Well, I took the province and instantly sieged it down, so that’s as intended. In fighting the PD, nobody spent gems so a lot of casting went off-script, which is as I intended. No sense scripting separately for this kind of thing. But one of my elder druids killed himself.
That’s what happens when you hit my blood-blessed pigs with meteors. Well, the pigs also died but I don’t really care, because I got 46 more this turn, and will get comparable numbers every turn for the rest of the game.
Well, when you put it that way… Thing is, I already committed to the attack now. And it might actually be better, from my perspective, to win quick than to stop Fomoria from winning. Yomi tells me that Fomoria has four thrones, but actually, he has two. The other two are on his border, where he could take them. Thing is, I could take them too. The border they’re on is his border with Niefelheim. And I have an army with my prophet headed right that way, and need to claim only two to win, while Fomoria, who also doesn’t have recruitable H3 units, has claimed no thrones at all. Theoretically if both his pretender and prophet could cloud trapeze, and could defeat throne defense, he could win in three turns. But that’s not a very realistic scenario. More realistic, he’ll claim the provinces first, while walking his prophet to the right place. The third year is just ending, so he very well might not even have his pretender out yet. He does have a double bless, though his scales aren’t great. I could win in eight turns by walking my prophet to the forts I need too, the only difference is that when I do it, I’m walking over giants. Of course, there’s the downside that the first throne I take will be pretty poorly protected and likely to be re-seized, which complicates things.
I tell Yomi as much.
I might be getting cocky since there hasn’t been a real fight against Niefelheim yet, but so far it’s honestly looking pretty promising.
Here’s my plan:
This is contingent upon the throne at Boddern Weald actually being level two. I think it is, based on the defenses it had, but I can’t be entirely certain. If it’s level one, I’ll need a third throne, so that means I’ll end up fighting a longer war — probably looping around to take Gol Phalas and cross the bridge, while reinforcements, instead of going to protect Boddern Weald, go north to tie up the armies from the capital. This is a scenario that likely places me at war with a bunch of people, as folks notice what I’m doing, and may therefore lead to me losing. To take the heat off of me diplomatically, I’ll post about Fomoria’s inevitable victory in the public thread, but it probably won’t do enough. Luckily, even if I don’t win, taking that level three throne will prevent Fomoria from winning without a lot more warring, since it’s the only level three and he’ll only have access to three thrones, meaning maximum points of six out of eight.
Turns out Niefelheim claimed that throne and I can check. It’s level one. Damn. Uh. Okay. Well, I’m still aiming for that level three throne then, and after that I’ll go north to Umidor.
That means I definitely need to secure the south first, though, and fight a steadier war. Taking a third throne will raise some eyebrows and some invasions, but without strong priests I can’t just ignore it, the transit time alone would ruin me. Empowering my prophet twice in astral and giving him a starshine skullcap would let him teleport there, but that would mean I’d need a bunch more research and I’m very much not focused on that at the moment. And it would be real expensive. Empowering my pretender three times might make more sense, even though that’s a crazily expensive proposition. But my pretender isn’t even out yet. Well, for now I’ll research Thaumaturgy since I can get to teleportation pretty quick even with most of my mages in the army, and I’ll continue my army’s advance, since that doesn’t change no matter what I do. Maybe it’s best to march directly on the Niefelheim capital regardless of Fomoria’s throne access, though. And then I can send a second army to pacify the south, and do the empowered pretender thing regardless of the great cost.
Oh, and I got this guy, too.
I don’t have a whole lot of use for him, honestly. But he can lead troops I guess.
Time for the first major battle. On my side, my pride of an army:
My mage battery, my pigs, my sacreds, and some fall bears that I summoned for no big reason besides that I can. And on his side:
His bless is N9, which I knew based on pretender titles, and E4, which I didn’t know. The E4 is actually a problem, I was hoping to fatigue him out. Here’s his commander, which is kitted as an SC.
That thing will churn through boars like crazy. The other one isn’t geared.
