Part 16: Turn 15: A Series of Unfortunate Events
We're well on our way to completing Alteration 3. Excellent.
We're also having a bit of bad luck. Each of these events increases Unrest by 30, meaning I've lost some money. It doesn't mean much more than that, but I can use every gold piece I can get.
(Technically, gold in Dominions 3 is "pounds of gold". People have really high wages in this universe.)
We also lost a scout. This battle went about like you'd expect.
Scouts can be discovered randomly or by explicitly patrolling with units. This battle had a Necromancer providing backup - I don't know if that's part of his province defense or if it's a unit that he patrolled with intentionally.
See that second Agarthan fortress? That's where my scout died. And that's pretty unfortunate, because they literally just built it. That is going to slow things down a bit - I am not happy about that at all.
Also, see that winged demon to the north of my capital? That would be Fluffy Bunnies, come down to say hi. Fluffy Bunnies is a flying unit with a whopping 3 mapmove, which means he can leap straight into the center of my nation and attack. He's in exactly the right position to attack Mrs. Butterworth from last turn, although he can't reach her this turn. I'm not happy about that either, honestly, especially with my botch of the Arcane Pearls. If he manages to jump Mrs. Butterworth, and attack her before she flees, he'll kill her basically instantly - and without those pearls, she has no chance of escaping in time.
(Future Me: Hey let's just be wrong about everything for a bit, why don't we
When combat occurs, the defender gets the first turn. This means that if the defending unit is on the very edge of the map, and is scripted to "retreat", there's AFAIK literally nothing that can stop it. With Mrs. Butterworth in the middle of my territory, this is a certain success, and I really had no reason to be worried here besides general paranoia.)
Luckily, she's just out of range, and I can move a new commander with a new pair of pearls to her this turn. (That sounds like a euphemism for something.) If C'tis does decide to attack me . . . well, it will suck, but it's good timing because I haven't actually attacked Agartha yet, and I can redirect to C'tis. With a bit of an explanatory message to Agartha, who will no doubt be confused by a large army showing up on their border and then leaving again.
I'm just hoping the two aren't allied against me. That would be a big problem.
Finally, in the far north you can see Pythium and Jomon. Pythium is the greenish flag, Jomon is the gray flag with the red sun. I'm not going to bother sending them messages, but it's good to know they're there - if I need to talk someone into attacking C'tis, I can give them a shot.
Here's my army, before I decide to lay it out. I'm intending to have two groups - one heavy unit to go south and hit Agartha's capital, and originally, one lighter unit to go north and pick up a bunch of easy provinces. That's a bit trickier now. I'm going to be risky and go with three groups - I need Agartha's income fast, or this war could drag on far longer than I want, but I also desperately need to slow down his production in any way possible.
There's also an Agarthan military squad that you can see between his fortresses. I'm guessing those are heading to capture the remaining province. I'm going to try to kill that group off, or at least severely inconvenience it - that's probably a turn or two of production, and splattering that many forces would certainly not hurt.
You might notice that I have two commanders named Ugen. This confuses my battle plans until I figure it out and rename one of them Sponglor. The random name generator doesn't guarantee uniqueness, so sometimes things like this happen.
And there's my combat scripts. Again, my units may decide they Just Don't Want To Do This, but we can cross our fingers. These are also all going to change next turn when we finish Evocation 3.
I'm using this spell for its armor negating properties.
(Future Me: what what armor negating
So, I mentioned way back that Protection acted as a simple subtraction to the amount of damage an attack does. Hit a 17-protection Elephant with a 20-damage hit, that's 3 damage. Some attacks and most spells can either reduce that or completely avoid it. Armor Penetrating attacks ignore half the protection - so 20-damage AP versus 17-protection would be 12 damage - while Armor Negating attacks ignore protection entirely. 20 damage AN = 20 damage.
In the case of Mind Burn, obviously it's a mental attack so armor is utterly irrelevant.
Now, where was I?)
I'm using this spell for its armor negating properties. The creatures I'm actually worried about have a huge amount of armor, and bypassing that entirely is quite nice. This isn't a fantastic spell, but it's a solid damage-dealer at this low level and should help weaken those forces. It's an Astral 2 spell and can be cast by all three of my Sibyls.
Another armor-negating spell. This one takes longer to add up, but the creatures I'm most worried about - the Cave Drakes - have a huge number of hit points and so this should be quite effective.
Honestly, this spell kind of sucks. I'm bringing this mage along solely because the important spell I plan to cast is Astral 1 (Future Me: Ho ho! I am being so sneaky! you have no idea what my strategy is), which he has - he just can't cast it yet due to the research. I'm not sure he'll even be able to cast this spell thanks to the minimal range, he might just fail and go offscript. Probably rain down some crappy fire spells on the enemies. I'm okay with that.
I didn't notice this until just now, but here's a great example of the kind of information you can get out of province charts. See Mictlan, the green line near the bottom that has a rather nice symmetrical peak a few turns ago? See Abysia, whose upward line almost exactly mirrors Mictlan's drop? I'd be willing to bet that Abysia is conquering Mictlan right about now. With luck, we'll see a similar deal with me and Agartha in the next few turns.
Curiously, the army size graph doesn't show Mictlan's forces dropping - in fact, it shows the exact opposite. It's possible Abysia just took some badly-defended fringe territories and has yet to meet Mictlan's army. We won't have that luxury, we're walking right into their most defended territories.
My forces gather in Anvast, southwest of Jome. A commander rushes emergency supplies to Mrs. Butterworth. My scouts expand yet further, my forces continue to increase, and my researchers near a breakthrough.
Next: I show you something that is significantly more frightening than a horde of stampeding elephants. (Guess what it is!)