Big Magic

Turn Fifty

It is late spring in the fifth year of the ascension wars, and a very good deal has been proposed to me:
greatest ally
Utterdark is a spell that casts all provinces into darkness, giving big penalties to anyone who doesn’t see in the dark (so I’m fine, as are undead and demons) but more importantly, it’s incredibly harsh on the income of provinces that aren’t deep sea or caves. R’lyeh has a bunch of deep sea and I, of course, have a bunch of caves. Having him do it is highly beneficial to me for two reasons. First of all, I can’t cast it anyway because I don’t have a good enough death mage. But also, this is a very offensive global. People tend to get mad at and attack whoever casts it. I do not want them to do that to me, but R’lyeh is underwater which means he’s tougher to attack, and although EA R’lyeh isn’t considered a strong nation, that’s mostly because they can’t effectively leave the seas. On their home turf, they’re very powerful. So I’m sending him all the death I’ve got on hand.

Also Hinnom continues moving about my caves, but his diplomatic actions seem to indicate that he thinks killing indies is helpful and he’s just moving around his units for the fun of it. I’m not going to start to trust him now, but I’m taking a wait and see approach nonetheless. I need to get more infrastructure up in this region to fight a war with him anyway.

Other things happening today: Plenty of diplomacy, and both Ur and Kailasa had a failed attempt to take a province loaded with high-level indies.

Turn Fifty-One

Xibalba is also conspiring to plunge the world into darkness with me and R’lyeh.
conspiracy
I agree that Marverni and Hinnom are annoying. I wouldn’t mind fighting them either.

Also, here’s Lolth. Less terrifying than Vecna, but I still have better things to do than mess with her.
lolth
She also has five of these guys:
lolthpriest

Other than that, no major happenings aside from Abyssia being finished off. Here’s the pretenders of the world right now:
Defeated
The remaining AI players probably aren’t long for this world either. Ulm is under siege, Ermor is tiny (Hinnom is eating him, and Niefelheim already holds his capital) Sauromatia and Fomoria are being gobbled up by Therodos and Marverni, though Sauromatia’s actually rather large yet, and C’tis will soon be finished off by Niefelheim or Pangaea. I don’t have spies in Helheim, but I would assume they’re headed for a similar fate.

Turn Fifty-Two

Ermor’s done.
More importantly,
dark

He didn’t use all the gems he received. I’d be fine if he skimmed like 10% off the top, that’s an acceptable tax to me for a move that could very well win me the game, and a reasonable fee to charge. His reason is different, though.
strategery

He’s doing a bluff cast at a low price, with the idea that people will overcast a dispell and waste their pearls, allowing us to overcast with everything immediately after when there’s no longer enough astral pearls (and, potentially, political good will) to take down something at a massive overcast. Unfortunately, it looks like a waste because people in the diplomacy thread are anticipating this move and recommending a dispel with a relatively small overcast. That said, they think it’s going to make R’lyeh waste maybe 150 gems. They haven’t cottoned on to the fact that this is a group effort – I can almost fund that much myself each turn, so between me, R’lyeh, and Xibalba (who has Well of Misery) that kind of waste is meaningless. We can easily put up a second decoy and go all in the third time. I sent a message to R’lyeh counseling as much.

