There are four planes: Air, Water, Fire, and Earth (in the order in which you will visit them). Each of them is ruled by a dragon, who conveniently has the key to the next plane. In each case, you will need to kill the dragon, get the Key, and go on to the next plane.
This is a guide to the four planes, not the larger mission. It is a supplement to, not a replacement for, the walk through wizardz wrote.
If you have the right key, you can access any of the Planes from the Gateway to the Planes. In the Gateway you will also find a tavern for healing, a weapon shop, and a training training hall for leveling up (but you will need to go back to Watertop for gaining further Alchemy and Master Thief training).
There are also portals to various locations throughout Tarnak: Savage Crossing, Mountain Ridge, Crystal Sea, and Coast Lands. These will come in handy when Eleana asks you to track down the orcs. (Speaking of which, the Grumshakh resists Hesitation now, as well as Coup de Grace and pretty much all magic, so be warned. He hits harder than dragons, and with his swirling axe, might be the most dangerous character in the game!)
A few hints that might help you in all the tougher encounters here:
- Make sure you have Guardian Angel active. Many things here can kill you.
- Equipping Fresh Apples for your magic users will allow their spells go off faster.
- Equipping Fairy Cakes for your melee characters will make their attacks better
- Don't rely too much on Hesitation, as the revamped spell (starting with 2.6.3) is less powerful; also, it won't work at all against dragons and other super monsters.
- Quite a few early level spells you may have forgotten about can be useful again, like Giant Strength, Absorb Magic, and Shield of Light
- One of the best spells in the game, Wrath of the Dragons, is unavailable here, as the whole area is considered indoors
- If you have an Alchemist, Restore Body and Clean Blood are useful if you have garlic. There will be several times when you are short of both hit points and spell points! If your Alchemist can cast more advanced spells, Disruption might be helpful against magic resistant foes (I have not tried this, as my Alchemist only has Level 1 spells!)
You need Dragon Key to enter. (You get that in the Old Bonehouse.) Cast Dragon Flight to get to the door. There’s not much of interest here until you get to the far eastern end, where there is a portal to the Plane of Fire (which is locked) and an entryway into the the central area, which appears to be carpeted.
Don’t stray off the carpet in the central area or you will fall to your death!
The North Wind is bad, taking spell points and hundreds of hit points. When you are hit, move past that square immediately so you aren’t hit again. Recharge, heal, and cast Guardian Angel as if necessary.
Immediately west of the North Wind square, you see the captive dragon, whose magical energy is powering something. You will have to kill the poor thing to free it and the way is blocked by an Efreet in both directions.
North of the carpeted area is another bit to explore. The only thing of interest is the entrance to the Plane of Water. You will get the Key of Water by defeating the dragon, Arsyth.
If you need to heal and recharge, you can go to the tavern in the Gateway to the Planes, but you’ll need to pass through the North Wind to do do. You might be better off using Summon Item and fetching some Harmonic Gems instead.
Aerial Bishops are not too tough, but can heal themselves, scramble your ranks with a Whirling Wind, and stun when they hit. Your monk will wipe out most of them with a chain attack.
Aerial Soldiers are very hard to kill, but can be critically hit. Use Silversword and Assassine. Use Hesitation each round if there are a lot. Coup de Grace can kill them, but they can resist.
Aerial Rangers are super tough versions of Marksmen. Run from them if you can, as they will kill most characters with a single arrow. Hesitation + Sodor’s Wrath or a Horn of Fury will thin their ranks, then Close Combat into melee range, using Hesitation and more damage spells if there are still a lot of them. Don’t let them attack en masse of your party will be shredded. They can hit you for up to 2,000 HP!
Efreets are very tough, in the range of 50,000 HP. They have a whirling wind, which may affect melee, and cast Zyrak’s Trench, which you can counter with Hesitation + Close Combat or Great Tattoo.
Dragon: Arsyth. He wants to kill you and will cast Great Tattoo to pull you into range. It will take around 60,000 HP to win, and Hesitation (including shock bombs) will not work, so either smash away in melee, healing frequently, or use Farther Foe and be limited to ranged spells. Use Horn of Sodar and Armageddon each round. This could take a while since Arsyth can call to the gods for healing. Don’t bother with Coup de Grace, either. If you’re lucky, the dragon will use his fiery breath rather than attacking. You’ll get a saving throw and the fire causes less damage than the claws. You could cast Giant Strength and Invisibility in the first round for better melee odds.
You’ll get the Key of Water once you kill him.
