Part 21: Turn 20: He's Not Dead Yet
Blimey that's a lot of messages.
Construction 2 is done. I didn't bother to post a research results chart for Construction 1, and this should make it clear as to why. The even numbers in construction are the important numbers - the odd numbers, with one or two exceptions, are pretty much irrelevant. And the even numbers don't even bother listing details of what you get, you have to consult the manual or wiki to find out.
I head back to Conjuration, yet again. This time we're going to finish the damn thing. I hope.
We find another magic site. There's apparently more Astral sites in Agartha's territory than there are in ours.
Could've used the PD in Cun Aral a turn or two earlier, guys
Our attacks against independents go well . . .
. . . as do our attacks against Agartha.
It's not a complete sweep, however.
First off, that Ktonian necromancer of Agartha's, plus his trio of crossbowmen, are making life slightly annoying for me. They'll be crushed shortly, but I guess I should have put up more PD adjacent to them, shouldn't I. C'est la vie.
Unsurprisingly, a single scout wasn't enough to hold Agartha forever.
Dammit, Agartha. Anyone else would have gone AI by now! Why can't you cooperate
If I were Agartha, I would have tried to break out with my entire forces, including Pretender. That's why I vacated the area - I can probably do a ton of damage to them, but I'd have trouble flatting them entirely. For one reason or another, they outsmarted me here - this is nowhere near their entire forces. Well played. Most importantly, it doesn't include his Pretender, which I still know an unfortunately small amount about. Sad.
On the other hand, his province's Unrest is probably painfully high. He's just not going to be making a lot of money off that capital. Additionally, his resources will be low. If he tries to recapture territory, he'll just be splitting his units up - if he doesn't, he won't be making progress.
(Future Me: Hokay. So, I've been going back and editing things a lot as I go - my original claim about "writing it as I go", while true, is kind of half-true because I've been making quite a bit of tweaks. Most of the time I'm able to fit stuff in so it flows right. This time, though, I just can't find a satisfying way to merge it in, and, well, it's a fair cop, I'll just admit to it.
Next turn I'm going to sort of offhandedly mention "his Forge Lord". See, Agartha's got a Forge Lord as a Pretender. I have no idea when I discovered it, but I'm going to guess I discovered it on this turn, when moving stuff around near the end, and just forgot to mention it.
See that? Forge lord. Sitting nice and pretty in his capital.
Here's what your basic Forge Lord chassis looks like. It's a Titan type, so you get all the stuff that normally comes along with a Titan pretender: large number of hit points, a few magic paths, a little bonus dominion, a hefty cost, a painful extra magic path cost, and a Wacky Bonus of some kind. The Forge Lord's got one of the better bonuses: he can forge any magic item for a 25% discount.
THIS IS FUCKING HUGE.
By end-game this can add up to a savings of quite literally hundreds of gems. Just a gigantic, gigantic bonus, especially since you can hand him the standard gem-saving forge-bonus items and they actually stack.
In my early Arco pretender design I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out a way to make a Forge Lord do what I wanted, but was ultimately unsuccessful - they're just way too expensive if you want a lot of magic diversity. However, it tells me a few things about Agartha's strategy, and further tells me that I made the right choice of who to attack - a Forge Lord is a horrifying power late-game, but early-game it's pretty inconsequential. They're just not all that dangerous in the early game.
Anyway, Agartha's got a Forge Lord, and now we both know it.
This is why I read ahead, folks. To save you from my own idiocy.)
I find this site in one of our new territories, presumably originally discovered by Agartha . . .
. . . and this site in one of the new independent provinces. Now this is a find!
Everything I would say about these guys is being said in the description. In summary, they've got more research than one of my Sibyls, for less than half the cost and somewhat less upkeep. (Sibyls, being Sacred units, have halved upkeep costs.) I want to start recruiting them badly. Unfortunately this area is still a bit of a war zone, but I move a Commander in immediately - we'll start a fort as soon as possible, and get a Mystic over to build the required lab.
The downside is that they start life Old, and that means that they'll start picking up afflictions and dying unfortunately quickly. It's also going to cost me yet more out of my constantly-squeezed finances. Still, it's worth it. Very worth it.
We've found Atlantis, Mictlan, and Jomon's capitals this turn. Groovy.
After some deliberation, I come up with my intended strategy.
First, I'm going to suicide a scout against their capital. (He's set to Retreat, but I don't expect him to survive.) The intention is, as usual, pure information - I very badly want to know what he's doing. (Future Me: For some reason I don't seem to have a scout doing that in this screenshot. Man, I dunno. We'll just see what happens next turn I guess.)
I can think of a few things he might try. He might try to catch my incoming army at his capital. He might try to capture the southwest province, as he knows it's a death-gem generator. Or he might try to attack my northeast army.
I don't think he's going to move the bulk of his army out. Therefore, I'm just going to surround him. My current nearby force is going to hit his well-defended province in the southeast. The rest of my forces are just going to end up moving adjacent to him. If he tries to escape with a group similar in size to what he broke the siege with, I'll most likely win. Otherwise, we can hit his castle again next turn, in a somewhat climactic battle.
Next: Yield to the elephants!