Part 56: Turn 49: Midgard's Counterattack
Our sitesearching, as mentioned, focused entirely on two provinces - Dun Vale and Blue Water. Blue Water yields nothing of interest, but Dun Vale provides . . . not a jackpot, per se, but quite a nice payout.
Yeah, I can live with that.
We also had a pair of mages manually sitesearching, solely because it was that, Defend, or Patrol - they were waiting for the rest of their army to catch up. I wasn't expecting them to find anything and they didn't, so no loss there.
Speaking of jackpots, though - yow! 1000 gold! We can use that. The defense isn't bad either, especially considering that it's on Barra, that first fort we captured from T'ien Ch'i. Rim Mountains is buried deep in our territory (and the event took it from 1 to 16, so whatever), but Barra's now up to a handy 26.
Vlecz, the province east of Midgard's castle, that we just captured last turn. Midgard wants it back.
Now, first off, look at Midgard's force there. Skinshifters: fuckin' deadly. Militia: not as deadly. Guess which one this "army" is composed of.
Unfortunately for me, Midgard also has a lot of less-deadly-but-still-dangerous Hirdman and Huskarl troops, as well as a Horned Serpent bumming around in back. Additionally, they've got a properly-scripted mage.
My Hoplites do their best, but they're overwhelmed by sheer numbers. They still get some of Midgard's troops to flee, and somewhat higher PD probably would have held the province, but you never know what's going to be sent at you.
In Barra, Midgard's invading. This is an actual player-built army, almost entirely Skinshifters and a few mages. Barra's province defense is a tasty 26 . . . but that's not nearly enough to deal with a real invasion.
It goes kind of badly.
Three commanders - none of which have Astral magic. Hmmmm.
C'tis tries to siege Midgard's western fort, sending a group of Poison Slingers up against Midgard's pitiful defense. The battle is short and bloody, and C'tis holds the fort easily.
And then I try to siege Midgard's western fort, sending an actual army up against C'tis's tiny squad of Poison Slingers. The battle is, again, short and bloody, and I hold the fort easily.
I don't know if the AI is capable of holding grudges against people, but I hope they don't hold this against me. I honestly wasn't trying to fight them. Oh well.
This kind of thing happens painfully often in real wars - you'll have two nations struggling against one bigger nation, they both decide to siege the same fort on the same turn, their armies kill each other, the big nation cleans them both up. GOOD JOB.
Anyway, C'tis manages to kill off an elephant - after I stun my own damn elephants with elf shot, everyone here is smart - but the battle is otherwise easily won.
Mictlan is pushing up through Midgard territory and scooping quite a lot of it up. They're rapidly going up the province chart, in fact - at this point they're solidly in 3rd place, and jockeying with me and Ulm for 1st. This could be worrisome, but their research and gem income are both catastrophically low and I'm just not worried.
(Future Me: It should be pointed out that Mictlan is a Blood nation. As such, their main source of income doesn't show up on gem graphs, and instead of needing seven research paths, they basically need one.)
Their army is led by a pair of turkeys.
(Future Me: I swear I didn't intentionally time this for Thanksgiving.)
Some units - mostly magicians - have the ability to transform voluntarily into a different form. Usually this is a tradeoff between magical power and mobility. Turkeys here are flying, with a movement of 3, letting them leap around the map easily. I don't know what magic they may have lost, but they still have enough to defend against Mind Hunting.
Anyway, Scytha is a Midgard fort, and Mictlan easily breaks the defense on it and begins the sieging process.
Actually, I bet that explains the turkeys - flying units have a major bonus to siege power.
Tenvir: I'm not even showing this. It's another Midgard/C'tis skirmish. You don't care, I don't care, nobody cares.
In Banded Hills, T'ien Ch'i attacks . . . god, I don't want to explain this.
In Banded Hills, T'ien Ch'i attacks C'tis's army, which is sieging Midgard's fort, that used to be C'tis's western fort.
They do it in a horrible and pathetic manner and die instantly. Fuck you for making me describe that battlefield.
Boddern Weald, the northwest castle of T'ien Ch'i that I just rampaged past. T'ien Ch'i breaks out again - note to self, the AI loves to waste units breaking sieges - and drives off my scout again. Gonna have to cover these places a bit more firmly.
DwoAna, the oddly named southern province in our continuing war sweep, contains T'ien Ch'i's normal excessive PD.
A lucky arrow manages to slay a non-notable Mystic (seriously, it was aimed at a group twenty squares away, and Arrow Fend was up. Goddamn RNG) and T'ien Ch'i Paralyzes, then Soul Slays, this squad's sole remaining Elephant. Besides that, the magical barrage does its job as normal.
