The sixth entry of the Might and Magic series would introduce the gameplay system that would be utilized in the following sequels. Despite the heavy overhaul, the basic goals would remain the same as a party-based, open world RPG. Players would continue to seek out out quests, fight terrible creatures, and explore another vast world laid at their feet.
In this game, the players must stop an invasion of their world by the demon-like Kreegan who have arrived in meteors that have fallen to their world. Unlike the previous games, Mandate of Heaven would start in a world shared by its tactical cousin, Heroes of Might and Magic II
, otherwise known as Enroth. Events from that game would also play a part within its backdrop, although players need not have played it in order to understand what was required of them in this iteration.
The Manual was particularly noteworthy for continuing the tradition of providing plenty of expanded fiction encompassing the world of Might and Magic. In particular, the manual and the conventions of the game were described by a wizard named Klavis Verge who breaks the fourth wall
to guide the player through its pages. Peripherals such as the mouse and keyboard are treated as tools in the wizard's descriptions, as one example, and the PC is simply described as a window to another world.
As was a tradition of the series, a color map showing the world of Enroth was also included.
Previous games in the series held back the sci-fi aspect of the game until close to the very end when everything would be revealed, but with Mandate of Heaven, this was introduced somewhat from the start. Players unfamiliar with the extensive back story of the series, however, could ignore the introductory cut scene and dive into the game suspecting nothing and focus only on the introduction provided by the manual.
The introduction of the game narrates the arrival of the demonic Kreegans in fiery meteors that crash into the land of Enroth. Four characters are confronted with the invasion in the town of Sweetwater and narrowly escape with the help of the mighty wizard, Falagar, who trains and prepares them for their return to the world in order to save it. They come upon five letters from King Roland and one letter from the devil king, Xenofex, at an abandoned goblin camp, all of which are included in the manual of the game.
Through the letters, and an introduction by a wizard named Klavis Verge, the events that had also led up to the present following the arrival of the Kreegan invasion are recounted. Key to the success of the player's quest lies within what has become known as the Mandate of Heaven.
Klavis Verge also goes on to explain that the Mandate has been called by some as the moral order of the universe, to do what is right instead of what is done to one's own advantage. If a king throws aside force and instead rules by moral order, then they can safely sit upon the throne. If not, if they use their power for personal greed and power, then they have lost the Mandate of Heaven.
King Roland, the ruler of Enroth, has gone forth to seek out and destroy the demonic creatures said to be terrorizing his distant holds, but he is betrayed by one of his own. His army is ambushed and he, along with his court wizard, Tanir, and Sir Ragnar, are captured. To make matters worse, a doomsday cult has also found purchase within the lives of the people of Enroth. The Temple of Baa, as Klavis Verge also explains, seeks to destroy the unspoken bonds between god and humanity.
With the loss of King Roland and his army, the Temple seeks to convince the people of Enroth that he has lost the Mandate of Heaven and that they must force his dynasty from the throne paving the way for their own followers. Only the King's son is left behind, and many fear that he may not have the strength to resist this conspiracy of power. Even the lords that squabble over what to do in the King's absence are more concerned for themselves than in supporting the Prince and rumors abound dare to whisper that one of them may even belong to the Temple.
Thus, it falls to the party of four to see their way through the land and complete its challenges in order to save the kingdom and drive out the Kreegan once and for all.
Through several quests, they manage to gain the help of the Regent Humphrey in Castle Ironfist who asks them for help in locating the King. But to do so, they must first find counsel with the Oracle of Enroth. However, the members of the Enrothian Council must agree to their audience and not all of them have the King's best interests at heart. Even worse, each one has a special quest that the player must perform in order to earn their respective support. Through several trials, the party unmasks the noble that is a member of the Temple of Baa but before they can capture him, he escapes. The remaining members, however, allow the party to consult the Oracle.
The Oracle, as the player will discover, is actually a computer named Melian created by the Ancients who is the Guardian of Enroth. However, it is damaged and requires special memory crystals to repair it. Questing for these and returning with them, the party restores the Oracle who then informs them of the true nature of their enemies. He tells them that the weapons they need to defeat the tougher versions of the Kreegan lie below in the Planetary Control Center, but it is locked and only a Control Cube will allow access and that the only one left on Enroth can be found in the desert of Dragonsand.
Beneath Dragonsand is the Tomb of VARN which was the original ship that the colonists had used to populate the world of Enroth. After searching through the ship for scrolls containing the required passwords needed to access the main control room, the party must fight through its robot guardians. They discover the Control Cube and bring it back to the Oracle, accessing the Planetary Control Room in order to retrieve the necessary weapons said to have been forged during the Time of Wonders.
They manage to find the Control Cube and then acquire a spell needed to protect the world should they fail in battle against the Kreegans. They make their way back to the town of Sweetwater where the Kreegan Hive has built itself up, make their way through the hordes, and destroy the power reactor at its heart. On their way out, they are confronted by the Kreegan Queen and her army and are forced to fight through their ranks and escape before the destroyed reactor explodes, taking the Hive and Sweetwater with it.
They are ultimately hailed as heroes at the end, but mysterious forces watching from afar thank them for saving Enroth for far darker reasons.
Mandate of Heaven is the first game in the series to eschew the grid-based movement
of the previous series for a free roaming system allowing for a complete 360 degree range of maneuverability, similar to that found in titles such as Elder Scrolls: Arena
. It also used 3D graphics to render the environment of its world although it also used them in conjunction with animated 2D sprites representing monsters and special effects among other assets. Further, the game utilized an extensive number of cut-scenes and rendered FMVs.
Players were called upon to create a four-character party, a step down from the six-member system supported by previous entries in the series; although it would follow this up with an extensive overhaul of its class and skill systems.