counsel

Now, the global that Utterdark brought down was Hinnom’s Eyes of God, but in poorly considered frustration, he posted everything from right before losing them.
finaljewbig
There’s pretty much nothing on the map that I didn’t know about, since I have decent scouting now. Note, though, that I’m now number four by size. Size doesn’t correlate directly with power, but with Utterdark cast, my caves are among the best provinces out there for income.
fortsI’m number seven in terms of forts, which isn’t great. Luckily, nobody else can afford forts now, so I have ample time to catch up. Now, income. The old income graphs don’t show the effect of Utterdark, but here they are: before the darknessI was like eighth place or so. With Utterdark, I dropped back to where I was before Well of Misery was cast, which is that point where all the major players’ lines go up at once. Hinnom estimated that I’d be at 4800 income, but I’m at 4428. His approximation seems about right, so I don’t know where the disparity came from. Perhaps it’s all the disease that’s spreading, since the Throne of Death was claimed (by Vanheim) this turn. Good thing everyone else dropped way more.
Now, the more important income:
loadsagems
I jumped from number five to number three when I usurped Earth Blood Deep Well from Kailasa. I also got a nice little jump this turn, taking the Greyhawk Catacombs. There was seven gems worth of prediscovered sites there, including 5D, and the ability to recruit necromancers and summon soulless, though I have no real need of those.

Now for the worst graph:
knowledge
I’m incredibly low in research. I’m number fourteen. I’m below AI players. On a positive note, I’m rising faster than a lot of nations. And nobody else can afford to recruit new mages. Summoning researchers will now be viable. Unfortunately, that’s likely to indicate Xibalba’s dominance, not mine.

faith
I came close to toppest dominion for a while, but now I’m number three. Still not shabby, especially since nobody else can afford temples.

Armies
The armies of Agartha number seventh in all the world. While this seems like a low stat, it’s not actually bad. There’s two reasons it’s so low. First, my armies make heavy use of expensive olms and mages, both of whom punch far above their weight, so real strength is higher than it appears on the graph. Second, my armies are at peacetime size. I have only the little forces needed for expansion, while the bulk of my wealth goes into infrastructure. And most armies in the world, relying on gold, are going to start running out of pay and may even start deserting. Mine, meanwhile, can be scaled up (over the course of a few turns) to be amazing. The problem here is that the biggest armies aren’t gold-based. Tíen Chí and Xibalba use mostly summoned armies, and they are also the two biggest. Tíen Chí has a big army because they need to to fight Mictlan (notice the crashing line of his army graph) and Xibalba is probably using them to patrol in provinces where he hunts for blood slaves. However, he could also have a big army purely because he wants to, or because he’s preparing an invasion. In the latter case, his best targets were me and Tíen Chí. Now that my provinces are worth the most, his best target is me. This, unfortunately, looks kind of likely because of the recent sudden jump in numbers.

My army graph dipped slightly today, by the way, as I made my first expansion blunder that didn’t involve the Earth Snake.
blunder

There were also a few minor happenings:
Hinnom finally took Ulm’s capital.
A province I took had a barbarian attack immediately after my armies pacified it. The barbarians were pacified in turn.
A random province in Ur’s land was attacked and conquered by a Shade Lord. This is notable only because it’s not independent, it’s Special Monsters.

So, a nice big eventful turn. Bottom line: It gives me a huge advantage. Unfortunately, it also gives Xibalba an advantage, and since he had a good shot without one, it probably gives the game to him unless he gets stomped soon.

Turn Fifty-Three

Xibalba cast Blood Vortex, which overrode Utterdark. The dispel bounced against somethign else. Meanwhile, Lanka cast Maelstrom, which overwrote Xibalba’s Well of Misery. And somebody (probably R’lyeh) cast Cataclysm. Mictlan has been set AI, which means he’s fair game for expansion. I also see that Kailasa attacked R’lyeh, which might be a good sign for the future demise of great powers. Oh, and the blood vortex attracted demons. Some joined me, some didn’t.
My armies attacked Old Greyhawk Castle, causing casualties and killing a sphinx, but it flew into my back line and caused the olms to flee first. As a result, I lost. There’s also other interesting fights, including Tíen Chí against the rest of Mictlan’s army, the biggest battle my scouts caught in that war despite being AI, but I have very little time today.

Turn Fifty-Six

There’s been more apocalypse casting, there’s a bunch of indie attacks from thrones, and now Pan has gone AI and immediately attacked me. I’m losing provinces and don’t have the cash to build armies to stop it. The game has stopped being fun.

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