So, there’s something I neglected to consider. Bishop fish can only be summoned under water, and I can’t get under water without attacking Fomoria, thereby drawing enemy aggression and attention. Since the whole reason I wanted bishop fish was to avoid that, I guess that means I’m going with the teleporting pretender strategy. Instead, I use the guy who was going to cast it to summon a Naiad. With boosters, that will get me W5 and N5. The latter is good because I can bust out mother oak if my current plan fails to go under the radar and I need to fight a bunch of people; that gem income will pay for lots of new boars. It’ll also unlock Gift of Health with just a bit more research, and that would mean that that my boars (when in my dominion, which is being pushed pretty strongly) have more HP and are therefore even better at tarpitting, and afflictions will be cured, which isn’t super important but is nice, especially since a lot of my mages have afflictions from that Earthquake. After I reach Enchantment 7 for that, I can look into more Conjuration, which will get me the Kings of Earth and possibly Queens of Water, and if I get a Queen of Water, she’ll be able to cast Vengeful Waters, which would be handy against Fomoria. Of course, it could be better to just go straight for Thaumaturgy, which is where Vengeful Waters is, but also has Master Enslave at the top. With communions, I can spam that, and that would be bad for any enemy. I’ll Of course, this is just a contingency. Hopefully even when I take the throne at Cerne, people will be too caught up in their own wars to notice. It’s not likely, though, and it’s better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
With his dying breath, Niefelheim has decided that he should do his best to screw me over.
It will probably be effective. If he’d done it a while ago, it might have saved him. But then, there are many things he could have done differently that would have tipped things in his favor. I’m also not sure if he’s counting the one I already seized in his math, or the one that’s adjacent to his territory. I’m really hoping that I’ll in fact have eight points by the end of this, but I don’t have any unclaimed thrones that Niefelheim doesn’t know about. Maybe that last throne really is a level one throne, and the one I’m going for now is just level two. Though I don’t know how he’d know that last bit. Regardless, there’s another throne that’s three turns away from the one I’m taking in the east. Fomoria owns it, but if I don’t win, I’ll want to attack Fomoria soon regardless.
I’d also like to point out that Niefelheim’s being a bit of a sore loser. Caelum is reduced to a single (non-capital) province and has been for ages, but he hasn’t gone AI yet. Of course, AI Niefelheim might actually be the greater threat, since it’ll at least recruit things and throw them at me.
Well, perhaps I was somewhat over-concerned last turn.
In a game of six players, two are essentially defeated, one major player supports me, and the other two are busy with the one supporting me. That means I’m at full strength against two who aren’t, even though Fomoria doesn’t seem like he’s going to try his hardest. Actually, I’m a bit disappointed at Fomoria’s sportsmanship, but what can you do? He could be lying, and I’ll continue preparing defensive measures regardless, but I suspect he isn’t.
Anyway, here’s what may be the last major battle of the game, unless Yomi and Helheim send a big attack. A battle against indie throne defenders.
Great Mother is E5N6. Right off the bat, I lose a Sequani to an arrow. Lots of spells happen, but with many more units, these guys aren’t as susceptible as the big heavily armored ice giants. The boars will have to pull their weights.
Well, Stellar Cascades already fatigued out the great mother and ivy king. But the gnomes and vine ogres don’t seem to care in the least, and are chopping through pigs unimpeded.
B9 means my pigs hit pretty hard though, and so the enemy loses the old fashioned way: by being killed to death. That causes a rout.
The Elder Druid that died hit a pig with Gifts from Heaven.
Anyways, now I have the throne I need to protect it. I’m moving some more pigs there now, I’ve started construction of a palisade, and I’ve recruited 50 PD, which is a truly outrageous number but I can afford it and having the ranged units behind my pigs could be useful some day.
While personally I don’t approve of kingmaking like this, I’m going to take advantage of it anyway, because Helheim has now attacked the throne I took last turn.
Note that if Fomoria didn’t do this, he’d have a good shot at winning while Helheim distracts me. Well, he still might. This could be a ploy to get me to overextend and fall into a trap somewhere. But I don’t really expect that from him.
On his side… Three Helkarls (death elves), some scouts… and his goddamn pretender.
Look at that thing. This battle isn’t going to go in my favor. He can have his Helkarls spam hordes of skeletons while this raven just does pretty much whatever it wants, which will probably be some terrifying spells, followed by eating all my troops. Well, I get my turn first. Not much of a turn, since all I have is a blesser and a bunch of arrows and stuff from the PD. Then, yep, horde of skeletons. The raven casts Wailing Winds, which is literally terrifying. All my units have to make constant fear checks now. After that, the bird casts shadow blast. My units are still marching up to it, while the helkarls spam skeletons.
Shadow blast, incidentally, cuts huge swaths through just about anything when it’s cast by a D9. And Wailing Winds is already having an effect, before the front lines even meet.