Depending on which class is chosen for each character, they will start with two preset skills, and the player will be able to choose two extra starting skills, with the available options depending on the character's class. Though each character only starts with four skills, they can always learn any other skills allowed by their class from teachers spread throughout the land. The six available classes are Knight, Cleric, Sorcerer, Paladin, Archer, and Druid. Each class can be promoted to greater versions of their starting class should they complete a corresponding epic quest.
The first set of skills is weapon skills, including Staff, Sword, Dagger, Axe, Spear, Bow, and Mace. Next there are the armor skills, consisting of Leather, Chain, Plate, and Shield. The various schools of magic are Fire Air, Water, Earth, Spirit, Body, Mind, Light, and Dark, though Light and Dark are not available to any class at the beginning.
Finally there are the miscellaneous skills, denoting all skills which do not fit into any other category: Identify, Merchant, Repair, Bodybuilding, Meditation, Perception, Diplomacy, Disarm Trap, and Learning. With all skills, characters may eventually find teachers who can teach an upgrade to Expert and eventually Master level of the skill.
This gameplay system would be used throughout the rest of the series with minor changes between each iteration.
Time is also an important consideration in the game as day and night cycles pass offering new opportunities or in making things more difficult depending on the location. Several quests in the game are also tied to their own schedule, meaning that when an NPC says that they are giving a month to complete a quest, they mean it. This can also determine when the safest time might be for the party to rest and recoup their strength if they are out in the wilderness.
The statistics for each character are limited only by the number of levels that they may earn, among other factors such as magical effects, allowing for tremendously high numbers that break the typical "18" cap. However, if any statistic drops to 0, it will result in immediate death for that character.
The basic statistics used in the game seem derived from the Dungeons and Dragons model of statistics, although carry different names so as to differentiate themselves. They are:
- Intellect - General knowledge. Important to sorcerers as it can affect spell points. Important to archers later on at higher levels as they begin learning sorcerer spells.
- Might - Raw strength. Important to any fighting class such as Knights and Paladins. Affects the damage a character can inflict in melee combat.
- Personality - A character's general degree of appeal to others. Particularly important to clerics as it affects their pool of spell points. Important to paladins when, at higher levels, they begin learning cleric spells.
- Endurance - Stamina. Affects how many hit points a character initially has to start with and will gain every time they level. Particularly important to fighters.
- Speed - Agility and general quickness affecting initiative. A faster character improves (increases) their Armor Class rating making them harder to hit.
- Accuracy - A character's ability to land hits during combat. This is particularly important to archers.
- Luck - Measures the general chances of a character succeeding when all else seems to have failed. Random and unpredictable.
- Knights are the workhorses of the fighting class, coming onto the scene with the largest selection of weapons and armor; in fact, they are able to eventually learn any and all weapon and armor skills. Knights begin with the greatest number of hit points of any class and gain the most hit points when they advance in level. Knights can be promoted to Cavalier status (gaining two hit points per level) and again to become an all-out Champion (gaining another two hit points per level). Being the quintessential warriors, knights have no mind for magic, and so may never learn spells or the Meditation skill.
- Clerics are adventurous, spell-casting holy men who are mediocre fighters. Their magic is most powerful in the areas of healing and defense. Clerics can learn from the mirrored paths of the Light and Dark magics, and the awesome spells available in those realms. For weapons, however, Clerics can only choose the mace, staff, or bow, though they are able to learn all armor skills except for Plate. With much diligence and study, Clerics can ascend to Priest (gaining one hit point and spell point per level), and eventually High Priest (gaining another spell point and an extra hit point).
- Sorcerers are students of Elemental magic, concentrating on offensive and utilitarian magic. Downright rotten fighters, they are barely able to use the dagger, the staff, or the bow effectively, and may not even attempt to use any other weapon types. Locked out of all armor skill but leather, they also have the lowest hit points of all classes. Despite these shortcomings, Sorcerers command tremendous offensive spells, and also have access to the paths of Light and Dark magic, the most powerful wizardry in the land. With much spell casting experience, Sorcerers can be transformed into Wizards (gaining one hit point and one spell point per level) and then to Archmages (gaining another spell point and another hit point).
- Paladins cross the line between Knight and Cleric, performing both roles well, though not as well as either of the more focused classes alone. Like Knights, Paladins can learn to use any type of weapon or armor; they simply don't have as many choices to begin with. Paladins begin with the Spirit realm of magic, and can later learn to use the Clerical Mind and Body realms. They are, however, restricted from learning the powers of the realms of Light and Dark, as well as the Elemental magics. Paladins who remain true to their cause may achieve the rank of Crusader (gaining one hit point and one spell point per level) and ultimately ascend to Hero (gaining another hit point and spell point per level).
- Archers are another type of hybrid, in this case between Knight and Sorcerer. Archers may learn to use any type of weapon, although their specialty is the bow. Their discipline prevents their use of shield or plate armor. An Archer's talent for spell-casting begins with the Air realm of magic, and may eventually grow to take in all the Elemental Realms. the realms of Light and Dark magic, however, are beyond their grasp. Archers can focus themselves to become Battle Mages (gaining one hit point and one spell point per level), and eventually may aspire to Warrior Mages (gaining another hit point and spell point per level).
- Druids combine the best of Sorcerer and Cleric classes. They have few hit points, and make poor fighters; their arsenal is limited to staff, dagger, and bow, and their armor is restricted to leather and shield. On the plus side, they can build a heck of a circle or rocks, and can use both Sorcerer and Clerical magic: that unique mix allows them to cast certain spells no other class can. They cannot, however, learn Light and Dark magic. To make up for that, Druids may begin their Apprenticeships with the Learning skill. A Druid can grow to become a Great Druid (gaining one hit point and one spell point per level) and eventually to an Arch Druid (gaining another spell point and another hit point per level).
