Part 223: Sauro - Turn 53
I edited this and my last turn post so that I could put the "official" Sauromatia banner at the top. Whoops!
Remote and local site searching find nothing. Spoiler: I continue searching for magic sites long after I should stop. I'm still turning up new sites almost up to the end, so even if it's a waste of gems and mage-turns it still results in some pleasant surprises down the road.
I sent Barathrus the King of Deeper Earth down into the independent province adjacent to my capitol, along with some tritons from the adjacent ocean province that survived my earlier failed attack. I didn't need the tritons any more and I hoped I could kill some off and save on upkeep (the ichtyids killed 9 out of 15 for me so that was nice). Barathrus had no problem with the fishmen; when a single cast of Living Earth produces 12 elementals one finds the conquest of independent provinces to be a trivial task.
More army shuffling, mostly to shore up defenses against Mictlan. With both Burden of Time and Perpetual Storm up now my income has fallen to only about 200 gold more than my upkeep.
242 units suffer badly from Burden of Time. Notably the Illusionist that I took from buildscharacter's territory has Old Age now, but no afflictions yet. Here's the map:
I've cleared Mictlan out of my interior (more on that in a moment) but Lilli has moved into the ocean with me and Dexanth seems to be expanding up in the northeast corner.
More trades with Hinnom occurred. There wasn't anything special this time, just a Dragon Helm (I have no fire and want some fire resist) a Pendant of Luck and an Eye Shield (both of which I could technically make for myself but I'm pouring everything into research and builds character can still make this stuff more cheaply).
I'm just going to put this here:
I will also say that the global spells currently up and running are Wrath of God, Mother Oak, Burden of Time, Perpetual Storm, and Gift of Health. I was really hoping that GoH would bump WoG but it was not to be. In any case Pangaea is even more sheltered from the ravages of extant globals than before, so I don't have to worry about Mictlan coming through that way. I do need to make sure that I can grow as fast as Pangaea does, which may be a challenge.
And this is why. I have six battles with Mictlan this turn! Let's start with the simplest ones and go from there.
1. I break the siege in Worshin (where that Bane Lord attacked). The Bane Lord has moved on so I win with no contest. Sauromatia 1, Mictlan 0
2. Mictlan sends a Sea King's Court into the ocean. Lucky Lake has no province defense (because I can't put any there) and no local forces so she wins with no contest. Sauromatia 1, Mictlan 1
3. When that Bane Lord and his pet Nahualli (turkey) left Worshin they headed for Northia, where I had three Witch Kings waiting behind the province defense. A lucky shot by my province defense wounded the Nahualli so badly that he fled on the second round. Since I had re-taken Worshin behind him he had nowhere to run, and he died. He did manage to cast Luck on himself and the Bane Lord before he fled. While he marches up the battlefield toward my defenders, my witch kings have raised a few dozen skeletons and soulless and cast Eagle Eyes on themselves. They get off a few casts of Dust to Dust (no resist damage to undead, if it hits) but miss. It turns out to be irrelevant though, because my undead are immune to the AoE effects of the Bane Lord's Frost Brand. Many of them get tangled up in the Vine Shield's effects but it only takes a couple of lucky hits (ultimately inevitable since they completely surround the Bane Lord and get so very many attacks against it) to trigger a morale check. The Bane Lord has already suffered a Battle Fright affliction (-5 morale off of a base of 18) so it's not a huge surprise when he flees as well. The day is mine, and with no losses!
