The Let's Play Archive

Dominions 3

by ZorbaTHut

Part 24: Turn 22: A Sizable Helping Of What The Fuck

Conjuration 2 is done. We'll be moving on to Conjuration 3 shortly, as well as doing some extra site-searching this turn.

We manage to pick up two sites in Golem Range:

It's like an elephant! Except inferior in every way! And a bugged supply site that I don't need anyway! JOY!

We pick up a more useful site down in that "Death site" near the Agarthan capital.

Abysia is declaring a new prophet! This is kind of funny because presumably their old one got killed, and they're still AI.

Pile o' gems. We're having uncommonly good luck with events.

In Dun Vale, I tried moving forward into an independent province with just Hoplites, no elephants. It went badly - the province turned out to have more than just militia, and, well, elephants are really good, and I didn't have all that many hoplites. Kind of unfortunate, that, but at least it tells me what my limits are (namely, elephants are really really good.)

Meanwhile, in Behemoth's Rest . . .

. . . Wait, why am I being attacked in Behemoth's Rest?

Ladies and gentlemen, T'ien Ch'i has entered the fray.

This is actually bad timing, and I may have played my hand very badly. I've just moved onto Agartha (how did that go? we'll see!) and even if I won, I really need a few turns to crack their defenses. Meanwhile, I've got three months left on my new castle. That's quite a lot of time, and by that time T'ien Ch'i may very well have taken the province. If they do, I lose all my work and money. Ugh. We'll probably have to move forces up north from Agartha - again - in order to fend off T'ien Ch'i, while simultaneously trying to keep the Agarthan cities covered.

Meanwhile, over on my border, Fluffy Bunnies is sitting in his fort along with a pile of City Guards. If he decides to attack me also I'm in quite some trouble.

Anyway, back to the battle for now.

T'ien Ch'i is a nation based on the traditional Chinese. Late Age T'ien Ch'i is most notable for their archery,

(Future Me: BZZT. WRONG.

I don't think I found out what the real deal with T'ien Ch'i was until quite literally after the game was done. I don't know why I thought they were an archery nation. They're not! They're apparently a cavalry nation. And they're a province defense nation also - their dominion gives them free province defense. Knowing this would have been really goddamn useful, y'know?

How to fuck things up badly:
don't research your competitors properly.)

with composite bows for archers and composite bows for horsemen. They've also got a Cave Drake in the front lines. I'm really surprised that I haven't talked at all about Cave Drakes yet considering that Agartha is the Cave Drake nation but here's a Cave Drake.

See that protection? These guys are ridiculously tough. Luckily, they do very little damage. In my tests I found that my elephants would eventually kill them through stampeding, but it would really take a disturbing amount of time.

However, that was matching my elephants one-for-one with cave drakes. Agartha can do that. T'ien Ch'i can't. Each one of them is costing T'ien Ch'i eight Earth gems. My elephants will make short work of it . . . and meanwhile, I'll be pelted with arrows.

Almost every other unit you see there is capable of firing arrows. The cavalry? Arrows. The group of archers in the middle? Arrows. The commander behind the group of archers? You guessed it, arrows! See if you can guess T'ien Ch'i's gimmick. Go on. I dare you.

(Past Future Me: Turns out it's actually not arrows! I've been told T'ien Ch'i's gimmick is cavalry. Go figure.)
(Current Future Me: Yes okay I'm editing this file in various passes, so, uh, I think I added that line like a month ago. Then forgot about it. Um. Man. I hope this doesn't get much more confusing.)

Despite all this, it takes six entire barrages for my four units of province defense to die. Now, in fairness, this says a limited amount - most of the arrows miss, but they won't miss so much when they're firing into a large group. On the other hand, a lot of them hit and completely fail to penetrate my Hoplites' armor. It could be better, but it could sure as hell be worse - at least I'm not trooping around with C'tis's unarmored lizard infantry.

