Part 203: Sauro - Turns 17-19
As you've seen by now, the decision to put President Skroob herself in the defensive army did in fact keep Lanka contained on their island. But such a cost!
With the goddess dead, we no longer have access to her battlemagic (not that she used much before she died) or to her usefulness as a mage with useful paths. Earth would have let us forge dwarven hammers, which I'm sure you guys know all about. Even the water and nature paths were higher than we get natively and could have provided a decent basis for site searching. Also, your god provides you with three temple checks by being on the map. A prophet provides one, as does a temple, and sacrificing a single blood slave provides two. With neighbors like Hinnom, Pangaea, and Mictlan it might be helpful to have those extra temple checks, but they're gone now so there's no sense crying over spilled milk.
It is possible to get one's god back, but I think it's already been discussed what that entails. Sauromatia will need to devote 50 priest-turns of effort to the "Call God" activity. As a nation whose strongest priests are H1 (not counting the prophet) it would take a significant effort to bring the earthmother back. Even when she does return she is likely to have an affliction (or more if she accrued them during battle). Furthermore, whenever she returns she will have lost one rank in every path of magic. That loss will make her less effective at rituals, site-searching, and forging. All that being said, I would rather have a dead god but still be in the game than a live one about to lose.
Many of the survivors of that battle have scattered and Sauromatia simply cannot spare any commanders to gather them up. The surviving witch kings are patrolling, and the prophet is building a fortress for defensive purposes. We're recruiting an independent commander to gather up the scattered archers, a scout, and a witch king. The surviving archers are scripted a little differently now, but frankly I'm not sure if it will matter much at this point.
It's not all doom and gloom though!
I don't know a tremendous lot about Sauromatia, but I know this hero and I'm pretty excited to see her show up.
Behold, Delgnat (although by this point Dawkish has given her another name). She's basically a lich AND a Partholonian at the same time. Partholonians usually only show up in the Celtic-themed nations of Fomoria, Tir na n'Og, and Eriu (possibly also Man which is in the same theme, but I'm not sure about that). They have glamour and typically also paths in air, water, and death as you see here. They only show up as heroes or pretender god chassis.
Combine that with her status as a lich with a little bit of badass flavor and you have an immortal mage with air access (and actually more ranks of water magic than we get anywhere but our freshly-dead goddess) along with an appropriately high amount of death. Her presence opens up a few avenues in battlemagic and in rituals and forging. She can go underwater without items, and she can summon longdead partholonians, which are an undead chaff unit that I will talk about whenever they show up.
As long as she stays in friendly dominion and only leaves the capitol for short trips (she slowly loses HP when she's anywhere but the capitol) she could really help the Sauromatian war effort.
Here you can see that she is moving to the front to hold the line against Lanka. The province is in friendly dominion (which means that she will return to the capitol if she's killed), so really as long as she's only there for a short time everything should be fine. Her scripting is set to spam skeletons like the witch kings she's traveling with. It's important to note, I think, that next turn every single witch king still alive (except the one being recruited this turn, of course) will be in the border province of Worshin.
Very little happens this turn. In fact it's the lack of two specific things happening that I would like to discuss.
First of all, you can see that the independent commander has no troops following him. He's moving to Worshin to join in the defnese but he is not bringing the 8 androphag archers who were in the province where he was hired. I have to assume that this was a minor oversight, but it will cost us precious time in the effort to regroup.
Secondly, Delgnat--err, Princess Vespia of Druidia--is merely patrolling along with the other witch kings. She's not summoning any longdead partholonians, and she's not site searching, and she's not returning to the capitol now that it looks like TheDemon's army has backed away from the border. She has, however, lost 3 hit points from being out of the capitol. Since she only has 17 (well, 14 now) that means that she can be away for a maximum of 6 turns before she dies. Presumably she will simply return to the capitol as long as she dies in friendly dominion, but I'm a little frustrated by the fact that she's just being trated like an extra witch king at this point.
The good news is that one of the witch kings is building a lab in this province! So next turn she and the other mages here will be able to use that lab for something useful. At least that's my hope. It's all I've got at this point, and given how poorly Hinnom's battle with Lanka went I don't even have a lot of that.
The independent commander sets off to pick up some archers (for real this time), while the rest of the army moves to attack Lanka's force of about 70 (mostly) archers with Raksharaja support. I do not understand this move. Lanka had no army there before, and now he does. Perhaps there was some coordination between Dawkish and buildscharacter that made this particular attack at this particular turn seem like a strong play, but I wasn't privy to those conversations and I don't understand it now, looking back.
The Peninsula of Awesomeness was free of enemy troops last turn, and now it has an army of archers in it. For the most part this is the same army--or at least a similar army and composition--that has repeatedly inflicted grievous harm on simple archer formations with skeleton spam support. The Sauromatian armies are not really scripted any differently, and their composition is pretty much the same as it's ever been. It's true that TheDemon could have moved his army away and then back again in the hopes of setting up a defensive movement trap. Perhaps he will move the army away again to fight Hinnom's raider(s), and Sauromatian forces will simply take the peninsula uncontested?
If that is not the case then we're simply throwing precious troops and commanders to their deaths here and I just don't understand. We've achieved Construction 1 research this turn; presumably we're going for more Construction research to open up magic boosters, but that isn't going to make much difference in the actual battles because all we're doing is casting Raise Skeletons over and over again forever. An extra rank of death magic is just going to allow certain witch kings to raise one more batch of skeletons than usual in a battle. More is not better here! Different is! We need different! In the battles the only thing we really have going for us is that being on defense gives us the critical first volley. Attacking now deprives us of that benefit, and we don't have any novel scripting or army composition changes to lead me to expect victory.
Speaking of defeat, Delgnat is down to 11 hit points, and we're moving farther away from the capitol and into enemy dominion where her immortality loses its effect. I have a bad, bad feeling about this.
Addendum: We placed a pretty strong bid for the mercenary band The Archers in White at the province of Woshin this turn. If the bid is successful (and if we don't lose Worshin) then we'll get 20 more archers at or near the front lines next turn.
Edited to add one more screenshot (and to very belatedly fix a typo while I'm in here getting the banner address).