- Staffs are two-handed poles equally good for offense and defense. Expert ranking with the staff will increase the character's armor class and Master ranking will allow them to occasionally stun their opponents.
- Sword skill covers most types of blades longer than a knife. Expert swordsmen gain a quicker attack while Master swordsmen may wield any one-handed sword in their left hand and another weapon in their right.
- Daggers don't do the kind of damage that a sword or an axe can deliver, but their quick attacks can sometimes let a character get in two slices for every one move made by a slower opponent. Expert dagger fighters can wield a dagger in their left hand while using another weapon in their right. Master dagger fighters have a chance of killing a surprised opponent with a single blow.
- Axes are rather slow on the attack, but do a lot of damage when they hit. Expert axe fighters gain more speed in their attacks while Master axe fighters can deliver tremendous damage.
- Spears make their point by including all pole weapons with blades attached to the business end. Versatile, they can be used one- or two-handed, but they work better with two hands. Expert ranking with the spear will increase a character's armor class, and Master ranking will boost damage caused.
- Bow skill targets both bows and crossbows. Expert marksmen gain a speed increase with their weapon, while Masters fire two arrows with every attack.
- Mace skill covers all blunt trauma weapons: batons, flails, the general whack-in-the-head arsenal. Expert mace swingers do extra damage with their weapons, while Masters can stun opponents.
Note: all armor types (not counting shield) carry a penalty by slowing down a character; Master and Expert kill in armor reduces this drag.
- Leather armor is the lightest armor available. Providing less protection than chain or plate armor, it also slows a character down the least.
- Chain armor provides more protection than leather and less than plate; thus, it also slows a character down more than leather.
- Plate armor delivers the most gong for your gold, affording the most protection, but also the greatest reduction in speed.
- Shield skill directly improves a character's armor class while a shield is equipped. Expert and Master shield ranking increase this defensive bonus.
Note: Expert and Master ranks in the various Magic skills have different effects for each individual spell of that Magic school.
- Fire magic is a good way to burn a bad guy, and also includes speed and pain spells.
- Air magic tends to be defensive and informational in nature, and includes spells of accuracy and flight.
- Water magic is equally useful for defense and offense, and concentrates on spells that move or change things.
- Earth magic is defensive and includes spells that protect, bind, and strengthen.
- Spirit magic concentrates on spells of life and death. Live forever, bring back the dead, slow or accelerate aging.
- Body magic cures disease, dissolves poisons, and generally heals and enchants.
- Mind magic charms and confuses.
- Light magic includes some of the strongest spells in the land. However, Light magic cannot be chosen by beginning characters and must be learned and mastered during the player's travels.
- Dark magic, as with Light above, comprises some of the most powerful magic in Enroth. Spells of darkness can have spectacular results, but generally carry a price. As above, Dark magic cannot be chosen by beginning characters, and must be gathered and invoked during your travels.
- Identify gives meaning to items and equipment; you can't use something until you know what it is! This skill will automatically identify an item, depending on the party member's skill level. Special items may need an Expert or Master in this skill to properly identify them.
- Merchant skill helps adjust prices in the party's favor, whether buying or selling. Remember: buy low, sell high.
- Repair skill allows characters to fix broken equipment. The higher the skill level, the better the quality of item the character can play handyman on. Expert and master rankings allow characters to repair complex items and artifacts.
- Bodybuilding skill pumps the party member up, adding hit points directly to totals.
- Meditation adds spell points directly to the relaxed character's totals.
- Perception sharpens the character's chance of noticing a trap: catch it in time, and the damage it causes can be reduced or even avoided. A higher perception skill equals a chance to escape stronger escapes; Expert and Master rankings allow a character to notice and escape different types of traps.
- Diplomacy is like having a politician in your pocket! It alters the party's reputation in its favor. Have a 10 skill ranking in Diplomacy? Talk to a nobleman, and your reputation goes up by 10; talk to a goblin, and it goes down by 10. The character fits in everywhere!
- Disarm Trap skill is the perfect thing for when you can't remember where you left your keys: all chests will open automatically, but you may get hit by a trap. The more skill the party member has, the better the character's chance to disarm any trap before it goes off.
- Learning skill increases the experience the character receives. Every rank of skill increases the experience bonus the character earns; experts double and Masters triple this bonus. Learn enough to do the math and you'll see how this can add to the party's advantage.
Each of the various schools of magic have their own unique spells. Spells can have all types of wildly varying effects, from simply lighting a dark hallway to calling down a cataclysmic storm of meteors on everybody in the vicinity! Here is a list of all the spells arranged by school, with descriptions of their effects and the bonus gained from Expert and Master ranking in the relevant Magic skill.
- Torch Light produces a sphere of light around your party, though this only works indoors. Use it for those dark caverns where the shadows conceal dangers! It costs one spell point to cast. Expect it to last one hour times your adventurer's skill rank. At Expert and Master levels, the light produced is noticeably brighter. An essential spell!
- Flame Arrow fires a single flaming arrow. Don't be taken in by the power of fire; this spell is notoriously inaccurate, with no more chance of finding its target than a regular arrow. It costs two spell points to cast, and the character must recover her energy before she can use it again. It works instantaneously, and will do between one and eight points of damage, assuming it hits anything! At Expert level, Flame Arrow costs just one point, and can be used again more quickly; Masters recover more quickly and fire without cost, making it a bargain!
- Protection from Fire increases all characters' resistance to fire: one point of resistance for every rank of the caster's Fire Magic skill. The cost is three points and the caster must recover. The effects last for one hour per skill rank. Experts double the resistance, while Masters triple it.
