Part 57: Turn 50: The Anti-SC
Dude, we've known this since turn 30, and we're literally on the other side of the planet. Learn to scout, fucker.
I'm actually rather curious who's been asking this, for a few different reasons. First, I'm not sure why people are more pissed off at Ulm than me - yes, it's true that nearly everyone near me is either AI or dead, but that isn't a point in favor of me being a helpful friendly nation. Second, it implies that a lot of other people in the game are fucking awful at scouting too, and considering that I've caught scouts in my capital from the major factions near me, that implies that I might be one of the few serious scoutmasters remaining.
Jomon also mentions that Ulm's packing Bane Lords. Now, Bane Lords aren't really flimsy units, but they're not particularly buff either. Death 4 to summon, and they make moderately competent thugs, though I don't know if I'd consider them supercombatants. The Ulm/Jomon war only started relatively recently, and if that's the best trick Ulm has up his sleeve, I'm in really good shape.
Two levels of Alteration.
We'll check up on him later.
Yeah, I was afraid of this.
Midgard's commanders are proving very difficult to Mind Hunt. They've got magic resistance of 14, which means, on two opposed exploding 2d6 rolls, I need to beat a 4. Not all that unlikely, but not particularly likely either. I may be better off just moving an army into place, but those skinshifters are kind of frightening.
Dreamsoarer, note, isn't even a magician. He's just a dude. (A dude named Dreamsoarer. Rock on.)
A Khan is a non-notable mounted commander. There is basically no good reason to prophetize him.
In Barra, our scout attacks the still-fully-armed-and-operational siege party and is summarily executed.
Midgard attacks in Linshire.
Now, I know that group looks like a pushover, but remember this doesn't include my standard war communion. Also, there are Skinshifters in there.
The battle begins quickly. You can still see a bit of a hole in my Cerulean Warrior party where a Thunder Strike hit. There's an Air Elemental fucking around in their front ranks. My Elf Shot barrages are slowing them down a little, but it's unclear how much that will help.
Midgard's air magic starts knocking small holes in my army. Somehow, the Elephant dodges the Elf Shot barrage, stampeding over the hordes of Militia.
The Militia breaks and flees, leaving a small pocket of Skinshifters surrounded by my army. As good as Skinshifters are, they're quickly overwhelmed by sheer offensive power. Meanwhile, my Sibyl lobs healing spells into the battle.
(I have no idea how useful they're proving, but it's happening.)
As the last Skinshifters are slain, Midgard routs. The castle remains mine.
I don't know how many of those troops came out of the castle and how many may have come from adjacent provinces, but, hey, dead Midgard troops are dead Midgard troops.
In Sermioc . . . wait, Sermioc?
Yeah, T'ien Ch'i is finally jumping my castle, long after I moved my defensive forces off it. They're jumping it with a truly pitiful force, though, and I'm kind of surprised I lose. I bet it's thanks to that tiger.
Sure enough, the tiger runs to the back of my army, clearly intent on assassinating my commander.
After plowing through a few Slingers, the wounded tiger nearly kills my Commander in a cloud of teeth and claws.
The Commander fucking eviscerates the tiger.
Well done. So why the hell did I lose?
Oh, that's why. T'ien Ch'i has loaded their Commander up with a few gems, and it's cheerily summoning elementals.
Even with them, it's close - T'ien's ground forces flee, and the Water Elemental is slain. But my forces rout before the Earth Elemental reaches them.
T'ien Ch'i's forces are left with two Heavy Horsemen, a Crossbowman, and a single Celestial Master, equipped with two Astral gems and an Air gem. I'm not all that worried about him. We can just break out.
In Azimar, my new war group cheerily flattens Azimar's near-nonexistent defenses.
In Saeborea, terrible AI squads clash. C'tis wins - they're pushing Midgard back rather effectively, in fact.
I moved a single Mystic named Pronos to Dun Vale on the theory that he couldn't join the siege force this turn, and I may as well position him so he could attack either fort, as I'd like to get them both locked down soon.
T'ien Ch'i decides to attack that province. I'd like to claim this is because they want to cut my territory in half, but honestly it's probably because the RNG told them to. The AI just ain't smart. Still, it isn't looking good - I actually forgot to script Pronos entirely, so he'll spend almost the entire battle futzing around with worthless self-buffs.
Sure enough, he starts with Body Ethereal and Ironskin. Now, if the melee reaches him, he'll die slightly slower.
T'ien Ch'i drops an Air Elemental into the middle of my forces. Pronos counters with a completely ineffective Magma Bolts.
T'ien Ch'i bombards my army with Falling Frost, a relatively weak AoE attack. Pronos finally gets around to Combusting one of the enemy's weak front-line Light Infantry, while my troops somehow tear down the Air Elemental.
The Light Infantry finally routs, and my Peltasts follow them . . . right up to the T'ien Ch'i mage, who gets instantly stabbed straight through the heart.
Even that isn't it for T'ien Ch'i, as a Khan and a Commander keep leading the army from behind. They don't last much longer, though, and rout after taking a few more hits.
I'm actually kind of surprised we pulled that off.
In Sleepy Wolds, T'ien Ch'i suicides a pair of mages against the entire Gath armada. Yeah I have no idea. No, I'm not providing screenshots. Just pretend there's two mages, and then, there aren't two mages.