Map: Plane of Water
You need the Key of Water to enter and can come from the Plane of Air or the Gateway to the Planes.
This one is tougher than the Plane of Air because of the acid damage (64 HP per square) with loss of SP. However, you’ve left the North Wind and the Aerial Soldiers and Rangers behind. Keep Spirit Chant going, rest frequently, and have Harmonic Gems handy. If you cast Blood of Asphgyr before walking through acid, if will continue healing you once you’re on dry land again.
You won’t see or hear anything as you approach the dragon Asphgyr. You just stumble upon her in the center of the map. She will drop the Key of Fire.
Unlike the Plane of Air, you can almost always run from the two monsters you will encounter here.
Wassernecks are weak (you can kill almost all of them with a single Sodar’s Wrath) but can “swirl” for ~200 HP and hit characters with poor AC easily, so beware large groups. If they appear with Octylons though, kill the Octylons first and leave the Wassernecks for last. Best to wipe them all out at once with spells unless you are recharging from the acid. Demon Pipes work well against them, as does a Horn of Fury.
Octylons are much tougher and spray poison. Their spray burns and afterwards you take 7 HP per round from the poison. Both are manageable with the Alchemy spells Clean Blood and Restore Body, assuming you can find enough garlic, if your other characters are short on spell points. Again, Horn of Fury will help here if you’re short on spell points.
Dragon: Asphgyr. She will keep you at a distance with Zyrak’s Trench, which will limit melee and Horn usage since she is immune to Hesitation and will push you away again. (I don’t think my monk or my thief landed a single blow in the fight, because they always attacked between the Zyrak’s Trench and the Great Tattoo and were out of range!) Make sure you have plenty of spell points and Harmonic Gems, and use two Armageddon spells and a Great Tattoo each round. (You could skip the Great Tattoo, but that would eliminate all melee and Horn damage.) Like Arsyth, she breathes Fiery Breath and can call on the gods to heal her. In addition, she can cause mass damage with a tsunami (200 HP per character). She is very tough! I burned through three Harmonic Gems and the outcome was very close. If she had used a third tsunami I would have lost my thief and my monk, and if she had called to the gods for healing when she was below 15%, I would have run out of spell points and might have failed!
You’ll get the Key of Fire once you kill her.
Plane of Fire
Ah, sweet dry stone! Such a relief after all that acid!
If you enter from the Gateway to the Planes, there’s not much to find, but there is a mysterious door in the Southwest with the symbol of Air on it. Perhaps return later with the Key of Air? And what does that lever in the southeast do?
Entering from the Plane of Air or Water lets you explore the rest of the Plane of Fire, which is pretty straightforward. Follow your way around the lava and along a short path through it to the dragon, Bonfyre.
This Plane was quite easy compared to the Plane of Water, but it is unique in having two halves completely separated from each other. And there’s no portal to the Plane of Earth here. Getting there involves one of the other Planes, and since you don’t have the Key of Air yet, you’ll have to go to the Plane of Water and walk through some acid, either to the portal to the Plane of Earth in the far west or to the Gate to the Planes.
Monsters: Coals cast Sodar’s Cleansing at you! Even with good saving throws, you don’t want to let a group of them do that. And boy, do they come in groups! They can also “whirl” at you from 20-30’ and paralyze you when they hit. (They will advance to 20’ but no closer.) They’re dangerous, but one blast from a Horn of Fury will take them out. At 450-500 HP, Demon Pipes will take out half before they can attack if the encounter begins at 40’ or 50’. Absorb Magic may help you, as well.
Dragon: Bonfyre. He isn’t interested in holding you off, he wants to kill you. He uses his claws (~5-600 HP) and fiery breath. As before, fiery breath is safer. Use Restoration occasionally. There’s nothing special here, just bash away with your melee characters (Fairy Cakes help) and pour on the damage with Horn of Sodar and Armageddon. (Don’t bother with Dragoncaller spells like Wrath of the Dragons, as they will fizzle.) even with all that damage, it will take a while, since he can call out to the gods for healing. He can also set himself aflame, which makes his claw attacks more dangerous. His fiery storm rearranges your characters, complicating melee, and he can resist Armageddon and the Horn of Sodar. Wow, tough! But not as tough as Asphgyr.
He will drop the Key of Earth when you kill him.
Plane of Earth
All in all, this is the easiest of the four Planes, but it does have challenges.
Entry from The Gateway to the Planes is one way. There’s no return, except via one of the other Planes.
The entire northern half of the map (and a few squares in the south) are complete Dark Anti-Magic zones. Not even bard songs work. This means a lot of blundering around, mapping things by running into them.