- Fire Bolt launches a burst of fire at a single target. Costing four points, it takes a while to rebuild strength to launch again. It fires immediately, and will deliver between one and four points of damage multiplied by a character's skill rank. Experts are ready to fire again more quickly, while Masters recover even faster.
- Haste reduces the time it takes to recover from casting a spell or attacking with a weapon by 25 seconds. Beware, for characters will be weak for six hours after this spell wears off. It costs five points to cast, and requires recovery. It lasts for four minutes plus one additional minute for every skill rank of the character. Experts reduce the recovery time, while a Master's spell affects the entire party.
- Fireball targets a single monster, but explodes to hurt anyone else caught in the blast. Entertaining, but dangerous! Keep your party at a distance; if they stand too close, they will share the damage. This one costs eight spell points, and takes some time to recover. It takes place instantaneously, and delivers between one and six points of damage times a character's skill rank to all within a 10 foot radius. An Expert's recovery time is faster, while a Master's is faster still.
- Ring of Fire gfnerates a five-foot ring of fire around the party, damaging all monsters that dare approach it, doing no harm to the party itself. Its costs 10 points with a significant recovery time. Its effect is immediate, and it causes six points of damage plus one additional damage point for every skill rank. Experts conjure a 10-foot ring, while Masters' recovery time is significantly reduced.
- Fire Blast launches streaks of fire in the direction your characters are facing. The bolts aren't magically guided, so a little practice aiming is called for to ensure accuracy! Cost is 15 spell points, and the caster must rest afterwords. It fires three bolts instantly, delivering four points of damage plus an additional one to three points of damage for each skill rank. Experts need less rest and discharge five shots; Masters rest even less and launch seven shots.
- Meteor Shower summons eight flaming rocks from the sky in a 10-foot radius surrounding your target. Unless you're eager to visit a healer yourself, try not to be near the victim when using this spell. Cost is 20 points with a period necessary to recoup energy. The shower is instant, and each rock delivers eight points of damage plus one additional for every skill rank. Experts recover faster and bring down 12 rocks; Masters are ready again more quickly with 16 rocks. This spell cannot be cast indoors, thank the gods!
- Inferno burns all monsters in sight; though your party is excluded from the cookout. An efficient way to clean out rooms full of monsters of weak or moderate strength in one or two easy castings. Cost to your character is just 25 spell points, though recovery time is significant. The Inferno deals 12 points of damage with an additional point of damage for every skill rank. Experts' recovery time is cut somewhat, while Masters take just a quick breather between spells.
- Incinerate is one of the strongest direct damage spells you may acquire, inflicting massive damage on a single target. Only the strongest of monsters can expect to survive this spell. (But if one does, then it's you who has to survive!) Spell point cost is 30, and recovery is necessary. As with Inferno, this spell casts instantly, searing 15 points of damage, plus one to 15 points extra for each rank of the caster's skill. Experts recover more quickly, Masters faster still.
- Wizard Eye reveals the locations of monsters and characters on your group's automap. It lasts for one hour and it costs one spell point to cast. Experts and Masters will learn more on casting this spell than an Apprentice.
- Static Charge targets a single monster with a jolt of static electricity. While it doesn't administer much damage, it never misses. At a two-point cost, Static Charge is a tiring spell, requiring rest. It fires instantly, dealing one point of damage, plus an additional one to five points of damage for every skill rank. Experts are ready to go again more quickly, Masters fire at no cost.
- Protection from Electricity increases all characters' resistance to electricity: one point of resistance for every rank of the caster's Air magic skill. The spell comes in an at a three-point price tag with recovery. The protection lasts one hour per skill rank; Experts double the resistance, while Masters triple it.
- Sparks fires three small balls of lightning that bounce around until they hit something or dissipate. It's hard to tell where they will go, so this spell is best used in a room crowded with small monsters, and with most of your party elsewhere. The spell costs four points with each sparks dealing twp points of damage, plus one additional point per skill rank. Experts recover more quickly, and fire five sparks, while Masters are ready to go again even faster, with seven shots.
- Feather Fall slows the speed of a fall and prevents the party from damage when falling more than 10 feet. The cost for this spell is five points, and recovery takes time. It lasts for five minutes for every Air magic skill rank. Experts get the duration up to 10 minutes per skill rank, while Masters rate one hour per skill rank.
- Shield slows missile attacks (such as rocks and arrows) and cuts their potential damage by half. A Shield costs eight spell points, though use it wisely, as it takes time to recover. It lasts five minutes for every skill rank; Experts' Shields last 15 minutes per skill rank, while a Master's version affects the entire party.
- Lightning Bolt discharges electricity instantly from the caster's hand to a single target. It always hits and does solid damage at one to eight points for each skill rank. It costs 10 spell points. Experts recover more quickly, while Masters are ready again faster still.
- Jump launches your party into the air at a 45 degree angle, landing them without damage a set distance away. It costs the caster only 15 spell points and higher skill will reduce recovery time. Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Implosion is a nasty spell that affects a single target by destroying the air around it. The result is a sudden inrush from the surrounding air, a thunderclap, and 10 points of damage plus an extra one to 10 points of damage for every skill rank. It costs 20 points to cast, and rest is required; Experts are back to readiness more quickly, Masters faster still.
- Fly grants the power of flight to your characters at five minutes airborne for every skill rank! Only available outdoors, Fly initially costs 25 spell points and slowly drains spell points as it remains active. Be careful not to fall from a great height as fall damage still applies. Experts can stay up for 10 minutes per skill rank, while Masters wing it for an entire hour per skill rank.
- Starburst calls eight stars from the heavens to smite and burn the party's enemies in a 20-foot radius. Try not to get caught in the blast! Cost is 30 spell points, and recovery is significant. Each star deals 20 points of damage plus an extra point of for every skill rank. Experts reduce their recovery somewhat and can call down 12 stars; Masters turn back their recovery even more, delivering 16 stars. The spell only functions outdoors.