Anyway, my battery goes off flawlessly. Light of the North Star is up, and he put up Mist which decreases precision for the whole battlefield. There’s no dithering about here, his line is hit by a lot of stellar cascades along the way, but we meet up quickly. Both of us, after all, came prepared for a bloody melée.
Those sparkles, by the way, are the aftereffect of Stellar Cascades, and will cause fatigue. That’s on his side. The ones on my side are a freezing mist, which does cold damage. It’s a problem for my piggies. My stellar cascades are a problem for him, though. Despite reinvigoration, I’ve already got some of his sacreds to 200 fatigue. That means extra fatigue goes straight to damage, and with my pigs going at it as well, I can wear them down faster than they can regenerate. Unfortunately, my sacreds decide to flee without even having gone berserk, the cowards.
I guess they don’t like how many boars are dying. But boars are born to die. Actually, some of the boars flee right after. Then the javelineers. The other boars are wiped out. The fall bears stay, though.
The Fall Bears are wiped out to a one, but they bought time for the mages to escape so it’s fine. End result:
He lost 1505 gold. I lost 225 gold of boar warriors (but more importantly, a turn and a half of them) and 136 gold of javelineers, for a total of 361. I also have better gold scales than he does, though he has more provinces. The fall bears are two castings worth, or 40 earth gems, which is by far my biggest loss but I don’t have a shortage of the gems. I also lost 60 boars, which I can replace in about a turn and a half. Once I hit Construction 6 (I reached Thaumaturgy three, for teleport, at the beginning of last turn and so switched back to Construction) I can research Enchantment, and at Enchantment 5 there’s Winter Ward, which will protect even those losses from his freezing mist. All in all, a nice first skirmish. I’ll just replenish my boars and then press on. The Antlered One is actually great for ferrying troops, with a leadership of 120, so I can get all of the 114 boars that spawned in the last two turns where they need to be. I also have a new druid.
On the scripting front, I’m adding some Gifts from Heaven back in, early in the script, in the hopes that I’ll be lucky and knock out that SC. That’s pretty much the only good method I have of dealing with him, even though with a -3 precision modifier on the spell and an extra penalty from Mist, it’s pretty random. As long as the spells are in the first two turns, it should be far enough from my own troops to not trigger blood vengeance, anyway.
Anything else? Oh yeah, there was a random (I think) indie attack on my capital. PD handled it fine.
Yomi really wants my help.
I really am busy though. Well, probably once I take out this Niefelheim army, I can get his capital fairly easily and then it will just be mop-up. Still, that takes time. For now I’ll respond with the truth.
Anyway, Niefelheim moved to siege the fort I took from them. That’s fine, I have 120 new boars, so I’ll just break the siege. Let’s see if it works on the first try.
Yomi is a nice demon. I’ll do my best to honor is wishes and trounce Niefelheim soundly. Well, I was planning to do that anyways though.
On which note, let’s see what I did to his army when breaking his feeble attempt at a siege. On my side
Basically the same thing as last time, except that the boars are now all in one big group, which is lead by the antlered one since he has good leadership. Two more points of morale isn’t a huge deal but it’s nice since I’ve got it. There’s also the earth reader that I got by random event, since I’ve got him up here to site search the province (total bust by the way, I had lots of mages site-searching while waiting and they found nothing). He’s scripted for magma bolts, since that’s a good spell that doesn’t need to scale to be useful.
On his side, same thing as before, but he’s put his skinshifters in front. I don’t know why, it seems a bit pointless. He also slapped a frost brand and fine shield on the other niefel jarl.
Again he opens with mist, divine blessing, and self-buffs on the jarls. I open with the magma bolts, with star fires until the Druid who casts Light of the North Star appears in the casting order, and then a whole lot of Stellar Cascades. I also get Curse of Stones up, and a casting of Gifts from Heaven takes out a skinshifter. Then he casts freezing mist and our lines meet as before. Just barely though, so there’s no risk of hitting my boars with stellar cascades and gifts from heaven, and the battery goes off nicely, focused on the sacreds rather than the skinshifters who make up the frontmost line.
