Part 51: Turn 45: We Take Some Territory For Once
Excellent! Now, our Blood Stone is . . .
. . . where the hell is the blood stone?
I end up talking to the Gath player over AIM. As near as we can tell, he must've sent it to the wrong person. We'll trade one set of items this turn, then another next turn.
Well that's pretty serious-sounding.
This is the first Global Enchant that we've seen. Global enchants are powerful world-wide spells, semi-permanent and with catastrophic effects. Okay. Some of them have catastrophic effects. Some are nigh-worthless. This one gives a large amount of visibility across the entire world, which sounds awesome, doesn't it? It's being cast by Atlantis, who . . .
. . . well, we're starting to run a little low on players here, aren't we? Atlantis, as an AI, probably can't do a whole lot with the information. I strongly suspect that nobody really cares about this spell.
Speaking of AIs, C'tis has given up by now also, after passing us those powerful magic items. There's a small maelstrom of C'tis/Midgard/Gath war going on, and Gath is the only actual player involved in it. Fun for Gath! (not really fun for gath)
This is the kind of message you get if you catch someone trying to Mind Hunt you. Oros is one of the mages in the group that just hit Oeperi, so presumably that was T'ien Ch'i trying to figure out what I was doing. Well, now they know anyway.
Damn Ronin. Like Barbarians, but . . . well, almost exactly like Barbarians, actually.
Up in the northern area of C'tis's old territory, Man is attacking Gath. By "attacking", I mean "getting their scouts discovered". It is ineffective.
Gath captures the province just east of Black Alps from T'ien Ch'i. I'm a little peeved about this because I wanted that, but honestly I'd rather T'ien Ch'i didn't have it. We'll try to grab it back from Gath later.
They lose a province to Midgard in the process.
And another one to now-AI C'tis.
The battle against the Ronin is quite close. My Phalangites are far more durable, bu the Ronin do a lot of damage and outnumber my heavy troops.
The Phalangites end up routing, and two turns later, the Ronin do as well, thanks to the almost completely ineffectual bombardment of the Peltasts.
I said I wasn't expecting to get attacked in Black Alps, right? Looks like we don't always get what we expect. Or we . . . sometimes get what we don't expect? Yeah, okay, sure.
Ramshackle armies and all, there's a lot of firepower in this battle. They have several casters of Gifts from Heaven, and we, of course, have our standard artillery barrage.
It's quickly clear that I have more firepower, but they have a huge army of skeletons.
Their troops die rapidly, but it's not clear who will win. I'm having trouble merely fending off the enormous tide of skeletal warriors, and their Gifts casters continue to bombard my troops, doing severe and constant damage.
Even as several of my priests start turning to flee, their forces rout entirely. Many of their Ancestor Smith communion slaves are unconscious from fatigue (as are nearly all my Mystics) and they are slain where they lie.
Victory. My forces are nearly destroyed, after the previous defeat and this somewhat-pyrrhic "victory", but my all-important mages are fine.
Meanwhile, in Oeperi . . .
Hey Zorba, where's that Faery Queen?
Yeah I kinda messed up. The Faery Queen is Stealthy. If you don't specifically command it to not stealth, it'll cheerfully avoid the entire battle. So, no Faery Queen here, and I lose some units thanks to that.
Nevertheless, there's enough magic going on that I cut down the PD rapidly.
Oeperi is mine again, finally.
Along with a small Earth Gem income.
Let's see the battlefield!
So there's a few things of note here. First off, AI C'tis seems to have pulled an army out of its ass, and it's bordering my territory. The western group is Militia, which I don't care about much. The group slightly east of that is a pile of City Guards and Tomb Chariots, which would be a problem. I've reinforced my province defense a bit, but mostly I'm just hoping they don't attack me.
Meanwhile, just north of Black Alps is an absolute shitton of mages.
The Research graphs confirm it: That's T'ien Ch'i's entire capital mage squad, as well as whatever was in Sleepy Wolds.
I cannot touch that force right now. They would flatten me. I'm going to leave a single scout to try cracking Black Alps, because I think they burned their entire military force on my last turn, but honestly I suspect they're going to be wading right into Black Alps next turn and there's nothing I can do about it.
I aim my research at Evocation. I can pick up a really nice remote attack spell to obliterate a good chunk of that force, but it'll take two turns. We'll just fight a defensive war until then.
I leave a scout to Maintain Siege and one to Storm Castle, both set to Retreat. The chance either one succeeds is essentially zero but it's worth a shot.
It should be pointed out that I don't retreat to Sermioc. I "retreat" into another T'ien Ch'i territory, Behemoth's Rest. I want to grab this one - it'll slow them down a bit and provide money for me. I'm pretty sure I can manage it even with my heavily damaged troops.
And it's time to forge a very expensive item.
We're obviously forging this with a Hammer, but even so it costs us 48 Astral Pearls. Still, this is one of the last big magic boosters in the game - with access to this, we can cast just about anything there is. We will, of course, be very careful with it, but it'll come in handy.
We don't forge a Clam. That remote attack spell I mentioned? 50 Water gems. We're not going to be touching those for a while.
We do take the opportunity to forge one of these, though. We'll be needing it in the future, and we've got spare Hammers and a Mystic with the right paths.
And one of these.
(Future Me: So, whoa. Slow down there buddy.
I've mentioned a few big mistakes I make in the game. You've seen the Sorceresses, which is certainly one of them. I feel like the fact that I'm even bothering with elephants right now is, largely, another one. But here's a big colossal one coming up.
Namely, I have no fucking clue what I'm doing with magical equipment.
Boosters, I got those. Utility items, sure, no problem. But knowing what items to use to turn a powerful combat unit into an unstoppable force of destruction? I am basically clueless. I picked up a few strategies but the fact is that my decisions here are essentially crap.
I know I'm going to get a lot of "omg what the fuck are you doing zorba" comments once you start seeing my forging, so I'm just heading that off now: I'm fucking up! That's what I'm doing.
Back to the show!)
Again: future goals.
And finally, another pair of Lightless Lanterns. No, wait, there's another spare Fire Mystic. Three Lightless Lanterns.
Our recruitment is . . . a bit odd. Mostly the standard commanders, but in place of my Sibyl, I recruit a Strategos and a few Elephants. I'm tired of pussyfooting around Midgard - I think I need to start grabbing territory from them, or I'm just going to get passed by everyone. On top of that, I'm paying upkeep for all those forces in Arco, and that's probably a major issue. I need to put those forces to work, kill them off, and recruit more.
I may as well start with those unoccupied water provinces.
Additionally, in Sermioc, we recruit a pile of Peltasts. Siege fodder. I'm expecting T'ien Ch'i to head straight for Sermioc and try to start taking forts back, and my strategy depends on delaying them until I can nuke the site from orbit. The Militia that's slowly wending its way over to Azimar, T'ien Ch'i's western fort, gets redirected towards Sermioc as well - they'll get there in the nick of time.
I shift a pair of cheap Commanders in for the sole purpose of holding winebags. They won't be needed, but I want to make sure they won't be needed, and I'm not really concerned about losing a pair of Commanders.
Let's do this.
Next: Trading territories.