- Awaken automatically draws the party from a normal sleep and dramatically reduces the duration of sleep spells cast on them. The spells costs one point, and some recovery is required. Awaken will remove three minutes of sleep times the caster's skill rank; Experts' skill rank multiply the effect by hours, while Masters multiply it by days.
- Cold Beam targets a single monster with a field of extreme cold for instant, though not significant, damage. Bringing the pain at only between two to six points of damage, this spell always hits at a cost of two spell points. Recovery is required, but with every advance in skill this becomes less of a problem. Experts recover faster, and Masters cast without cost. Now that's an education that pays off!
- Protection from Cold increases all your characters' resistance to Cold by one point of resistance for every rank the caster holds in Water magic. At a three-point cost, with required recovery, the protection lasts for one hour per skill rank. Experts double the resistance, while Masters triple it.
- Poison Spray sprays one shot of poison at monsters directly in front of the party. While the damage is low (two points plus one to two points for every skill rank), few monsters have resistance to poison, so it's an easy way to make 'em suffer. The spell costs four points, and recovery is required. Experts recover more quickly and fire three shots, while Masters are back at it faster with five shots.
- Water Walk lets the party traverse the surface of water without sinking for five minutes for every skill rank. Only useful outdoors, this spell costs five points initially, and constantly drains spell points while active. Experts stay topside for 10 minutes for every skill rank, while Masters are afloat for one hour per skill ranking. The spell drain is the same no matter what the level of the caster.
- Ice Bolt fires a single bolt of ice at a single target for a guaranteed hit of moderate cold damage, between one and seven points per skill rank. The spell costs 8, and Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Enchant Item will attempt to make an ordinary item magical. The chance of success increases with the caster's skill in Water magic. Unless the caster is a Master, weapons cannot be enchanted. With a 10-point cost to cast, know that Experts make better magic items.
- Acid Burst targets a single monster with an acidic bolt that does nine points of damage plus one to nine points per skill rank in Water magic. The spell costs 15 points to cast and Experts and Masters will recover faster.
- Town Portal transports the party to the last town they visited. At Apprentice level it only works outdoors. Exercise caution, as the chance of Town Portal working is rather small, though improved by the caster's rank in Water magic. At a 25-point cost, recovery is slow. Experts can use this spell indoors, and Masters can choose the town.
- Ice Blast fires a ball of ice in the direction the caster is facing. The ball will shatter when it hits something, launching seven shards of ice in all directions, except the caster's. Shards ricochet until they strike a creature (or melt) dealing 12 points of damage plus one to two points per rank of Water magic skill. Beware that the ricochet can hit the party, even when the shards don't start out in their direction. It costs 25 points, and requires recovery time, which is less for Experts and Masters.
- Lloyd's Beacon lets you place one marker at a location to which you wish to teleport back in the future. Just how far in the future depends on the caster's skill and ranking in Water magic; the marker decays in one hour times a character's skill rank. Cast Lloyd's Beacon (at a cost of 30 spell points) whenever you wish to either place a marker or return to one. Experts can establish up to three beacons, which decay in one day per skill rank, while Masters are armed with five beacons, which decay in one week per skill rank.
- Stun slaps a monster with magical force, leaving the creature to recover from the spell before it can do anything else. It also knocks monsters back a little, giving the party a chance to get away while the getting is good. The spell costs one point and some recovery is required. In effect, Stun adds to a monster's recovery time, with somewhat greater effect for every skill rank of the caster. Experts and Masters are both more effective.
- Magic Arrow fires a single magic arrow. This spell is notoriously inaccurate and has no more chance of finding its target than a regular arrow. It costs two spell points to cast, and you'll have to wait some time before you can use it again. It will do two points of damage (assuming it hits anything!), with an extra one to six damage points for every skill rank. At Expert level, the cost is just one point, and recovery time is faster; Masters can fire again more quickly and without cost.
- Protection from Magic increases all your characters' resistance to magic by one point for every rank of the caster's Earth magic skill. The spells costs three points and recovery is required. The Protection lasts for one hour per skill rank. Experts double this resistance, while Masters triple it.
- Deadly Swarm summons a swarm of biting, stinging insects to bedevil a single target. Moderate in its damage (five points plus an additional one to three points for every skill rank), the swarm nonetheless never misses and the damage is physical, making resistance unlikely. Spell point cost is 4, and, as usual, Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Stone Skin increases the armor class of a character by five for four minutes, plus an extra five minutes for every skill rank. The cost to cast is five. Experts up the time limit to an extra 15 minutes for every skill rank, while Masters extend the power to affect your entire party.
- Blades fires a rotating, razor-thin metal blade at a single monster. This spell can miss, and the chance it'll even hit relies heavily on the caster's rank of Earth magic skill, or the caster's rank times five. The cost is 8 spell points and requires recovery. The Blades does between one and five damage points for every skill rank. Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Stone to Flesh, if cast in time, removes the curse of being turned to stone from a character. The caster's skill and rank in Earth magic (skill rank times three minutes of stone duration with Experts taking that time to hours and Masters to days) determine how long the dire condition can be present before the spell loses its effectiveness. After that, the only way to remove the condition short of Divine Intervention is to visit a temple. Stone to Flesh costs 10 spell points.
- Rock Blast releases a magical stone into the world that will explode either when it comes into contact with a creature or when enough time passes, causing damage in a radius of 20 feet. The rock will bounce and roll until it finds a resting spot. Be careful, though, as anyone can be caught in the blast. This spell costs 15 points, and needs time to recover. Its damage is between one and eight points per skill rank. Experts recover more quickly, while Masters are able to fire again faster.