So very many tangled skeletons... Sauromatia 2, Mictlan 1
4. I combined my little oceanic band together with the mercenary ettin Pak-Ur in an attempt to raid Binophe, a little peninsula province of Mictlan's. A handful of mermen and ichtyids, a Witch King with a few Shades as bodyguards, and Pak-Ur faced off against two Circle Masters and a High Priest of the Sun, plus assorted chaff. The Circle Masters spam raise dead spells, filling their side of the battlefield with soulless. My own Witch King raises skeletons as well, though I don't expect that my chaff will be enough to overcome Mictlan's. The Sun Priest rushes forward, and this happens:
So long, Pak-Ur! Enjoy your stay in hell. He served exactly the purpose for which I brought him along... of course he also represents a huge chunk of the hit points that I brought to this fight so I am not surprised when my side ultimately routs. I lost 5 mermen and ichtyids and all 3 shades in exchange for however many slaves Infernal Prison, Summon Imp, and 3 casts of Leech cost. Perhaps more importantly I got to see first hand that Burden of Time had taken its toll on the Circle Masters and the Sun Priest. All three were well into old age and one of them had picked up an old man disease. Lilli claimed (in diplomatic discussion) that Burden of Time had little negative impact on her, but it seemed to me after this fight that if we could keep the spell up a bit longer it would do a fair bit of damage to her blood mage corps.
Still, a loss is a loss. Sauromatia 2, Mictlan 2 The best part of this fight was not actually part of the fight at all, but a message I received afterwards.
Yeah, no shit? I got this message because his contract expired, not because he was banished to a fiery hell. Don't believe me? Here, I'll prove it to you.
Normally, when a unit is banished to hell (fiery or frozen) they can be randomly attacked by demons each turn they're stuck there, and at the end of every turn they have a chance of breaking free and appearing in a random province on the map. Mercenaries for hire are not on the map, of course, and I can only assume that returning to mercenary limbo takes precedence over being in hell. Well, either that or the next person to hire Pak-Ur will just spend money to get an ettin trapped in hell. Either way I'm not going to find out! I got my money's worth out of that guy.
5. You may not recall but last turn I moved a few Witch Kings and a whole mess of Androphag Archers into an unoccupied Mictlan province called Hynaphe way down on my southern border. Let's see how that fight turned out!
The silver lining here is that all my Androphag Archers are dead now and I'm not paying their decrepit old asses any upkeep. I've now changed some scripting and double-checked my nearby movement orders. If the 50-odd remaining jaguars press their advantage here and attack Terrym (my adjacent province) then I intend to give them a nasty shock. Sauromatia 2, Mictlan 3
6. So I just moved my troops back into Wicker Woods (the province where the Enchantresses came from) last turn and here come Mictlan's troops again for another raid. Can I fight off a zmey with nothing more than 3 Witch Kings, some province defense, a handful of event-spawn militia, and pluck?
Looks like! Obviously this only turned out so well because the zmey couldn't fly. Ultimately the zmey got tired from killing my swarms of units (living and undead) and then my surviving soulless and skeletons enjoyed half a dozen critical hits each round. Sauromatia 3, Mictlan 3
Overall I gained a province, defended two, lost one, and failed two attacks. So it's a wash! My net gain this turn was that independent ocean province, but now I know which two places Mictlan is attacking, and all the raiders have been cleared out. Soon I can try for another attack of my own.
Wrath of Rainbow: 1044 (previous turns) + 18 (3 wounded) + 0 (0 killed) = 1062 gold
On one hand, the fact that I can see Dexanth expanding again means that I will probably have to put up with this lightning bullshit for a while. On the other hand, now that all my Androphag Archers and Soothsayers have been killed off by jaguar warriors and Burden of Time, I shouldn't suffer from these strikes very much any more! On the gripping hand, now that most of my cheap units are dead, any hits I do suffer are just as likely to be mages (let's say 150 gold for an Enarie) as they are militia (free) or lizard warriors (13 gold). Obviously, wounded mages can be very bad (chest wounds, lost limbs, etc.) but afflictions on my troops are meaningless now. Starting next turn I will estimate the cost of wounds at 30 gold apiece (if mages get hit about half the time and I stick to tallying half a unit's cost for a wound) and kills at 60.
3. Summon/GoR the Daughter of Typhon.
4. Extract blood price from Arcoscephale (1062 gold).
5. Summon 9 Elemental Royalty or cast each of the 6 Royalty summons at least once (current progress: 1/9 or 1/6)