Oh, a point about magma bolts: Niefel giants are susceptible to fire. For those ones that are burning, it’s more than overcoming their regeneration despite this province having two cold scales. Anyway, some more spells go off and we get into the melee proper this round.
You’ll notice that the core of their line hasn’t kept up with the rest. That’s because all the fatigue from Stellar Cascades has put them to sleep. Further fatigue goes straight to damage. Notice what happens to that group after one more turn of Stellar Cascades.
From here on out we get more of the same. My boar warriors aren’t being used that well since berserk only comes into play if they can get killed in more than one hit, but they still do good damage and take out a couple giants. The enemy line against the pigs is being worn down, and so are my pigs but pigs are free. One of the skinshifters fled right into the Stellar Cascades target area.
Next, my mages go off-script, which means instead of useful stellar cascades spam, they decide they really need to account for their own safety more than the winning of the battle, and cast Luck and Cheat Fate and Body Ethereal and other useless stuff. The casting AI isn’t smart enough to know that winning the battle by a good margin will do more to ensure their survival than any spell will. At least the next round, they go for astral fire, stellar cascades, and mind burn. There’s even an astral geyser, which would have been nice against the commanders though it hit only line-holders.
Well, they may not be going berserk but boar warriors are still better than boars, and have broken through on the right flank and have got the middle side in a nice pincer.
That’s nice because it should help the middle to be finished quickly so that the left flank can be reinforced. I didn’t allocate nearly enough pigs over there.
Oh, but now their army is routed, so it’s just a matter of destroying these fatigued out enemies. They can’t actually run since they’re unconscious from high fatigue.
Tjatse the Abductor, a hero and the enemy’s main caster, wakes up and flees. A shame. But that leaves the rest to indefinite butchery. Curse of Stones wears off, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. The niefel jarls take a long time, and this actually causes my worst casualties of the battle. There’s friendly fire hitting boars (remember, blood vengeance) and then someone things it’s a good idea to cast Earthquake. He’s eventually worn down by single points of damage from Mind Burn, but killing that one last jarl (the supercombatant, who had an item boosting magic resistance) cost me a lot.
Anyway, final report.
He lost 5595 gold, including pretty much all of what I imagine was his main army, and a bunch of cap-only sacreds. He also lost 43 gems. For how much he was risking, he should have used more. I lost 1725 gold, and the gems that those two elder druids were holding. Those elder druids are also the only deaths I really care about, and they weren’t even really inflicted by him. I also gained 25 gold in items, a nice instant thug kit, or it would be if I had a good chassis. I did get a D2 mage via random event, so perhaps I’ll make a Bane.
Anyway, I’m sending my army to pursue the defeated Tjatse. I’m understrength, but I have the two druids I need most (the LotNS caster is the important one, and the Curse of Stones is number two) and fifty boars should be enough to bog down one unit. This is assuming I catch him, of course. I could also catch nothing, which wouldn’t matter one way or the other, or a PD trap, which would be annoying but not consequential. The real question is where I go next, to the capital, or to the throne. There’s also a third option, and empty province, but that one’s obviously not right.
I think I’ll send this army to the capital, to lock that down, and I’m training up vergobrets to ferry pigs around.
This might just look like needless boasting, but downplaying my opponent also decreases the degree to which eating him up will make me into a threat.
Tjatse fell back to the capital. Oh well. I’m sending my main army after him. Here’s what’s in that fort right now.
The Huntress is another hero, so that’s two for me to deal with. Good thing though, I worried at first that it would be a pretender. Looks like his pretender is probably still imprisoned. I only have fifty pigs in this army, but with mage support that’s easily enough to take even capital PD. There’s more pigs coming, but there’s no need to slow my advance for them. I’m also sending a squad of piggies to take the throne. I need to hurry up on pig transport because Lithia, which has become the grand pigpen of Marverni due to high dominion and strategic location, is running out of supplies to feed them all. I can handle this better in the future by routing humans through Helmshire to the north, in the future. But I also need more commanders to mobilize the pigs, which means I’ll keep recruiting vergobrets here for the foreseeable future.