- Turn to Stone, as the name suggests, temporarily turns a target to stone for five minutes for every skill rank. These stone statues are invulnerable to any sort of attack. The cost is 20 spell points. Experts keep things rocky for 10 minutes for every skill rank, while Masters keep it for 20 minutes per skill rank. Some recovery required.
- Death Blossom fires a magical stone far into the air, causing a very powerful explosion with a radius of 40 feet when it lands. This spell costs 25 points and requiring time to recover. Damage is 20 points, with an extra point for every skill rank. Experts, as usual, recover faster after causing an explosive radius of 60 feet, and Masters need less time to recover, extending their damage to 80 feet. This spell is for the open countryside, not indoors in your living room parlor.
- Mass Distortion increases the weight of a single target enormously for an instant, causing significant internal damage equal to 25% of the monster's hit points plus another 2% per rank of Earth magic skill. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Spell point cost is 30, and is very tiring, though Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Spirit Arrow launches an arrow of pure energy. Though highly useful, this spell i apt to miss unless you study Spirit skill to an adequate level. It costs one spell point to cast, and you'll have to wait a short time before you can use it again. Expect it to do between one and six points of damage on your foe. At Expert level, the recovery will be faster, while at Master level, it can be cast at no cost.
- Bless characters to increase their chance of hitting monsters in hand-to-hand combat and with missile weapons. A character's bonus to hit is increased by five, which lasts for four minutes, plus an extra five minutes for every skill rank. The cost to cast this blessing is two spell points. The duration for Expert casters is an extra 15 minutes for every skill rank; Masters casting this spell affect all characters at once.
- Healing Touch heals a single character, restoring a small number of hit points, between three and seven, based on skill. At a three-point cost to cast, recovery is moderate, but each skill rank will reduce that time. An Expert's healing mends five to 11 hit points, while a Master bandages seven to 13.
- Lucky Day temporarily increases a single character's Luck statistic by 10, plus an extra two for every skill rank. This lasts for one hour for every skill rank, costs four spell points, and requires a recovery time. Experts add an extra three points of luck for every skill rank. Masters spread the luck around to all the characters in your party.
- Remove Curse, as its name suggests and if cast in time, removes a curse from a character. The caster's skill and rank (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of having been cursed, multiplied by hours for Experts and days for Masters) in Spirit magic determine how long the dread condition can be present before the point of no return. After that, the only way to remove the condition short of Divine Intervention is to visit a temple. Remove Curse's casting cost is 10, and time is required to recover.
- Guardian Angel sets up a pact with the Higher Powers to resurrect your characters. Should they die, they'll be returned to life with one hit point and deposited at the last temple you visited. The price for this service is half of the gold your characters have with them at the time of death. The spell costs eight points, and recovery time is significant. Experts bring back all characters at half their hit points at time of death. Masters arrange it so all characters return with full hit points. The cost in gold doesn't change.
- Heroism increases by five the damage that a character does with a successful attack. This costs 10 spell points, and the caster must rest; it lasts for four minutes, with an extra five minutes for every skill rank. Experts get an extra 15 minutes for every skill rank, while Masters affect all the characters in the party.
- Turn Undead forces all undead monsters in sight of the caster to flee. They'll be back when the spell runs out in three minutes, plus an extra three minutes for every skill rank. Cost for this scattering is 15. Experts and Masters will recover faster.
- Raise Dead, if cast in time, restores a character to life. The caster's skill and rank in Spirit magic determine how long the character can be worm food before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of death, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). After that, the only way to revive the corpse, short of Divine Intervention, is to visit a temple. Raise Dead costs 20 spell points. This magic will leave your character in a weak condition for a full day.
- Shared Life combines the life force of your characters and redistributes it between them as evenly as possible. All current hit points are totaled, and one extra hit point is added for every skill rank. The cost for this spell averages 25, and the recovery time is very significant. Experts add two extra hit points for every skill rank, while Masters add three extra.
- Resurrection, if cast in time, removes the eradicated condition from a character (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of eradication, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). The caster's skill and rank in Spirit magic determine how long the character can be dead before the point of no return. After that, the only way to revive the corpse, short of Divine Intervention, is to visit Temple Stone. Resurrection cost is 20 spell points, and is the most exhausting spell recounted so far.
- Meditation temporarily increases a single character's personality and intellect statistics by 10, plus an extra two for every skill rank. This will last for one hour for every skill rank and carries a cost of one spell point. Experts add an extra three points, while Masters affect the entire party.
- Remove Fear, as the name implies, removes the fearful condition from a character, if cast in time. The caster's skill and rank in Mind magic determine how long the character can be paralyzed by fear before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of being afraid, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). After that, the only way to lift the curse, short of Divine Intervention, is to visit a temple. Remove Fear costs one spell point, and recovery time is required.
- Mind Blast fires a bolt of mental force guaranteed to hit any target and damage that monster's nervous system. Expect five points of damage, with an extra one to two points for every skill rank. It costs 3 spell points to cast, and recovery time is moderate. Experts and Masters are progressively faster to recover.
- Precision temporarily increases a single character's Accuracy statistic by 10, with an extra two for every skill rank. This lasts for one hour for every skill rank, and costs 4 spell points to cast. Experts add an extra three per rank to Accuracy, while Masters extend the spell to the entire party.
- Cure Paralysis, if cast in time, removes paralysis from a character. The casters skill and rank in Mind magic determine how long a character can be immobile before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of paralysis, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). After that, the only way to get a character moving, short of Divine Intervention, is to visit a temple. Cure Paralysis costs five spell points to cast, and requires recovery.
