Might And Magic 2 | Castle Trouble And The Keys

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Quite a few times in my travels I’d come across a castle in the lands I was exploring. Any time I’d approach the gate it became clear I did not have a key and was not welcome inside. On more than one attempt I made a run for it and found myself struggling quite hard to make it very far inside any one castle.

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This would not be the first time or the last time I attempted Hillstone. It happened to be in an area I was exploring a lot at the time. Early on it was the guards at any of the gates to a castle that were more trouble than I was expecting. After a few levels, some gear upgrades, and a further understanding of the game they no longer stopped me from making entry.

Oddly enough many of these castles or at least the ones I’ve been inside look somewhat similar at the start. I’m usually in a room with two doors. I have to make a choice which way I go and that seems to have more impact on how things end up going for me than one would think.

Sometimes I’m hitting endless packs of more guards. Other times it’s like there are no guards around and the castle I’m exploring at that time is overrun by some rather nasty creatures. Regardless it’s always the same fate at first. I’d kill a couple and have a couple of my group killed before I’d need to retreat and come back at a later date to do some more exploring.


The loot inside would be rather worthwhile in luring me to want to come back to a different castle. At first, I was hoping perhaps Hillstone was just too hard of a castle to raid for loot. So, I tried many others such as Pinehurst. While some of these castles would have on average small guard packs that I’d keep running into. They were still giving me a bit of a run for my money.

This was also at a time where I was struggling to loot any more gems out of creatures I was farming in caves, towns, and even the outside world. For whatever reason castles seemed to be my next spot for getting gems. I’d sometimes just hit one up when I was getting low since my casters burn a lot of gems to output massive amounts of damage.

Many times, I thought I found an upgrade. Something one of my characters would wear at least it looked like they could. Then I’d attempt to equip such an item and I’d be told they had the wrong aliment. It was like the game was taunting me by showing me some needed upgrades, but they would not have the same good, evil, or neutral aliment that the character who would enjoy the item as an upgrade had. Aliment was something I had not had much of an issue with at the lower levels since gear simply lacked it.

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While exploring one castle I ended up finding a door marked as “yellow.” Inside was a yellow bishop who since I had bought the same color key from a vendor in one of the cities was now free. This is also one of many signs that I was missing something rather big regarding castles.

As you can see, I got 5k experience for freeing the bishop. I could have gotten 50k experience instead. I however did not qualify. In hindsight, I should have read over the requirements a few more times about needing to be a “triple crown” winner. A mistake I’d still not realize I was making later on.

As dumb luck would have it while out exploring looking for another castle. I came across a word puzzle if you could even call it that. It rewarded me with a key. I looked up the key's name in the guidebook that comes with the game, and I noticed it was in a section that talked more about castles that I had not bothered to look at.

In there, I discovered there was a way to get a castle key. Quite early on in the game, I had done a random quest that gave me a hint about how to get castle keys. This was something I overlooked and had not put any further thought into it until I found looking at the page on castles. So much so in fact I have no clue what the quest in question wanted me to do and the NPC who gave it was no longer around to see if they would tell it to me again.

One thing I have done in Might and Magic games is donate to different temples to get a blessing from them. I don’t always do this since it can cost a bit of gold. In Might and Magic II, it seems rather random how many times you have to donate.

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While out donating at the nearest temple to get a blessing I lucked and was given a farthing. For some reason, it triggered in my mind either by a clue in a cavern or me running into the spot in the past. That somewhere in Middletown I had been asked to toss a farthing before. So I went back to Middletown and explored every title in that town till I found the location. It turns out this was how you get a castle key.

I wish I could say all these events happened within a short span of each other. They had not been. However, once I got the castle key, I was rather interested in castles yet again. I, however, felt running into the next one even if the guards would let me in would not be so wise.

I ended up going around to the different towns seeing if they had some kind of battle arena. They ended up being called quite a few things such as Monster Bowl, arena, or Colosseum. While not every town had one most seemed to have some kind of version of this kind of harder combat engagement.

They also required having a ticket to enter into combat. These tickets had been taking up a couple of limited inventory slots by this point. Quite a while ago as I was checking out venders I noticed different colored ones for sale and ended up buying them. Back then I had no idea what they were even for.

Not all of these kinds of battles I’d be able to win either. Sometimes it would just take a second attempt. Other times even after my fifth time like the battle in Atlantium I just could not get a favorite battle that I could win.

Final Thoughts


There was, however, quite a big takeaway I overlooked. Needing to beat each arena three times. All but one of them I beat once. So, on future adventures when I went out to explore castles and free further bishops, I would not be getting the max experience reward for doing so.

At least I now have the castle key to enter into any of the main castles. I also at the time had the false idea that I’d meet the requirements to get large sums of experience. At the very least I had already bought all the different colored keys. So, it was rather nice between spending the keys and the arena tickets to get back quite a bit of inventory space between all my characters.

Other Content


Screenshots were taken and content was written by @Enjar about Might And Magic II.