Yomi’s army moved to Swamp of the Caul, as expected. I didn’t catch it. He also moved another army, made mostly of chaff, from the Mountains of Judgement down to Runneg, obviously to reinforce the army at Swamp of the Caul in the hopes that he’ll make something too big for my mage superiority to chew through, but it’s also bringing some mages of its own, scripted for evocations and buffs. I don’t think he’ll succeed but this battle will still be uncomfortably close. All the moreso because if I lose this army, it may well cost me the game. I’m building another army in Agartha but this army is many turns worth of recruitment, even if I had a ton more gold and gems, I wouldn’t have the time to build one like it.
Speaking of that capital army, I’m actually gearing it up to finally take that damn throne in my cap-ring. If this battle goes poorly, the new army will come to the surface and be my front-line army. If the battle goes well though, I intend to send this new army through the caverns, finally claiming them, and then into the far sea before coming up to the surface and attacking Yomi on a second front. Of course, that’ll take a long time (nearly a year), so this is the kind of plan that’s subject to change. But it would be awesome if it were to succeed.
Now for smaller things: I retook Upper Wormwood. It’s rare that taking a fort would be a smaller thing, but it was undefended and I’m not really getting much out of it, since I don’t have an H3 unit available to retake the throne and he pillaged the place before leaving, driving Unrest so high that I can get neither income nor recruits. It’ll go down by itself eventually, since my Dominion is nice, but without patrollers (which I can’t afford to spare) it’s going to be a long time before this province is actually good again. I’ve waffled a bit about what to do with the army there. I could have that earth reader build a temple, which would push my dominion and improve provinces faster, but it would cost 400 gold that I’d rather spend on olms. So instead, the army that took the fort is going to go north for the Fell Forests, which is well defended by vine things and my army may fail. If it does, it’s not a huge loss, but if I succeed I’ll have a new province of opportunity, which I’ll be in a good diplomatic position to keep since it’s in a natural border area and in the fort ring of Upper Wormwood.
My army in the eastern sea successfully took a bit of Berytos’ coast. I’ll give it back when he asks but for now it’s giving me thirty income per turn and didn’t really cost me anything.
Yomi retook the province that I used a scout to claim this turn. He also tried a similar trick in one of my provinces. He failed, my one pale one and two human militia in the PD killed his bandit scout.
At the Swamp of the Caul:
My army is smaller than its height. His is the greatest it has ever been, and backed by his God, the Earth Snake.
He begins by launching some evocation and demon fire into my wolves. They’re pretty much just here to be targets in stead of my other units, so that’s okay. My olms return fire, though with so few olms and so many enemies, the effect is rather minimal. My wolves meet the wolves and demons of Yomi, and get the worse of the situation. They’re wiped out quickly. My blade winds go to the enemy soulless, weak undead troops that should not be priority for removal, and the bulk of demons is far less impacted than I would like. The Yingarna, the earth serpent, casts Maws of the Earth. Yomi has been using his mages to research while I’ve had mine fighting the war, and his research is now ahead of mine. The effect of this is pretty dismal; my pale ones take casualties and the ones that aren’t dead are badly hurt.
The lines join, and my evocations do damage, but there’s so damn many of them that the army scarcely looks smaller than when we started. My pale ones quickly break, and the magma children step up to do their part, but an error in my tactics is revealed.
I’ve forgotten to move many of my mages to the back of the battlefield. They don’t stand a chance. Neither does anyone else at this point, really. The demons finish off the magma children, though they take casualties, and close with the olms. The olms have held strong in the face of the enemy before, but after losing so many comrades, they can tell this isn’t a winning fight. They run, but olms are slow. Only a few escape, and the rest achieve nothing with their deaths.
I killed about a third of his army, and he killed the vast majority of mine. He also killed many of my mages and the vast majority of my olms. This is a terrible defeat. It illustrates the superiority of greater numbers, of advanced magic, and also the usefulness of a god on the field. My god could be here any turn now, but until he is I’ll have to make do without.
The survivors of the battle include Lapis, thankfully. Her and all the other survivors, I direct to fall back to Upper Wormwood. Except for some unfortunates who retreated into the fortress itself at Swamp of the Caul. They’re probably going to die, and there’s not much I can do about it. I’m also likely to lose the temple there, but one temple weighed against the three I’ve burned isn’t a huge deal.
