I’ve now met three neighbors, having seen Lanka just now. Berytos is a possible target for conquest, Abysia is someone I’d like to watch out for, and Lanka seems far enough away that I they’re probably irrelevant for the foreseeable future.
I’m starting to get to the point where I have to decide if I want more new expansion parties or if I don’t want to hinder my mage recruitment. Luckily, I’ve found something that will help with the latter situation.
This is a sage. They’re astral mages, a new path I didn’t previously have access to, and I can send one or two around to search for sites as well as using them to forge amulets for magic resistance and spell penetration. But more importantly, their research score is an impressive 15. This means that I’m going to be able to do very well in research, starting soon, and I can excel even while using my more combat-appropriate capital mages1 for other purposes. Not only is this worth building a lab to recruit them, it’s worth building a fortress to protect them.
Since Abysia blocked off the pass for me (and I blocked it for him, but Berytos will be there soon as we agreed) I’m sending that first expansion party into the water. I expect they’ll do fine against the shark tribe, but we’ll just have to see. The west is more problematic, since there’s a lot of territory I want and I want to snap it up before someone else can.
The above would be my ideal expansion, right up to the cap-rings. That’s probably not going to happen, but it would be cool. I’ve probably got a good shot at expanding to Yomi through the north pass because it looks like that throne has thwarted him, so I’m not worrying about that. I’m sending an expansion party to take the south, as well, which will get there when it gets there and hopefully Yomi is consolidating his hold on his western territories. He probably has a good expansion force going though, and I could see his men coming into my area before I get it. He was doing better than me in the score graphs until he suddenly stalled, presumably due to losing a major battle in that throne province.
In more immediate circumstances, I’m more worried about what to do to the north. I sent my scout further out when I should have kept him posted with an eye on things, and now I’m paying for it. I don’t know if Abysia’s expansion troop are in the South Gate, expecting to expand into the Gap of the Victor, or in the Fell Forest, hoping to expand to Wormwood. Probably, it’s the South Gate because that’s in his capital ring, but I don’t know. Since he revealed to me that Yomi’s area is inhabited, there’s not a huge point in me trying to seal off that pass from him, and so I’m going to go with my earlier plan of prioritizing the throne area at the foot of the mountains. But I think I’m well and truly out of the period when I can just take whatever I want willy-nilly now.
Okay, so I lost almost as much as he did. More, if you only look at the raw numbers. But mine are a far smaller portion of my total force. All this means is that the throne is getting taken by only one expansion party, while these guys wander off to grab the pale ones that fled this engagement. In exchange, I get this entire valley. At least, uncontested by him. Yomi is apparently nearby but it seems he is expanding westward into uncontested land for some reason? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him, anyway, and there’s not a lot of other more practical places he could have gone.
The guy who jumped in the water won, by the way, with the unfortunate side effect that all the pale ones guarding him are now dead. Since he’s my prophet I suppose I’m going to have him chill and preach until he gets backup.
Bad luck this time around. I sent a war party to the throne and they lost.
I’m worried that my dropping army numbers graph will cause people to smell blood in the water. The loss of troops itself is pretty much irrelevant, and tells me how I need to script for next time. I’m going to have my hero work his way up there and meet up with some other expansion parties. In order to take out those mages in the back, I’m recruiting stone tossers in my fort this turn; the first sacreds I’ve recruited other than olms.
In other bad news, I’ve just realized that the independent forces towards Yomi are pretty tough. Depending on where I want to go, I get to deal with war elephants backed up by ranged units, with a considerable amount of heavy cavalry, or with amazons and pegasus riders. I think I’m going to have my two expansion parties buddy up for this.
So… I was wondering where Yomi’s expansion was. I found it.
Three provinces this turn, two towards me. His expansion is great while mine is stalling. But it looks like he took a lot of losses up north, since he only has ten aka-onis sitting there. That means it’s possible that I can get the Pass of the Victor before him. That would be enough expansion this way then, so after that it’s time to take the throne and then head back downstairs to take the other throne, and finally rush through those caverns and into the sea as is my birthright. Oh yeah, and get that sea in the east too.
Turn Eleven and Twelve
Well, Abysia got the Gap of the Victor, and I started fort construction on top of where the sages are. Other than that, just troop movements and nothing fun.