Soon all those expensive PD have proven their value by running, and while my boars fight on, they can’t really handle shadow blast. This hurts the raven, due to the B9 bless, but he’s eaten so many corpses that he’s tanking it fine. It helps that not all of my boars are properly blessed, as there’s no H3 or pretender here and the H1 Vergobrets just can’t bless that many boars at once.
Eventually even the boars need to turn tail.
This battle result doesn’t tell the true story since I lost the loads of gold invested in that province. It was Helheim’s victory no matter how you look at it. Oh well, that’s to be expected of a surprise attack. Hopefully there’ll be no more like it. Unfortunately, I suspect I’m about to get the bullshit that has been making Fomoria so mad. Skelespamming elves plus an extremely tough pretender which is also stealthy and flying. I’m going to send my main forward army to retake that province, and I hope the pretender will stay there to get his shit slapped by my army. If he does, it’ll be a kind of hard fight but I suspect I’ll win since my boars lasted pretty well in this first battle, and they’ll have three more morale (two from the antlered one’s leadership, one from Sermon of Courage) in my main army. However, I suspect he might just leave the province and go to harass me in other provinces. If that happens, it’ll hurt me enough to make Yomi the frontrunner, probably.
Ah, there’s a problem though. I can’t just attack him, because I lost my last S3 Elder Druid fighting the Earth Mother. I need to send a booster to the army. So I’ll get a skullcap up to them next turn and then, if the situation doesn’t change, I’ll attack. I could also use a communion, but that would require either a communion matrix (needing an item, so same problem) or use a turn of casting time.
I’m also sending a nice army out my southern area to head for Helheim’s capital. This too will take time.
He sure seems happy to have made a friend. Well, it’s in my best interests to keep him happy.
Here’s that southern push I mentioned:
Right now I just have little squads of my standard one vergobret to 80 boars, nice for raiding. I have mages waiting at Cun Aral, but I want to see what forces he dedicates to this front.
I send him both, and set a mage to make new ones.
I’m glad he’s got a bit more life in him now. The stuff he’s referring to is just some boosters he was going to buy.
He’s brought a substantial force this time, but he’s only facing dregs, so he pretty much steamrolls.
Now then, the second fight. This was just one of my armies moving into Niefelheim lands, but Fomoria sent an army that got there first.
I’ve got my usual complement of one vergobret and 80 pigs, which is great against indies.
Fomoria brought some Fomoria stuff.
These are all sacred except the ones with the goat heads . The Fomorian King is A3W1D2 and has cast Bless in this image.
The blessing, previously, was the strange and confounding W9B9, but it’s picked up some throne effects too. Now it grants fire resistance +5 and Strength +1 as well. Neither matters much against me. Or so it would seem. The battle replay shows my boars handily defeating the Fomorians, but the final results screen shows them losing without inflicting any casualties, and this seems to be the true state of affairs. Alas.
Then, let’s proceed to the biggest and most important battle of the turn. The battle of Cerne, where my army, veterans of the war with Niefelheim, rests atop a throne.
This is the mightiest my army has been, and it’s not likely to fall easily. Fomoria has brought a lot too though.
A lot of strange choices. Pegasi are good, for they make good use of his W9 bless, but they’re indies. They can’t have been what he was planning to use it on. Draconians are also generic, not Fomorian troops. He does have a lot of flying things, so perhaps he planned to use them against my mages, but in a very questionable strategic decision, he has brought but three mages of his own. One of those is his pretender.
So I’m fighting the Dog of the Underworld and the Raven of the underworld. And the Dog and Raven don’t like each other either.
Anyway, as defender I get first turn, so my batter goes off, effectively enough, and before too long the Dog of the Underworld is fatigued out without casting a single spell. When Fomoria gets his turn, he casts… Storm. What? This prevents his many flying units, which would theoretically be able to bypass many of my boars to reach my mages, from doing anything but slog forward into the meat grinder. In exchange it reduces precision (not a major impact on the spells I use) and weakens fire (which neither of us have). He’s brought no mages and nerfed his troops.
Well, they’re still strong though. His pegasi cut a swath through my pigs. But I’ve got a lot of them. When my turn comes around, my mages put his other mages out of commission via fatigue and my pigs do a much smaller but more significant amount of damage to his expensive pegasi, causing some of them to break and flee.
This continues for a bit, but a tragedy occurs: Something causes one of my piggy squads to rout, and in their haste to flee they trample some sequani. This is much more costly to me than anything else which has happened so far in this battle, and my own units caused it. My boars finish killing the pegasi, taking plenty of replaceable losses along the way, and them butcher his fatigued out back line including his pretender. All in all, not as much of a battle as I’d hoped, but the casualties were real.
Twenty-eight dead mages. Twenty-eight fort turns, and some gold to boot. I mean, it was still a decisive victory, but that’s a lot to lose against an army without mage support.
Niefelheim, previously AI, has finally died of domkill. With my current thrones secured, I must plan to seal the deal on this game, as best I can. Speed may matter more than defense, from here out.