerer should take Dagger and Leather for melee skills and max them.
  Spell wise, Master Air (4) and Water (12) ASAP.  Take Fire up to Master 
  after.  Expert Earth before reaching the temple of the snakes.  
  Later on, split skillpoints between Fire, Meditaiton, and Light.  Make sure
  you are a light master, but don't go overboard.

Hireling wise, a Scholar and a Spellmaster would be best, but you most likely
  can't afford such a group, so go Scholar/Banker for most of the game.

****************************************
Knight / Knight / Paladin / Archer
****************************************
Very heavy melee group (all four), with some casting thrown in for flavor.  
Oddly enough, from what I've seen this is actually the *best* newbie group.  
Loads of HP spread out, a healer and a nuker at your fingertips.  Now, 
experienced players will want to skip out on this grouping really, as the 
further in the game you get, the more difficult this group gets.  There is one
popular modification on this group that makes it really powerful though....
This group's main source of healing will either be hirelings or the Paladin's
Share Life - NOT Power Cure.

Skill-rich group.
Money-rich group.
Melee-rich group.
Magic-poor group.

Start game ease: 10/10
Mid game ease:    5/10
End game ease:    3/10

Skill Strategy:
All characters should max out Body Building ASAP.  Also, throw one point
 into learning and nothing more.  Finally, when you reach that point, have 
 everyone master blasters and spend every skillpoint you can into it (beyond
 mastery... most likely WELL beyond mastery).
Knight1 should take Plate, Sword, and Bow for melee skills and max them.
  Merchant and Identify Item are on this Knight's plate skill wise.  When
  faced with extra skillpoints before Blaster, throw them in Merchant.
Knight2 should take Leather, Spear, and Bow for melee skills and max
  them.  Repair Item and Disarm Trap sound good for this knight.  Get Disarm
  to 9 (or else get an item that increases the chace to disarm) and then save
  points up for blaster or dump points into Body Building.  
Archer should virtually ignore all melee skills until elementals are mastered.
  Master Air (12, not 4), Fire (12), and Water (12) rapidly.  Ignore Earth.
  After that, work on the Archer's Chain skill.
  Water Magic, above all, is the priority.  Secondary is Air.
  Any other skillpoints should be devoted to Meditation, even beyond mastery
  until you get blasters.
Paladin should virtually ignore all melee skills until self is mastered.
  Master Body (12) and Spirit (12, not 4) ASAP.  After that, start working on
  Plate until mastery, then go for Meditation until you get blasters.
Hireling wise, Weaponmaster and Banker, until later on when you can afford an
 Armormaster to replace the Banker (say...  when you have 300k in cash on
 hand) and when you get blasters, replace the Weaponmaster with a Healer.

****************************************
Paladin / Archer / Paladin / Archer
****************************************
Speaking of the devil, we have a rather unusual group that is actually still 
suited towards newbies and is still visually balancing.  2 nukers, 2 healers,
4 melees.  Of course, as any expert could tell you, you aren't going to be
doing so hot without any mirror spells, but for a newbie this is fine.

Skill-average group.
Money-average group.
Melee-rich group.
Magic-average group.

Start game ease:  9/10
Mid game ease:    6/10
End game ease:    5/10

Basically, same as the above group on skill distribution, only with the
 below exceptions:
Paladin1 (Knight1 above) should put extra skillpoints into Body and Spirit
 (eventually mastering both) and then Meditation.  Don't bother with ID item.
Archer1 (Knight2 above) should disregard the melee weapons entirely and put
 points into Fire and Water.
Hirelings should be a Banker and a scholar.  Later on, replace the banker
 with an armormaster.

Now, for some of the less obviously balanced (but in reality still very good)
groups:

****************************************
Paladin / Druid / Sorcerer / Sorcerer
****************************************

Now, I know what you are thinking...  "what the hell."  Oddly enough, this 
group is actually balanced very well.  You have two healers (Paladin and 
Druid), one melee, three nukers (Druid and Sorcerers), and two mirrors 
(Sorcerers).  It works very well since typically your healing doesn't work 
very well towards the end part of the game, and since your Paladin can still
melee and your Druid can still nuke at the end of the game.  I don't suggest
this one for newbies since it is kinda low in the melee department, but it
works - and works better then most group combos that I've seen.

Skill-average group.
Money-average group.
Melee-poor group.
Magic-rich group.