I’m preparing to attack that throne, finally. Thirteenth turn, it’s Thursday the 12th and the turn probably won’t be resolved until tomorrow. It’s a perfectly auspicious time to do the biggest battle I’m likely to have in a while. Here’s my tactics:
The thirteenth day of the month, thirteenth day of the week, and thirteenth turn of the game all ended. It’s time to see how that battle went.
So those stone hurlers I recruited to take out the back lines? They decided to charge into battle and flank, probably because the back row was way out of their range. Oops. But they get their fists going and they and the smaller pale ones have some jolly good combat with fire support from the olms. Eventually, though, the Pale One morale gives out and the olms get their hands dirty personally.
The stone hurlers didn’t work so well. Whatever, I’ll try scripting differently next time. Other than that, losses are pretty minimal, although I’ll have to spend some time collecting the cowards that fled. In the meanwhile, let’s look at my prize:
The Crystal Mage can add to my research, though it’s not the most efficient at it, and it’s a great mage. Out of the box, it can make items mentioned in its description, and with boosters that it can make, can be boosted to E3S42. And that’s before communions3, which I can set up easily now that I have both a master (Crystal Mage) and slave (Sage) unit to work with. The only problem is, once I’ve got this stuff put together, what am I going to do with it? Good astral spells basically require thaumaturgy, which I otherwise would not prioritize for research, and I’m not sure I’ll have enough of these guys to justify that.
There’s some bad news in the west. Machaka has gotten into my ocean. I don’t know how, they don’t have any native amphibious units or even water mages. They must have gotten lucky with independents.
Well, I’ve completed my fort, taken control of the throne itself, and conquered the final remaining independant province in this area. It’s the end of one era of expansion, though I still have room in the west if I can just take that level three throne. So far, the gold available has been a bit underwhelming, but the sages were a lucky find and my site selection is handy in general now – and I’m not even nearl done searching.
As one thing ends, though, another begins. Yomi has attacked me. The army he did it with is pretty pathetic, just a handful of ao-onis led by a demon general, so presumably he sent them in ahead to take some clay while obscuring what his real tactics are. He’s going to have a hard time pushing into my land, though.
The throne I finished is well situated to block him off, and I’m recruiting as many warm bodies in it to man the walls as I can4 now. It’s not a nut he’ll be able to crack before my army comes into play. And speaking of my army, since it’s done fighting against indies on the east side of the valley, it’s ready to swing down into the only undefended province of mine that he borders. If he advances that army in the next turn, he’s in for a bit of a rude surprise because there’s very little chance that his repurposed expansion party will be able to handle 24 olms. In short, he hasn’t really maximized the effect of his initial push. He probably has a stronger core of units to back it up in the following turns though; while it may be too early for his dai-oni to have become as tough as they can be later, he took an Earth Snake pretender, presumably awake, and I don’t really know how I’m going to deal with that. Loads of magic, I suppose. Magma bolts? We’ll see. These are things that shall surely be revealed in the future.
I’m no longer on top of all the graphs, but I’m doing pretty solidly and have a plan to excel in the future. Some logistical hang-ups that won’t continue to be an issue. Or wouldn’t, though it’s war time now. The one thing I’m worried about here is the fact that Yomi has a bunch of incoming gems and I have no idea why.
- For almost all nations, the best units can only be recruited in your capital province. For me, that means seal guardians (really big pale ones) and oracles (powerful mages, also big). ↩
- Paths names are commonly abbreviated with an initial: [F]ire, [A]ir, [W]ater, [E]arth, a[S]tral, [D]eath, [N]ature, [B]lood, [H]oly ↩
- A Communion is a bit of a special case: During battle, a low-level mage can become “slaved” to a high level mage, boosting the higher mage’s power further and allowing him to distribute fatigue to the slave mages. To do this, the master casts a master spell and the slave casts a slave spell, both of which are available in Astral or Blood. You can also set communions up more automatically by giving a master a crystal matrix and each slave a slave matrix. Crystal mages, incidentally, can use the astral spell easily or forge the matrices. ↩
- A siege takes several months, but the rate at which it progresses depends on a few things. First of all, the quality of the fort. Boosting that would use up a massive quantity of gold and doing it thoroughly would take a while. The more usual and dynamic option is to garrison the thing with troops. For manning the walls in a siege, troop quality doesn’t matter at all, only numbers matter. If defenders outnumber attackers by much, the siege won’t progress at all. If the attackers outnumber defenders by quite a lot (as might have happened if I hadn’t recruited these guy) the siege can be over the month it began. ↩