We're rewarded by a veritable bonanza of Air gems. It's not a lot in its own, but considering that it doubles our income - and that's after our income was already doubled thanks to Site Search - we're not really complaining. We actually have enough Air Gem income to sitesearch heavily now, which we may well use our Faery Queens on once we're no longer fighting heavily-archered nations.
The other half of our army sweep goes with no casualties and a single new magic site.
Gath has another small army shuttling around to fight Midgard. They've got a small army of Minotaur here, which are an interesting smaller unit with Trample. They're actually pretty nasty and I wouldn't mind never fighting them.
Our scout gets discovered and slain in Kishia, which just has a retarded amount of PD. We're going to have to come back to this much later. Yeesh.
So let's list off the things to worry about.
* Barra under siege
* Midgard attack squad in the east
* Wall of devastation moving north
* Capture Azimar
* Conjuration 9
With Barra, I've already observed that he has three commanders, none of which have Astral. He also has a large force of actually rather deadly Skinshifters. I could try to form a mage communion and scrape together an army, but I've got better things to do with my time. I queue up four Mind Hunts and set a scout to attack. If I do manage to kill all the commanders, the rest of the army will autorout on attack. Midgard's escape route has been closed off by C'tis so the entire army will just die. There's a moderate chance that two of the Mind Hunts will fail, but if so, next turn should finish them off and we'll just do it again.
We do have to set the scout to Attack Closest, or he'll probably flee before the Skinshifters manage to, but so it goes.
There's only two provinces of mine that the eastern Midgard squad can actually attack. One of them is the huge siege force sitting on their castle. The other one is a province next to my capital. I've got enough forces in my capital to make a really nice conventional elephant assault squad, just like the ones I used to expand, so I do so and send them into that province. This squad will also start capturing Midgard territory starting next turn.
The Wall of Devastation continues in its standard manner. I'm running low on gems - the northern team has one Astral gem left after this, and the southern team is using their last Air gem - but that's actually okay, they'll combine to siege T'ien Ch'i's capital next turn and that will let them combine gems as well. And once they take the capital, they can restock, also.
The Azimar group has formed up. It consists of seven Mystics and three Crystal Sorceresses. I rig up a standard communion with two Crystal Sorceress Masters and the rest Slaves - I feel like the Thunder Strike ability is going to be my best bet here. The Slaves won't actually do anything besides act as a Fatigue sink.
Now, Conjuration 9.
In order to cast Tartarian Gate we'll need seven Death magic on one mage. That's . . . actually quite a lot of Death magic, especially since the best we have is Mrs. Butterworth with two.
Thanks to C'tis, this isn't a problem.
Two from Mrs. Butterworth. Three from the Scepter of Dark Regency. One from the Ring of Wizardry and one more from the Ring of Sorcery. We've got 145 gems worth of gear loaded up on Mrs. Butterworth here, and she's almost certainly the most powerful death caster in the game right now.
Tartarian Gate uses ten Death gems. We can afford it. Oh, we can afford it.
The actual creature we get is going to be quite random, and I'll show it once we get them. Depending on what happens we may end up spending a few turns rolling the dice until we get a Tartarian that we like - we obviously have no way of rigging up a second Tartarian summoner right now, so that's one Tartarian per turn for the foreseeable future.
Forging is a bit tricky. We actually want to keep all the Nature gems we can, as I have Tartarian-related plans for them, and that means no Clams. It also means it's a bit unclear what we should be forging - I certainly have no intention of wasting my hammers.
I start with a Lucky Coin, another of those shields we gave to a Faery Queen. I add a Ring of Fire, an item which gives complete immunity to Gath's favored fire damage. And I top it off with a new pair of Earth Boots, since my first pair are in combat and I need a second Earth booster.
I'm forging a lot of magic gear without any real plans to use specific items. A lot of it is going to end up on Tartarians. I don't really know what the Tartarians are that I'll get, but I do know what they generally look like and what gear I'll generally want on them.
Logistics time. Recruiting Mystics, Sibyl, Sage, and Crystal Sorceress as usual, plus a whole pile of Hoplites. Province Defense up to 11 in our new territories, again to fend off the AI. We end up with about 550 gold left over - we would've been pretty squeezed without that windfall - and I'm just going to keep it for now.
The water-breathing item is handed off to a Scout who beelines for Arco. I don't see any reason to keep it on the front lines, and I have some ideas for it.
We've also got a new Crystal Sorceress.
She will be in charge of music videos.
We're plowing out 634 RP. That will get us two levels in Alteration this turn, giving us Mother Oak, a nice global enchant that generates Nature gems. I may or may not be casting it immediately - I want to, but I won't have quite enough gems to afford it - but if not now, I'll be doing it Soon.
Next: One! Two! Two sieges! Ah ha ha!