Part 209: Sauro - Turn 31
This is the first turn that I really take full ownership of, since last turn I was still dealing with orders I didn't set myself. There are still quite a few issues lingering that I need to address, of course (like a dramatically reduced mage corps, a dead god and hero, and a dangerously low dominion). But from here on I'm going to try very hard not to imply that any of that crap is anybody's fault but my own. Right now, listing that stuff helps serve as a reminder of where I am in this game and what my priorities are.
I should also reiterate that traditionally, diplomatic relations reset when a new player takes over. Much of the time the new player continues many or most of the agreements that were in place before he took the reins. I have not really reached out to anybody in this game yet, and nobody except buildscharacter has spoken to me. I knew that Dawkish and Xanrick were teamed up with him against Lanka so I wanted to get his perspective on my position (which I also got from Xanrick, of course, but his input didn't really enter into diplomacy).
All of that being said, let's look at an actual turn!
I finished Alteration research (so now I can cast Body Ethereal on markata), and I choose to put everything into Evocation. I currently have Evoc 3, which is fine, but I want Evoc 5. Shadow Blast is there, and I'm putting a lot of faith in its ability to win a battle or two for me.
Speaking of battles, let's look at the one I had. There were others in my message log, but those are all between Hinnom and Lanka (or one where I took back that province that buildscharacter said he took on my behalf and let me reclaim).
My "trap" worked, sort of. I gathered up 16 androphag archers who all suffered from one affliction or another (just select one unit in a group and hit 'W', but remember you may have to deselect that first unit if it is not actually wounded). I left these brave warriors under the command of my prophet, who was set to retreat. I mentioned earlier that I don't have a lot of experience with blood nations. I don't know if that's an excuse for leaving my prophet to sacrifice in a province that I knew was going to be attacked, because it turns out that sacrifices occur after combat is resolved. So basically I wasted half a dozen slaves, and I couldn't really afford that.
Anyway the battle itself went off reasonably well. My archers were placed at the front of my half of the battlefield and set to fire at cavalry. Peak Theorycrafting is the only mounted unit in TheDemon's army, and is therefore the only mounted unit for my archers to target. My archers fired off two volleys, and managed to land one hit. That hit shaved off 11 hit points--all of them temporary from TheDemon's friendly dominion--but the poison from that arrow did a little more and managed to give the arch mage an affliction: Weakened (-4 Strength). It's not going to slow Peak down even a little bit, but it proves to me and demonstrates to TheDemon that I have some limited ability to respond to his acid rain attacks... or at least that Sauromatia is not dialing in its tactical scripting any more.
None of my wounded archers made it out alive. Godspeed you glorious cannibals.
I moved a small squad of leftover archers (4 Sauromatian archers and 6 Androphag archers) led by a Spirit Guide (the D1 mage) scripted to spam Frighten. Their orders are to attack the province thatTheDemon's army just now kicked me out of. Remember, that province--The Peninsula of Awesomeness--has a huge gem income so I'm motivated to at least try to take it, and TheDemon has to continue defending himself from two enemies (you can see Hinnom's barbarians in the northwest) so chances are good that Lanka won't leave an overwhelming force on my border. He'll either attack my castle, and my army there is mostly prepared for that (although the mages are still researching and not patrolling with all the archers), or he'll move away, in which case my squad will move in behind him to take the gem-rich province.
Meanwhile I am slowly starting to get some kind of blood hunting going on. I set my prophet to preach in the fort at Worshin. Every little bit of dominion push helps! My dominion is down to 12 candles at this point. Even Lanka has more than that. I don't have the income to produce anything more than a witch king and a warior sorceress each turn, so I hope that the defenses I've arrayed thus far are enough to keep TheDemon at bay.
I have an H1 priestess or two lying around at this point, and I begin the long and (for me, especially) painful process of calling my Earth Mother back to this world. It takes an accumulation of something like 50 Holy levels of the "Call God" action. If I have an average of 3 priestesses calling President Skroob each turn then she will return on turn 48. I may not be alive by then (and I doubt I will be able to average even that many priestesses on Call God duty), but I'll take my chances.
Also there was a global message from Arcoscephale and a dire portent this turn. And a strange new type of message in my message log. All three are related and so I will post them here.
Well, okay then. Frankly I have not idea if I was a friend or an enemy to Arcoscephale. My guess is mostly indifferent, based on the turns that I've examined and shared here. This spell proves to be a nuisance, and in some cases worse than a nuisance. These global messages don't provide much detail, but most of the time they kill or wound Androphag archers. Every once in a while they will kill one of my lesser mages or even an Enarie, and worst of all they will occasionally give a Witch King an affliction like Chest Wound or Battle Fright. I've suffered many expensive losses already. I am not a fan of these arbitrary kills and afflictions, and I will be keeping a tally of injustice suffered at the hands of Rainbow Dash.
Dexanth and I talked about this spell a little later, and I understand why he did what he did. But a running score of expenses incurred by the global may help give you some perspective in any diplomatic discussions we have later. I will give "wounded" items a cost of 6 gold, and "killed" a cost of 12 (half and full price of an Androphag Archer). It's not exact, but it would be very difficult for me to know the exact damages incurred each turn so this will just be an abstraction.
Wrath of Rainbow: 0 (from previous turn) + 3 x 6 (wounded) + 12 (killed) = 30 gold
1. Control the entire isthmus (Lilli has one province on it so presumably I'll have to take it from her).
2. Extract an air mage from buildscharacter (or enough gems or sites to summon or empower an air mage for myself).
3. Complete Project X (I will go into more detail as I get closer to realizing this goal).
4. Extract blood price from Arcoscephale (30 gold).