Start game ease:  7/10
Mid game ease:    9/10
End game ease:    8/10

Skill Strategy:
All characters should max out Body Building ASAP.  Meditation should progress
 slowly, but everyone should eventually have it mastered.  Learning should be 
 Mastered and no more points put into it.
 Blasters are optional for everyone.  They aren't too bad (especially on the
 Paladin), but at the same time you can do *more* damage faster on some other
 characters (the Sorcerers).
Paladin should take on the responsibilites of Plate armor and some Melee
 weapon.  To be honest, whatever the first melee artifact that you find is,
 Master it.  Even if it is something crappy like staff.  Mordred doesn't
 count.  Expert Body, Master Mind (yes, I just said to master it),
 Master Spirit and Repair item.  Eventually, Master Body and start pouring
 skillpoints into either your weapon or Blaster.
Druid should ignore all weaponry and armor, but equip leather and a shield
 anyways.  Go for Master Water, Master Body, Master Spirit, and Master Fire.
 Skill wise give the Druid Merchant and have him/her master it.  Later on, 
 Master Air and keep Air and Fire at the same skill level (high).
Sorcerer1 should expert dagger and equip leather armor (no skill in it).
 Go for Fire and Water mastery on this guy, and eventually Light.  All skill
 should go to light and dark from basically then on.  Dark Mastery will
 eventually come anyways, but this one's priority is light.
Sorcerer2 should expert dagger and equip leather armor (no skill in it).
 Go for Air and Water mastery on this guy, and eventually Dark.  All skill 
 should go to light and dark from basically then on.  Light Mastery will
 eventually come anyways, but this one's priority is dark.

NPC wise, you need the obligitory Scholar.  Banker for the second NPC early.
 Later on, switch to the elementalist for your second.

***************************************
Cleric / Sorcerer / Sorcerer / Druid
***************************************

This is the single most powerful group that I've ever done.  It annihilated
everything in sight for the entire game.  I can see how a newbie would have
huge problems with this group (no melee at all), but it works incredibly well.
Only drawback is that it is a money-poor and melee-poor group until you get
enchant item.  Whole point of the group is to never be in Melee either by
ICBMing (Using Fly + Meteor Shower / Starburst) or Blaster Rifling.

Skill-rich group.
Money-poor group initially.  Later, Money-rich.
Melee-poor group initially.  Later, Melee (well... ranged)-rich.
Magic-rich group.

Start game ease:  4/10
Mid game ease:    8/10
End game ease:   10/10

Skill Strategy:
All characters should max out all magic that they can eventually.  This
 includes Earth and Mind even.  Also, Blaster will have more skillpoints then
 any skill you have.  Period.  Maybe light having more.  If so, not by much.
 Meditation and Learning are to be mastered ASAP, and left alone after.
 Body Building is completely optional, but if you bother, make sure everyone
 builds up HP the same way.  This is important as your main source of healing
 isn't Power Cure but Shared Life.
Finally, ignore shields and give everyone LEATHER armor (unless you find a
 really good chain, then give it to the Cleric).
An alternate strategy is to go with dark magic throughout the game.  That's 
 boring in my opinion, and makes the already mid game ease easier, and the end
 game slightly more difficult.  Why bother at all?
Cleric should focus initially on Body, then on Light.  Give the cleric Master
 Merchant, but you aren't going to go beyond that - Golden Touch is better.
 Repair Item on the Cleric is also a good idea.
Sorcerers should initially focus on Water, Fire, and Air.  Eventually focusing
 on Meditation, Fire, and Air exclusively.  Give both perception and have them
 be twins of eachother.
Druid should focus initially on Spirit, Body, and Air.  Eventually focusing on
 Spirit alone (until Blasters).

You'll notice Trap Disarm isn't even up there.  You don't need it.  At first, 
 cautious fighter trap disarm actually works.  Later on, Telekinesis takes
 over.
NPC wise, you need the obligitory Scholar.  Merchant for the second one early.
 Later on, switch to the elementalist for your second.

***************************************
Cleric / Cleric / Sorcerer / Sorcerer
***************************************
Very similar to the above group, thus, I'll only point out the differences.
Due to the loss of an elemental spell slinger, some things (such as Oozes)
become more difficult.  At the same time, healing no longer becomes a problem.

Skill-rich group.
Money-average group initially.  Later, Money-ultrarich.
Melee-poor group initially.  Later, Melee (well... ranged)-rich.
Magic-rich group.

Start game ease:  5/10
Mid game ease:    7/10
End game ease:   10/10

Skill Strategy:
Both clerics should master body and spirit.  Expert mind.  In addition to
 this, one cleric should be working on Merchant, the other her weapon/armor
 skills.  Eventually, both want to go mainly dark magic.  Meditation should
 be at 20 or higher by the time you reach blasters.
Both sorcerers should master water and air.  Expert earth.  One should master
 fire, the other should catch up a bit later.  The one not going for fire
 immediately should work on weapon/armor skills and repair item.  Later on,
 one needs to go for Light, the other for dark.  Meditation should be at 25
 or higher by the time you reach blasters.
All characters from then on should dump skillpoints into blasters and their 
 respective mirrored paths.  Ignore all other skills at that point.
NPC wise, you need a Scholar and Banker initially.  After keeping 1,000,000
 gold in your hands after training, switch from a banker to a spell master.

Here are some Oddball ones that I've seen over the years:

***************************************
Druid / Druid / Druid / Druid
***************************************

To be honest, I have no idea why anyone would ever, EVER do such a stupid 
group.  I had someone suggest this to me once.  I died.  Quickly.  This is my
warning to you.

Skill-poor group.
Money-poor group.
Melee-poor group.
Magic-average group (average due to no mirrored path casters).