Brief Diplomacy Interlude
I revised my turn to send him 1000 gold, which should buy him a fort with something left over. It’s the nice thing to do since he sent me more than that as a death basket and then ended up not actually dying. Plus, he’s pretty friendly with me and not with anyone else, so giving him a fort is creating a long-term thorn in the side of everyone that’s not me.
I took the province of Niefelheim, losing four boars in the process, and my Earth Reader. That’s a shame, and probably I shouldn’t have sent the Earth Reader along, I no longer have a fire mage. I need more boars to tear the walls down, so I’ll send them along as I get them ready. I had a random mummy appearance in Chilad, which is bad because mummies spread the plague. Luckily, they also apparently move real fast so I can get it to die in Niefelheim at maximum speed. Maybe doing something good along the way.
This turn, Niefelheim tried to break the siege that I put on their capital. Which is understandable, of course, because if I just sat there sieging indefinitely, they wouldn’t they’d get none of their cap-only sacreds and I’d pretty much just overrun their land while domkilling them to take the cap. Of course, I wasn’t really planning to do that since I can afford to assault the castle just fine, but it’s still in their best interests to make the battle happen before I bring in reinforcements since they can’t recruit while sieged. Here’s what they had in their cap:
Basically the same thing I’ve been facing, with two exceptions. They hired some generic units, presumably out of desperation, and put some of them way up front, presumably to disrupt my plans in some way. There’s also a line of gygjas, who he seems to have been using for research. They matter a lot more. I don’t know what he’s doing with them, but that’s enough mages that he could be doing something that would really mess me up. Poison cloud and skelespam could be a pretty bad combination for me since poison cloud deals damage indirectly and wouldn’t trigger blood vengeance.
My side, one may notice, isn’t substantially enhanced compared to the last battles. That’s because getting on his cap and denying him recruitment and income is the mot important thing they can be doing, and actually succeeding would be a mice benefit but isn’t strictly necessary.
Anyway, I’m the defender since he’s breaking the siege, so I go first. It’s my standard battery and setup: Star Fires from the Sequani that are early in the casting order, then Light of the Northern Star, then Stellar Cascade spam, along with a Curse of Stones and some curses and etc. from gutuaters, for funsies.
I soon see why the group of lesser units is out front: They’re eating my initial stellar cascade spam and my army initially meets them. The gygjas cast swarm and raise skeletons, generating a line of chaff behind the giants, who immediately try to fall back for some reason. The little guys out front are torn through pretty quick, but now there’s all this chaff in the way. Look at this mess:
Next they start casting Breath of the Dragon into my pigs, which is direct damage so it triggers blood vengeance, and therefore I’m perfectly happy with it. My mages have already gone off-script, so after wasting turns on luck, twist fate, and body ethereal, it’s mind burn time. At least they’re spamming a somewhat worthwhile spell now that they’ve run out of other choices.
Perhaps Niefelheim forgot about this, since his units are so big that it hasn’t mattered yet, but my pigs are tramplers and so they run right over the bugs.
The bugs are still pretty useful to him though, they’re eating a lot of my spells. And though they’re not accomplishing much, those plus the other things he did to slow me down did allow him to reduce my boar numbers a bit before the lines meet.
Yeah, without being subject to most of my spells, they do a good job dealing with my boars.
He only lost 1650 gold worth of units, by far his best fight. I lost 877, so it’s still my victory in terms of gold, but still, I did less than double the damage I took. And I lost roughly a turn’s worth of boars, which means we need boar reinforcements here, and it decreases the amount of boars that I can send to other fronts. I also lost my last bare chest, which doesn’t exactly matter, but that’s the last one from my initial party of starting warriors, so it’s still a bit sad to see him go.
Any way, my mages and stuff successfully fled, so I’m sending them back north to Niefelheim with 80 more boars. The effect might be similar to last time, if it was only that many, but I’ve got a second wave of reinforcements hot on their heels with another bunch of boars plus some undead that I got via random event. Not all of the undead are mindless, so setting them to attack rear might be handy. Those troops should get there after I seize the province, but before he has time to break siege again, so it’ll still be his loss.