Three provinces go down without a fight. Alright, technically there was a fight in Agartha. It . . . well, it wasn't much of a fight. There was province defense. It went badly from there. Meanwhile, Barra was taken by the scout that I tried to suicide into it to test the defenses. He completely failed to suicide. Go scout!

I actually drop the tax in Barra. I'm not intending for that province to leave my control again, and I want the money to keep flowing in - and I want to keep the population.

Way up north, next to Atlantis and Pythium, is Man. Also of note, the T'ien Ch'i capital is at the very northern tip of their known territory.

T'ien Ch'i advances through my territory while C'tis gathers on my border. Yeah. Yeah, I've been happier.

So let's plan. I've got a few major goals, which I will list here.

* Keep enough forces at Agartha to prevent a breakout
* Keep enough forces at Barra to prevent a breakout
* Rescue my sage-fort-under-construction at Carnag
* Punish T'ien Ch'i to the best of my ability
* Defend against possible C'tis incursion
* Position myself to easily retaliate against possible C'tis incursion
* Get more gems and more research

Let's deal with that last one first. Now that I have Conjuration 2, I can cast Dark Knowledge, the Death sitesearching spell. It's an easy spell to cast, as it only requires 1 Death, but that is coupled with an unfortunate cost of 3 Death gems. No good solution, I need to spend them. One of them gets shot at the probable Death site near Agartha. The other one's a little trickier.

See these scales? These are the normal scales of my dominion. They're what I chose at the beginning of the game, and any area inside my dominion should gravitate towards them.

See these scales? They are not my normal scales. Now, my dominion's weak in this province, so that explains the lessened Order and lack of Magic. The Cold is explained by the fact that it's in the middle of winter. But where's all that Death coming from?

Some magic sites actually alter scales in provinces. There's four sites that give Death in a province. One of them is Nature, but I've already scanned it for Nature. The other three are, unsurprisingly, Death. So we're scanning it with Death magic to pick up the site that I'm almost certain is here.

Additionally, we're hitting the volcano north of my capital with Augury, the Fire sitesearching spell. We're turning everyone else towards research - I'm tired of lagging behind in research, we want a bit more of an edge. One more Conjuration, the first Enchantment, and plow the rest into Evocation. That's the last item on our list.

* Position myself to easily retaliate against possible C'tis incursion
* Defend against possible C'tis incursion

That basically means "hold Barra and keep forces at Jome". We've got forces moving towards Jome, and we've got significant forces at Jome. The latter, though, I need to deal with T'ien Ch'i. I'm going to be moving those. I recruit some elephants at Arco and some hypaspists at Jome. They'll have to do, for now.

* Punish T'ien Ch'i to the best of my ability

I send a message to Gath, T'ien Ch'i's northern neighbors.

We'll be trying to catch T'ien Ch'i's actual forces too, but for now, this is the best we can manage.

* Keep enough forces at Agartha to prevent a breakout
* Keep enough forces at Barra to prevent a breakout
* Rescue my sage-fort-under-construction at Carnag

I gather the squads originally intended to attack Barra in, well, Barra. By a convenient quirk of geography, Barra and Carnag are a single movement apart for the majority of my forces, and I can skip between the two easily. Right now, I want to halt any Barra outbreak - my scout is just not going to handle that well solo - but next month, I may redirect towards Carnag if T'ien Ch'i hits one of the neutral territories between us. I also move about half my Agarthan forces into Barra. Those two provinces are also a single movement apart. If they try to break out of Barra this turn, they're going to get a hilarious surprise. If they try to break out of Agartha, with all their forces . . . well, they might manage it. As usual, we'll see.

I'm not actually convinced they'll do so - they'll probably hit one of my actual conquered territories - but if they don't, that's one more turn Carnag has to finish construction.

Okay. I think that's the best I can do.

Next: The calm before the arrow (Future Me: fuck you past me, stop being a moron) cavalry storm.