- Charm calms a single targeted creature and removes any hostile feelings it has towards the party, an effect that lasts three minutes for every skill rank. If this creature takes any damage, it will immediately become hostile again, so be nice. The spell weighs in at a price of eight spell points withe a moderate recovery rate. Experts will double the effect's duration, while Masters quadruple it.
- Mass Fear causes all creatures in the caster's line of sight to flee in fear, a cowardly condition lasting three minutes for every skill rank. If a creature takes damage while under the influence of this spell, the spell will be broken. Mass Fear will not work on undead creatures. This spell costs 10 points to cast. Experts and Masters recover more quickly than Apprentices.
- Feeblemind removes the ability of a target to cast spells until Feeblemind wears off; it lasts five minutes per each skill rank of the caster. The spell costs 15 points. Experts recover from casting more quickly, and Masters faster still.
- Cure Insanity removes the taint of insanity from a character if this spell is cast in time. The caster's skill and rank in Mind magic determine how long a character can be wacko before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of insanity, by one hour for Expert and by days for Masters). After that, the only way to return sanity, short of Divine Intervention, is to visit a temple. Cure Insanity costs 20 spell points to cast and its recovery time is significant.
- Psychic Shock targets a single creature with mind-damaging magic, dealing 12 points of damage plus an extra one to 12 points for every skill rank. The spell costs 25 points to launch. Recovery time depends on your level of expertise, and, as typical, Experts and Masters have the advantage.
- Telekinesis lets characters avoid traps by manipulating objects - switches, chests, doors - from a safe distance. The distance and strength of Telekinesis is determined by a character's skill in Mind magic. Telekinesis costs 30 spell points to cast, and it is exhausting. Expert's Telekinetic power is based on doubling their skill rank in strength, while Masters on tripling them.
- Cure Weakness, if cast in time, removes weakness from a character. The caster's skill and rank in Body magic determine how long a character can be debilitated before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of weakness, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). After that, the only way to get strength back is to rest. Cure Weakness costs one spell point with a moderate recovery rate.
- First Aid restores five hit points on a single target, costing two spell points to cast with a moderate recovery rate, reduced at every level of skill. Experts heal seven points of damage with the spell, while Masters heal 10.
- Protection from Poison increases the party's resistance to Poison by one point of resistance for every rank of the caster's Body magic skill. The spell costs three points to cast, and recovery time is moderate. The Protection lasts for one hour per skill rank, with Experts doubling the resistance and Masters tripling it.
- Harm slams a single creature with completely reliable magical damage. Eight points of damage are guaranteed with an additional two points of damage for every skill rank. Costing four spell points to cast, Harm has a nominal recovery time, reduced by Expert and Master casters.
- Cure Wounds heals five hit points on a single target, plus an extra one to two points of healing for every skill rank. It costs five spell points, some recovery is required. Experts and Masters recover faster.
- Cure Poison, if cast in time, removes the toxic condition from a character. The skill and rank in Body magic determine how long a character can be poisoned before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of being poisoned, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). After that, the only way to purge the system, again short of Divine Intervention, is to visit a temple. Cure Poison costs eight spell points to cast, and its recovery time is significant.
- Speed temporarily increases a single character's Speed statistic by 10, with an extra two for every skill rank. It costs 10 spell points with a moderate recovery time. Experts increase the Speed statistic by an extra three for every skill rank, while Masters can haste all characters in the party at once.
- Cure Disease, if cast in time, removes the diseased condition from a character. The caster's skill and rank in Body magic determine how long a character can be infected before the point of no return (skill rank multiplied by three minutes of the disease, by one hour for Experts and by days for Masters). After that, the only cure, short of Divine Intervention, is to visit a temple. Cure Disease costs 15 spell points, and requires some recovery.
- Power temporarily increases a single character's Endurance statistic by 10, with an extra two for every skill rank. The spell costs 20 points to casts. Experts increase the Endurance and Might of a character by an extra three for every skill rank, while Masters can increase the Endurance and Might of all characters in the party at once.
- Flying Fist cannot miss and it pummels an opponent with 30 points of damage, plus an extra one to five points of damage for every skill rank. Cost for this hammering is 25 spell points, and the caster needs some time for recovery, though less if you are Expert of Master.
- Power Cure restores hit points to all characters in your party at once for 10 points of healing plus an extra two for each skill rank. Power Cure costs 30 points, and recovery is quite significant. Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Create Food makes food, but only works if the party has less real food than the spell creates. For a cost of 20 spell points, the caster can create one day's worth of food plus the caster's Light magic skill divided by 10. Recovery time is moderate. Experts double the skill effect; Masters triple the skill effect.
- Golden Touch converts a single item in your inventory into gold, with a worth equal to 40% of the item's actual value. For every rank of Light magic skill, there is a better chance that this spell will succeed. Take care, for if the spell fails, the item is broken. The spell costs 25 points to cast, and recovery takes time. Experts will make a conversion worth 60% of the item's value; Masters will net a value of 80%.
- Dispel Magic removes all helpful spells on all monsters in sight. This bit of trickery costs 30 spell points; recovery is moderate and mitigated somewhat by the caster's spell rank, though, as is typical, Experts and Masters recover faster.
- Slow is cast for 35 spell points, and it will halve a monster's speed and double its recovery time. The effect lasts for one minute for each skill rank of Light magic. Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Destroy Undead only works on those blasphemies, calling upon the power of the Gods to undo the evil magic that extends their unnatural lives. It deals 16 points of damage, plus an extra one to 16 points of damage for every skill rank at 40 spell point casting cost. Recovery time varies, being shorter for Experts and Masters.
- Day of the Gods simultaneously casts Power, Meditation, Speed, Lucky Day, and Precision on all your characters, and Guardian Angel for one cost of 45 spell points. Ain't magic convenient? The spell lasts one day, and its effect is to cast all those spells at twice the caster's Light magic skill to the characters' statistics. An exhausting spell! Experts cast all six spells at three times Light magic skill, while Masters cast at four times their skill.