This can be dangerous, since several squares are traps that turn one of your characters to Stone. The effect seems to be temporary in the dark area, but use the spell Softener as needed.
You need to be careful in your blundering, too, since every square also rotates. Check your orientation in the map before each move. You want to work your way to the northern wall, west, then south along the western wall, where you will seem to be trapped until you realize that some of the walls disappear and reappear at random. That’s different! Once you enter the ruins via the disappearing wall in the southwest, work your way south and up into the central part of the ruins, waiting for an opening to appear as necessary, to find the poor trapped dragon and free it by killing it.
Once you have the Key of Air, you can go investigate that door you found earlier with the symbol of Air on it. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get there! The only way out is back through the anti-magic stoning area and then through either the North Wind or a bunch of acid!
Monsters: none, as far as I can tell, except for ....
Dragon: Crumble. She can turn a party member to stone with her roar or when she gazes at you (there’s a saving throw, but I lost an archmage whose saving throw is -37 to it), and breathes fiery breath. When she calls out to the gods for healing, they answer: she went from 14% to 56% even after taking 8,000 points of damage. She’s hard to kill! But keep casting Armageddon and using the Horn of Sodar. Let stoned characters be until after the fight unless it’s your bard or one of your archmages. Heal them, since they do the most damage.
Crumble drops the Key of Air When she dies, and any characters she turned to stone in combat are softened automatically.
You will need the Key of Air to enter. Once you have it, check your log for “Maintenance Mode.” Did you remember to do this where there were places for N, S, E, and W? If not, go do so now.
Go back to the Plane of Fire from the Gateway to the Planes, and back through the door with the humming noise to the door with the Symbol of Air.
You want to explore every area, as there are several important things to do that might be easy to miss, including a second lever to change the humming of the engines.
When you place the Shield of Refraction on the energy nexus to disrupt the flow, a massive energy surge almost kills you all (and will if you don’t have Guardian Angel active), cancels all your spells, and leaves you with 1 HP and 0 SP. I used one Harmonic gem and a Restoration spell just in case, but it seems that the square with the energy nexus is a good place to sit and listen to Spirit Chant without being interrupted. Must be all that smoke!
The second lever you turn disables the force field and allows you to access the energy controls. You can attach the Disruptor to this the strange device.
Plane Guardians are tough and dangerous, taking around 10,000 HP to kill, and hit pretty hard. (They “point” at you for 3-700 HP damage.) Worse, they cast Aureus’ Night Lance. Depending on your saving throws, you may want to cast Absorb Magic. Otherwise, just use a combination of melee and spells. I suggest Hesitation if there are a lot of them.
Coals are as described in the Plane of Fire.
Virus are nasty versions of Drone, zapping you for 300+ HP and taking several thousand HP themselves.
ME-181242 Android: it will switch from offense (including Fiery Breath) to defense to recovery mode, and when it shoots at you, it can drain levels. I hope you found the Shrine and learned the Empowerment spell! When it’s clear it is overmatched, the android will start releasing support bots (Virus) at the rate of 10 per round. You can’t let the Virus attack you en masse, but you can’t let up on the android either, or the Virus will swamp you. Use Zyrak’s Trench or Farther Foe to keep the Virus away (Hesitation fizzles) and pound the android with melee, Armageddon, and Horn of Sodar. Once it is gone you can mop up the remaining Virus.
And your final encounter is ....
Don’t waste an attack casting Wrath of the Dragons. It would be sweet justice to use that spell against the one who enslaved the dragons, but despite the fact that you are outdoors, the spell fizzles. Have your Dragoncaller cast Armageddon instead.
The Defiler hits hard and closes fast. He went from 90’ (following Zyrak’s Trench) to 10’ in one round and hit a character for over 700 HP with his tool arm (?). The energy arm is worse. He takes around 100,000 HP and can resist Armageddon with his saving throw, but not every one.
160 Virus is way too many to allow into melee range, so start with Zyrak’s Trench and two Armageddon spells. Then go with three Armageddon spells, a Horn of Sodar, and melee on the Defiler. The Virus all fell to this onslaught first, then the Defiler, but only after he killed two characters with what I assume was a blaster.
The Defiler was the only thing holding the ship together after all the sabotage you did, and when he dies, it’s clear the ship will blow soon. It’s time to flee, so I hope you made note of the exits!
I took the time to resurrect and heal, but it’s not necessary. If you have dead characters, their corpses will follow you as you run away!
Get to the exits fast, and enjoy the show!