Oh, and some of the other boars which could have been reinforcements took his southern throne and are advancing to deal with his southern forts. This front is a bit boring since he has no troops committed to it, but that’s a good thing I guess. Taking the throne was trivial. Holding it might not be. I’m not going to seize it now, since all it really does is let me recruit autumn mages (E2D1) and I don’t really need them. I’ve started building a fort on the province, though. This is where my generosity with Caelum has come back to bite me, because it required me to reduce my recruitment in other areas to afford it this turn, but oh well.
There’s an arena death match, so I’m sending along the bane that I made earlier. He’s not ideal for it, but he only cost six gems, and he’s pretty good for it, so whatever. He’s more there to kill what other people send than to win, but it’s also just a fun thing to do.
Nobody went to fight my Bane. He won by default, and got a sword which is worse than the frost brand and can’t be removed, as well as a bunch of experience which gave him heroic toughness: More HP. Here’s the hall of fame, by the way.
There’s a dead mercenary, who started with that experience. There’s the bane, Dustsoul, and my prophet, Taximagulus. The two dead ones from Niefelheim are the ones I killed in the single major battle that I won. Ae just entered this list by killing pigs in the last fight. I don’t know the ones from other nations.
Anyway, I’ve moved onto the capital and a castle in the south, as depicted last turn, without meeting resistance. For each of the armies, it’ll take more than the one turn to siege them down to where I can assault. Next turn will probably do it for the southern fort. If not, well, there’s another batch of reinforcements coming. I hope Niefelheim will try to break siege again, because that would mean he’s giving me (defender) the first round of combat, and is also fighting without the walls and towers of his fort. If not though, I can just preach. His dominion strength seems pretty weak. Or I could assault the fort and probably win. But since my prophet is here and my elder druids are also H2 priests (though I never use them for that) I’m taking this opportunity to preach his capital dominion down anyway. Changing his dominion to mine could raise the temperature, which would weaken his frost giants, and also it’s about to become summer, which will warm it up a bit as well.
Caelum posted this
His pretender appeared, presumably after being taken imprisoned, and spawned in his capital. But his capital is now held by Fomoria, so the pretender just sits their sieging and throwing off whatever Fomoria throws at it. Fomoria, of course, is busy caught in a war with Yomi. That occupies both of them and keeps them from doing things like take out Caelum. Or, for that matter, me. Helheim seems to be free and doing absolutely nothing, which is mysterious but I don’t want to ask about it, because that’ll probably call attention to what I’m doing, and what I’m doing is setting myself up for victory.
Anyway, Caelum had this to say about his victory:
Being confined to an immobile vessel, the great god of Caelum cannot wrest control of the occupied castle from the formidable Formorian foes.
Its frustration is keenly felt in the poisoned burning throats, seared skin, and shattered minds of those who continue in their attempts to destroy it.
Will the spirit of the fountain be able to last long enough for its followers to regroup and reform into a military force capable of storming the fortress? Only time will tell.
I don’t need whatever he’d pay, but trade is a good way to build rapport. Not like it guarantees anything, especially since Fomoria is clearly playing to win, but it’s something. On the other hand, he seems to be beating Yomi and he was the biggest before that war. He’s just moved an army to Yomi’s capital this turn.
Still, it costs me almost nothing and turning him down would seem hostile since it’s obvious that I should be able to do this. Feeling me out like that may actually be why he sent the message, as much as needing it in the first place.
Anyway, back to the war. The siege of Gol Phalas was successful, so I’m assaulting this turn. I think it’s empty anyway. Siege of Niefelheim is wearing on, so I’ll send up some more piggies.
There was a bit of discussion on how the game is going so far in the thread. I’ve chopped out crosstalk and posted it in its entirety:
I had to try and downplay my strength without seeming like I was doing so, but someone was determined to set the world against me. Probably either Helheim or Fomoria, since everyone but them and Caelum chimed in, and Caelum is cuter than that. Fomoria has a vested interest in taking the heat off of himself, so it makes the most sense to be him.
The thing about not moving my mages forward was a lie. I also arranged units so that my mages would be protected in case of Howl.