Speaking of temples, I did successfully destroy another in Yomi’s cap-ring this turn. I’m sending that army to besiege is capital itself. With 180 units (consisting mainly of ao-onis, shikomes, and sorcerors) they’re not going to win. But stopping his recruitment for a while would be nice, and with the big army gone to me, I might actually send my army passing over Yomi’s capital and heading to the Mountain of Justice again, which seems very lightly defended. That’s contingent on being able to move into Yomi successfully though. There will be PD to fight, and it’s possible that the troops there are set to patrol, in which case they’ll join the fight and are probably too much for this army to handle. If that happens, I’ll just have to hope they do a lot of damage. Success is possible though, and and unlike my main army, if I lose this one it won’t be a big deal.
I’ve also had a diplomatic correspondence with Lanka, where he gave me some info in the hopes of undermining Berytos.
Like Lanka, I would gladly see Berytos gone as soon as possible. However, I’m too busy with Yomi to turn my attention to anything else for a good while, and even if I wasn’t I really have no way of dealing with that. I would probably fare a bit better against Rain of Stones than Lanka would, but I have no real recourse for vampires. I can kill them in droves with lots of fire, of course, but they would take a lot of my boys out in each battle, and just end up respawning at Berytos’ capital and flying back the next day. Plus, Berytos also has their national stuff, including elephants and se’ir which are cheap sacred summonable units. I would need some big battle spells before I stand a reasonable chance of winning a war, I think.
Great news! My god is up. This will give me some advantage that I was lacking. Not as good as having a way bigger army, but he can spam some powerful magic at least. Thing is, without a god army I’m just going to get things killed. For now, I’m going to abandon Upper Wormwood and send that army to hopefully rendevouz with the one raiding Yomi’s heartland. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep building up an army in Agartha, and let Yomi take what he takes while I raid him and keep him humble. My god can research in the meanwhile, which will help him to actually have some spells to cast when we get into battle, though spamming blade wind isn’t horrible either, especially against an enemy with no armor.
The raiding party that went to Yomi succeeded, meeting only PD. Yomi can now either spend gold to replace the PD or go without. Either is good for me. The party is too small to bring down the castle though, so I’m still sending them north.
I’m continuing with my revised strategy of using guerrilla warfare and raiding to make things hard on Yomi while I build up a proper army again. He retook Maneater Marshes, which has the Lower Throne and a bunch of gem sites, and will retake other stuff next, but no big deal. The army that took it could retake it, but instead I’m going for his fort. I’m hoping to take it and slaughter his researchers. In bad news today, Lanka took those independent provinces in the sea that I was hoping to get around to taking eventually, but seeing as I haven’t been able to even get all my caves yet, it’s hardly a huge deal. I briefly consider starting on that now, but I think next turn is a better idea. I can cast Rain now, which will help. I want a horde of pale ones, plus some more olms and summons.
Yomi didn’t assault Upper Wormwood and instead sent his big army running after the remainder of mine, leaving only a few bandits sieging the fort at Upper Wormwood. My raiders, by the way, lack the strength to conquer the palisade at the Mountains of Judgement, so they’re going to raid the throne site again.
The most notable thing this turn is that I’ve decided to send my pretender-led army to finally take the throne in my cap-ring. I’m going to cast Rain and sent loads of blade winds at the mostly lightly armored enemy, and use earth meld to keep them in place, and have Olms keep the remainder paralyzed while getting executed. There are some enemies with armor but they’re all in the same place, so I’m sending my earth elementals and living mercury to deal with them.
The throne province was claimed successfully. The battle went exactly as planned, though I would have liked if casualties had been lower.
It’s the Throne of Life, which gives me nothing I need besides dominion spread. I’ll claim it for that anyway. Most of my mages are going back to Agartha for summoning purposes, but I think I’ll send my pretender with a bunch of troops to claim the rest of the caves.
In raiding news, it’s back to the mountain of judgement, and yomi has gotten back a lot of things I took from him… And he still has a lot that was mine to begin with.
It’s a bit disgusting really, considering all of that should be mine.
Now on to the biggest event of the turn:
That’s a big army to take one province, and taking a province is a bit of a hostile thing to do. I suspect that this is a prelude to war, in which case I’m probably going to lose the game, judging from how I’ve been holding up against Yomi. I have to hope that he’s just taking advantage of my weakness to claim something that was in his dominion anyway. In other words, the best case is that he’s bullying me. It’s not the most likely case.
It would be polite to call me an underdog but the fact is I’m losing.