Pzucz, the southern target for our Army Of Steel advance, goes down with eight casualties from Gifts Of Heaven friendly fire. Miscya, the northern target, goes down without any casualties.
And in Deep Forest, on the Gath/Midgard warfront, Gath sends a bunch of Minotaurs and Gittite Soldiers against a pack of Skinshifters.
I'm actually not sure how this will go. The Minotaurs, with Trample, may be able to clear out the skinshifters right quick. On the other hand, the Minotaurs are lightly armored and will be torn to pieces by a turn or two of Skinshifter attack.
The first round of Minotaur attacks kill a skinshifter or two, and transform several more into wolf form. The counterattack kills nearly half the Minotaurs, and the next turn of fighting finishes off the Minotaurs entirely. It doesn't get better from here. The Skinshifters prove to have trouble damaging the Gath soldiers, but the Gath soldiers prove to have trouble damaging the Skinshifters. And there's a lot more Skinshifters.
Backed up by lightning, the Skinshifter army quickly routs Gath, though not without casualties.
WHO HERE LOVES SIEGES
It's actually not going bad in Barra. Midgard simply has no forces there - after two turns, the defense is down by 33. At that rate it'll take about 20 turns for them to finish it off. Yes alright whatever.
Let's take a look at the Tartarian.
Well, it's not in the army garrison. This means we got crazy lucky: he's a commander. Goddamn.
Oh man, and it's a Cyclops too! These guys make excellent supercombatants. We are fucking set
Six afflictions. As a Cyclops, he only has one eye, which he's lost. He's both limping and crippled somehow. He has no magic, and he only has one arm.
Ladies and gentlemen: I bring you The Worst Tartarian.
He'll actually be awesome once we get some way to heal those Afflictions. Unfortunately, our Priestesses can't heal anything that's Undead or suffering from Old Age (this, if you're curious, is why we don't have a Priestess just sitting there taking care of our Sages.) There's only two ways to heal them - Gift of Health and The Chalice. The former requires 50 Nature gems that we can't really spare, the second is an artifact from Construction 8.
Which is, actually, our next major goal.
But still. Goddamn. Six afflictions. I was so excited.
It's even worse than it looks - the Tartarian will randomly decide to rampage and do something nasty. Anything from "destroy building" to "become prophet". We don't dare leave this guy in our capital, we'll have to move him out of the capital. So we'll just have some random awful Tartarian sitting around looking dumb.
Time to summon another one.
The one thing he does have going for him is a surprisingly high Map Move, so I move him to Halbathria, the little cul-de-sac with the Death generator that we mentioned so many turns ago. If he wants to fuck the place up, he's welcome to it.
There's my Tartarian Walk of Shame right there.
Let's go from the east to the west.
I'd like to retake Vlecz, partially for more territory, partially just for more buffer on my capital. I have absolutely no idea what their army is.
There's the scout report. That bears no resemblance whatsoever to the army that retook Vlecz originally, so either my scout is fucking up or he's moved units around. Both are quite possible. I decide to hit him with my attempt at an attack squad - I'm going to need that attack squad free to do anything useful, may as well see what I can manage.
In Arco, I grab eight Sibyls and send them west to Jome. At some point I'm going to go up against C'tis's chariots, and I want a nice hefty banishment communion ready when I do.
We summon another Tartarian, because that's just how we roll, and set up a pile of researching.
We're still scrambling for Nature gems, so no more clams for now.
West to Jome. Research and equipment forging. I grab all the accumulated Hoplites and head west to Barra. Agartha and Carnag are close enough that I won't have to leave for a turn, and the Mystics in Barra can hop over next turn also. Carnag has a further problem that I have no Commander there, so I break with my Sage tradition and recruit another Strategos.
Sermioc, on the other hand, I think I can just break out of. I rig up my half-dozen mystics on the back lines with combat spells, set the dozen-or-so Hoplites to hold and attack, and attempt to bust out of this thing. Fingers crossed.
I continue the siege on Azimar, and leave Boddern Weald to its own devices. I expect the occasional crappy attack from it, but I'm not convinced Azimar is defenseless yet. My army of 83 siege fodder units should be there in two turns.
And finally, T'ien Ch'i. My armies converge, with intent to crush. T'ien Ch'i's fortress has a total of 7 units inside - that should go down easily, once the walls collapse. Which won't take long - their fortress has 250 Defence, and a rough approximation gives me somewhere north of 150 siege power. Considering that I have two entire armies knocking on their door, I'm not expecting their military to put up much resistance, and they should collapse after the second turn.
The only thing that could go really wrong is that armada of mages off to the southeast. Now, I've got a nice armada of mages as well, but the magical fireworks could lead to some serious damage. Yes. I am still worried about those mages. Live with it.
I somewhat suspect they're building a fort, actually.
Recruiting is simple and shockingly inexpensive. I only have four working recruitable forts right now, so my normal expenditures are cut way, way down (this is actually a problem.) I'm still armoring my new provinces against PD incursions, but that leaves me with over 700 gold. After recruiting a whole pile of scouts, that's down to 534. I will find a use for this, just . . . possibly not today.
In terms of research, we're polishing off Alternation 6 and heading for Construction 8. I'd love to get my hands on some nice unique artifacts. I may have already lost my chance at The Chalice, as it's a damn powerful item and I'm getting there a bit late, but it's entirely possible that nobody in this newbie game has grabbed it yet.
more nature gems please
Next: The siege of T'ien Ch'i.