Start game ease:  3/10
Mid game ease:    1/10
End game ease:   ??/10

To be honest, I have no idea how you'd go about such a HP-anemic group without
 light magic.

***************************************
Archer / Archer / Archer / Archer
***************************************

Oddly enough, this one isn't too bad.  I've done it once.  Couldn't do Castle
Darkmoor and stopped, but I was a young'in back then.  Dunno if I could do it
now.

Skill-rich group.
Money-poor group.
Melee-rich group.
Magic-average group (average due to no mirrored path casters).

Start game ease:  7/10
Mid game ease:    4/10
End game ease:   ??/10

Again, no thoughts on how to do it as of this time.

***************************************
Knight / Knight / Knight / Knight
***************************************

I saw this oddball group in the official guide back oh so many years ago.
I had no idea why anyone would put themselves through such a group.  For
anyone wanting a challenge that doesn't involve killing off a character, or
hacking the game, this one is for you.

Skill-rich group.
Money-average group.
Melee-rich group.
Magic-inept group.  You have no magic.  Period.

Start game ease:  8/10
Mid game ease:    1/10
End game ease:   ??/10

Just a general suggestion:  Invest in Fly scrolls and hire a Gatemaster.

***************************************
Paladin / Archer / Dead / Dead
***************************************

This is actually the game that I'm working on now as I speak.  Very unusual
group to put it mildly.  It takes all of my combat tactics that I knew and
throws it out the window.  Yes, I purposely killed my other two team members
and kept them dead.  I think one of them just passed -1500 HP, and I'm at VARN
if that tells you anything.  However, I can't actually pass VARN so far myself
as I keep getting stunlocked.  I'll figure out how to get around this later.

Skill-inept group.  Both characters have to do double duty.
Money-average group to start, Money-superduperrich group later.
Melee-rich group.
Magic-poor group.

Start game ease:  5/10
Mid game ease:    2/10
End game ease:    1/10

First off, do whatever you can to avoid skills you don't need.  As an example,
 don't get ID item, Disarm Trap or Mind Magic (above expert).
Secondly, avoid situations where you get surrounded by lots of spellcasters.
 The single hardest dungeon that I've been in with this group (other then 
 Darkmoor) was Gharik's Forge.  Why?  I got stunlocked EVERY TIME.
Third, don't sell wands.  Ever.  Unless they are very crappy (Wand of Flame...
 Wand of Harm....  et cetra) that is.
Fourth, ignore quests you don't need to do.  Biggest example:  Temple of the
 Snake quest to rescue Emmanuel.  That place = DOOM! for your party.
Fifth, always... and I mean ALWAYS keep a beacon at the NWC dungeon.

Skill wise....
Both characters need Meditation and Learning Mastered.  ASAP.  Lack of MP and
 lack of levels are the two biggest killers that I've seen thus far.  Unlike
 console RPGs, you don't get twice the amount of XP because you have half of
 your party dead - you get the same amount, only the dead ones don't get XP
 from monsters.  You will most likely be *lower* level then normal still.
Paladin should have Merchant (you need it for the beginning) mastered third.
 (Med and Learning mastered first and second, respectively) Next master
 Body magic, then Repair, then Spirit, then Expert Mind.  This is the one you
 want expert Perception on.  After all of that, Master Shield, then Plate,
 then Bow, then *finally* Sword.  With any spare points, either put them in
 Blaster, Body Magic, or Body Building.
Archer should have Air Mastered third (YES, this means you need to do Cory's 
 Estate quickly.  Pain in the butt, but worth it) and Water fourth.  Go ahead
 and master Dagger at this time.  Later on, Master Fire, Chain, and Bow.
 All remaining skillpoints should go in Body Building, Meditation, Fire, and 
 Air magics.

NPCs the first part of the game you'll need the Scholar/Banker combo.  Later, 
 by the time you get your first 500,000 gold, take out that banker and throw 
 in an instructor.

Special Thanks
******************************************************************************
Special thanks goes to my Kritter for reminding me about certain things I had
 forgotten repeatedly (well, every time I'd update the guide) along with some
 uses for more useless NPCs.

Disclaimer
******************************************************************************
This document is ©2003-2004 by Ęther SPOON! / Robert M. Shivers.
This document may only be used by specified person(s) below.  All other
 person(s) must contact me at webmaster [at] vandaliersheart [dot] com.
By no means, without authorization, may this document be reproduced in part
 or whole upon any Internet Website or any production other then personal use
 by the end users such as printing for their own personal reference.
No modification of this document other then by myself is permitted.
All respective trademarks mentioned in the above Basics Guide is a trademark
 of their respective trademark holders.

Authorized locations of this document online:
GameFAQs.com
vandaliersheart.com


Version History
******************************************************************************
0.01 (07/20/2003) - Initial Writing of the Basics Guide.  Missing Light/Dark.
0.02 (12/28/2003) - Addition of NPCs.
0.05 (01/04/2004) - Finally finished Light/Dark magic.
0.07 (01/05/2004) - Added locations to obtain skills, other things.
0.10 (01/14/2004) - Fixed typoes and such.
0.11 (07/15/2004) - Added extra info on Cartographer.