- Prismatic Light can only be cast indoors, and inflicts damage on all creatures in sight for 25 points of damage with an extra one point for every skill rank. The spell cost comes in at an affordable 50 spell points. Recovery time is shorter for Experts and Masters.
- Hour of Power simultaneously casts Haste, Heroism, Shield, Stoneskin, and Bless on all your characters, adding twice the caster's Light magic skill to their statistics. It costs 55 spell points to initiate, and recovery is significant. Experts cast the block of spells at three times Light magic skill; Masters make it happen at four times.
- Paralyze disables a monster for one minute for every skill rankings. Paralyzed monsters may be freely attacked without fear of reprisal. Not fair, perhaps, but satisfying. It costs 60 spell points to launch; recovery is moderate. Experts and Masters will recover faster.
- Sunray is the second most devastating spell you may acquire. Harnessing the light of the sun and concentrating it on one pathetic creature, Sunray unleashes 20 points of damage, with an additional one to 20 points for every skill rank. Tied directly to that distant source, Sunray only works outdoors and during the day. It comes with a 130 spell point price tag. Experts and Masters recover more quickly.
- Divine Intervention calls upon the heavens to heal your characters of all damage, restore your spell points, and remove all adverse conditions. This is available once per day, only during the rising or setting of the sun, and the gods exact a price on the caster, aging him 10 years in addition to a spell point cost of 70. A great deal of recovery time is needed, though less with each rank of skill. Experts can call upon Divine Intervention twice per day, Masters three times.
- Reanimate will allow the caster to "raise from the dead" any monster or NPC, depending on their original hit points and the caster's skill in Dark magic. Don't try to use this on a disintegrated friend as it will only work on a visible corpse. It costs 20 spell points to cast. Experts and Masters can reanimate corpses with higher hit points.
- Toxic Cloud creates a poisonous cloud of noxious gases in front of the caster and sends it slowly away from your characters, dealing out 25 points of damage, plus an extra one to 10 points per skill rank. The cloud remains intact until something runs into it. It costs 30 spell points to conjure; recovery time is necessary, though less for Experts and Masters.
- Mass Curse curses all monsters in the sight of the caster for one minute per skill rank. It costs 40 spell points to initiate, and recovery time is moderate. Experts' curses last two minutes per skill rank, while Masters' last four minutes per point.
- Shrapmetal fires a three-shot blast of hot, jagged metal in front of the caster, striking any creature that gets in the way and inflicting six points of damage, plus an extra one to six points of pain per skill rank. The metal costs 50 spell points to launch with a minimal recovery rate; Experts recover faster, and unleash five shots per casting, while Masters recover even faster, setting loose seven shots at a time.
- Shrinking Ray reduces even the grandest of monsters to more manageable sizes. Apprentices will reduce a creature to one half of its normal size, and this shrunken monster will only deal out one half its normal damage. This effect lasts for five minutes per rank of the caster's skill, and carries a cost of 60. Experts shrink monsters by two-thirds (both size and damage), while Masters quarter a beast's size and damage.
- Day of Protection simultaneously casts Protection from Fire, Electricity, Cold, Poison, and Magic on all your characters, plus Feather Fall and Wizard Eye. The statistics added equal to two times the caster's skill rank. This spell costs 70 spell points, and lasts for one day. Experts add three times the caster's skill rank, while Masters add four times in statistic increase.
- Finger of Death attempts to immediately slay a single creature by stripping its soul from its body. Charming. Finger of Death has a 3% chance per skill rank in Dark magic of working. It costs 80 spell points to cast, and recovery time is moderate. Experts chances increased to 4%; Masters improve their odds all the way up to 5%.
- Moon Ray heals your characters and damages all monsters in sight. For every skill rank, this spell delivers one to four points of damage to your enemies, and restores an equal number of hit points to all characters in your party. This is the only spell that harms all monsters in sight and aids your party. Moon Ray is restricted to working outdoors and in the moonlight, at a cost of 90 spell points. Recovery is required, though less for Experts and Masters.
- Dragon Breath is the most powerful damaging spell you may acquire. It empowers the caster to exhale a cloud of toxic vapors that targets a single monster, but also damages all other creatures within a 10-foot radius. It costs 100 spell points, delivering one to25 points of damage for every skill rank. Recovery time is significant, but less for Experts and Masters.
- Armageddon is the town killer, inflicting 50 points of damage plus one point of damage for every rank of Dark skill your character has to every creature on the map, including the party itself. It can only be cast once per day, and only outdoors, without cost in spell points. Quite exhausting, really. Experts can use Armageddon twice per day, while Masters can unleash it three times in one 24-hour period.
- Dark Containment is a powerful and mysterious spell. Even the great wizard Klavis Verge has only glimpsed it but once. Learning its secrets is not for the weak, nor the faint of heart.
Battle is in real-time although a turn-based approach to fighting the enemy can also be activated allowing for a pause after every action. Each character moves at their own individual pace. After their initial action, a short amount of time must pass before they are ready to strike the enemy or cast another spell. Various factors affect their recovery speed, such as whether the party is moving onscreen or if they are simply inherently slower due to their statistics.
Equipping characters is easily done from the inventory screen, which shows both what is in their individual pack and what is on their "doll" as represented on the right of the screen, similar to the paper doll system utilized by Ultima VII
. Depending on a character's skill set, dual-wielding is possible allowing a Master Swordsman to wield two blades at once.
The use of missile weapons in the game, which range from simple bows and arrows to futuristic blasters, coupled with the real-time combat system can give the later game the impression of being a crude FPS thanks to the fact that enemies are always visible onscreen.