Part 38: Turn 34: Not Everything Goes According To Plan
No new magic sites, two new monster boars, two successful Mind Hunts.
We lose some money and gain some province defense in an actual useful location. Terrym is the western province that's up against T'ien Ch'i's territory. I'd rather have had the money, but I'm not complaining too much.
Farseer Mountains is that lone independent province that we elephanted. There are no interesting independent units there and it gets stomped royally.
Omicria is the last group of invading Barbarians. We lose a single Cerulean Warrior taking it back.
In Carnag, I make a mistake.
T'ien Ch'i attacks . . . with a few mages and a Cave Drake, and nothing more.
Unfortunately, I defend with a whole pile of Slingers.
Last turn, I set my units here to Patrol in the theory that I might catch some scouts. I forgot that this meant they'd actually try to defend the province. Slingers just don't have the firepower to get through Cave Drake armor, so as pathetic as the attacking force is - I seem to have Mind Hunted the commanders for the rest of the force - I eventually lose. (It takes a while.)
Somehow, though, I manage to kill his Cave Drake through sheer numbers. I'm serious. The Cave Drake dies to slingers. I am shocked by this. The Slinger's most powerful attack - "dagger" - does a terrifying 12 damage, and a Cave Drake reduces all damage by 22. But hey, I'll lose 19 Slingers for an eight-gem Cave Drake any day.
Skipping ahead a little: on the outside is one mage and a pair of Vine Men trying desperately to break down the walls. On the inside are eight ancient mages, likely to die of old age within a year or two, and half a dozen Hypaspists trying desperately to repair the walls. This is the worst siege ever and I am embarrassed to be part of it.
This is more like it. The full military might of Arco, arrayed against:
Well, alright, this is pretty much just the horsemen that the dead commanders left behind, plus province defense. Still, it does include real non-PD horsemen, and a not-insignificant cost of province defense, and I can test out my scripts.
My spells trigger exactly as intended, and Gifts from Heaven rain down upon the enemy forces in truly frightening bulk. The enemy forces rout almost immediately.
I have absolutely no idea which commander died, or how. Nevertheless, I'm calling this a victory.
C'tis really isn't doing too well, to be honest. Gath is carving them up rapidly. Troll Peaks is another of Gath's heavy combat angels attacking C'tis PD, and this angel seems to be luckier, as he takes minimal damage and routs the PD easily.
Note that C'tis is being jumped by Midgard now also. I think C'tis may be basically screwed here.
What the hell are they doing north of Barra?
They have a fort in Sermioc? When the hell did that happen? And it's a Fortified City, at that - that's 5 turns of construction right there. And a thousand gold! All for a fort with 250 defense. What the hell?
Actually, thinking it over, I feel like it's an absolutely terrible idea for them. I outnumber them quite severely by now, and I plan to attack that fort next turn. There's basically four options they have.
* Retreat north. I get the fort in a turn or two. Now I have another fort.
* Attack my invading units. They lose, I get the fort in a turn or two. Now I have another fort and they don't have an army.
* Stay inside the fort. Now their army is locked down, and I can Mind Hunt all their commanders into dust. Then take the fort. Now I have another fort and they don't have an army. (But it takes a bit longer.)
* Attack south. I get their fort, and then I recapture my fort, which I can definitely keep from being sieged for a long time. I get another fort and they don't have an army.
I really can't see how this can go badly for me, so I decide to jump their fort, because, hey, free fort.
Before I do so, note that I did use Power of the Spheres and Storm last turn. Obscuro's still packing six Air Gems, but Ophites needs another Astral gem. This is why I've got spare gems scattered throughout my army - it's trivial to just hand one over to him. If I didn't have a bunch of spare gems hanging around, I'd have to send them all back to a lab to resupply.
All that said, I'd also like to keep Qennan, my new province. If I can squish their army in a position where they have no escape route, they'll all die, and Qennan is useful for that. Conveniently, they have very few forces nearby - there's that handful of mages currently sieging Carnag, and a number of Horsemen up north.
Scratch that. Horsemen and Mandragoras. Mandragoras are a summonable creature that has a moderately tough Sleep attack. They're also magic creatures, and any of my Astral 2 mages has access to a spell that damages Magic creatures heavily.
I don't have a large war force available, but I do have some. In Barra, I have about 20 Hypaspists and an Elephant. They're directed up to Qennan. Additionally, I get two of my Astral 2 mystics from the big war party to stick around in Qennan and provide fire support. And furthermore, I add some Province Defense. The firepower won't hurt.
The Slingers that routed to Qennan are included in that army to help siege the fort. The reinforcements from the capital - the ones that just liberated Omicria - also go to Barra. By my estimate, I'll have an unexpected 40 units showing up in Barra this turn, which will make it substantially harder to siege.
Doubly so because, of course, I'm mind hunting Sermioc this turn, and if they do decide to vacate the premises, there's a good chance they'll be leaving units behind. Trapped in their city.
Finally, we want to break out of Carnag. They've got something like 3 mages. We've got 14 Hypaspists and a small number of Sages. Oy. We route the slingers that fled to Golem Range back to Carnag, and also pile Hypaspists onto two sages and send them to try breaking out. We can only fit 10 Hypaspists onto each sage, so that's two sages we're risking. I wouldn't normally be sending such a completely incapable set of units into combat, but we know from the battle report that the entire enemy force consists of, at most, two Vine Men and their prophet. Prophets are kind of beefy and he's going to summon a lot of skeletons to make life difficult, but I still shouldn't have any trouble beating him back, and I would rather like to have the income from that castle (and the ability to recruit Sages.)
We rejigger our sitesearching a little. Now we can search two sites for water every turn - which we do - and we also blitz our new province, Farseer Mountains, with a combo punch of Arcane, Nature, Fire, and Death. We also build a lot more elephants. I've been focusing on Hypaspists for a while to build up my main army, but I need Elephants for raiding parties, and it's time to get a few of them going.
And finally, looking over Qennan:
Neat. I wonder if that was site-searched by C'tis or just found naturally?
At this point you should pretty much grok the actions for this turn. The extra red arrow, leading into T'ien Ch'i territory, is a scout I'm suiciding to see what their PD is like. I'm building elephants in most places and continuing research into Construction, which is going slowly but steadily.
Next: Why did you even build that fort, anyway?