Part 59: Turn 51: The Global Enchantment Market Heats Up
. . . Huh.
I'm a bit hesitant to take this, partially because of C'tis asking us to flatten Gath. On the other hand, that level of complete dominance is pretty much flattening. On the gripping hand, this is Dominions - offers like this come with an implied qualifier of "until we get a better deal."
Ultimately, though, Gath's analysis is pretty much correct. They have half the research we do, less than half the land, a third the income, and a quarter the gem income. The Army Size graph shows a constant attrition of forces - admittedly, mine shows a few rather catastrophic failures as well. But they're just not doing all that hot, and I can probably crush them without much real effort if things go badly.
The only iffy bit would be if Gath is making that deal with two different civilizations, and at some point in the future I end up with Man/Ulm armies on my border, with Gath hitting in the northwest. That could be unfortunate.
As a side note, it's curious that he's mentioning Man and Pythium, but not Ulm. Man is certainly doing well, but Pythium is mere turns away from extermination, and it seems . . . difficult . . . to be unaware of Ulm.
Mother Oak is a rather nice global enchant that provides ten Nature gems per turn. I was planning on casting it literally this turn. Guess that ain't happening!
I might be able to shoot it down with Dispel, but to be honest I'm not really worried about Man getting those gems, and I don't want to get involved in a global-enchant war.
Additionally, this brings Man's gem income all the way up from "pitiful" to "terrible". It's just not all that worrying at the moment, and it wouldn't surprise me if forces nearer to Man were willing to contribute a lot more gems than I am.
Not surprisingly, T'ien Ch'i's capital is defended by a lot of PD. It's actually not much more than I've seen before, though. Meanwhile, I've got a bigger army than I've ever managed.
See all those arrows? They do one point of damage to a single Hoplite.
One enormous war communion later and most of the T'ien Ch'i forces are on fire, frozen to death, vaporized by meteors, running away, or some combination thereof. They don't even reach my front line before being obliterated.
I'm assuming that "1" is either a very lucky arrow strike or a spell.
We've seen this group before: this is the Azimar army, come to break out of their fort. Our defenders aren't terribly strong, but are easily strong enough to deal with this.
T'ien Ch'i's hero summons a horde of skeletons, which troop forward grimly, weathering an enormous storm of lightning bolts that devastate their forces. My troops have no trouble cutting through the weakened Undead, and slay nearly the entire enemy squad before a sole commander and troop flee.
Tenvir, Cythia, Feral Woods: skirmishes between C'tis and Midgard.
In Sermioc, our war party gets ready to break out. This should be easily enough troops to fight back the tiny forces we saw.
That's not the tiny forces we saw. Apparently T'ien Ch'i has moved reinforcements into place.
We manage to kill most of their infantry, but not enough of their infantry, and the inevitable skeleton tide holds our forces back until we rout.
We lose two mages in the ensuing scramble, which really isn't too bad. Still, we're going to have to be far more serious to actually break Sermioc out, and now they're taking actual siege damage . . . albeit at a rate that will take another 30 turns to break through the walls.
In Linshire, Midgard tries breaking the fort again, with, again, questionable results. They manage to kill off the last elephant but don't succeed in much more than that.
In Vlecz, our attack squad assaults the Midgard invaders. This might work against the force we saw.
Yeah, you saw that coming, didn't you?
Our forces are destroyed easily.
In Omicria, barbarians have decided to jump my Hoplite army. That's cool and all - we'll just Hoplite them to death. We do so. They die quickly. Fuck you, Barbarians.
. . . Fubarians.
C'tis finally manages to crack their western fort, and invades to reclaim it.
A tidal wave of skeletal chariots swarms through the front gate, slowed but not stopped by Gath's magical bombardment.
They're blocked by a pack of Gath demon knights, which drives them back and manages to hold them at the gate for a turn or two.
The demon knights quickly fall in battle, but not before defeating the first wave of chariots. Spine Devils, Fire Drakes, and Lions take up the position, slaying Militia as powerful fire spells arc overhead in both directions.
(actually that's sort of a lie, the spell being shown here is Fire Flies which sucks horribly. Run with it.)
The priest-mages of Gath continue obliterating C'tis's undead troops with Banish. The Bone Chariots fall rapidly, but Banish is ineffective against the armored lizard troops that form the backbone of C'tis's military might.
The battle reaches a stalemate - neither side can break through the gate, which is rapidly filling with corpses. The question becomes which side routs first.
Unfortunately for C'tis, routing is based on total hit point damage. Terrified by the loss of their chariots, the C'tis forces eventually break and flee, the remaining Demon Knights biting at their heels.
Gath holds the castle.
Meanwhile, in T'ien Ch'i territory . . .
Yeah I'm not going to write this one up. Gath wins. That's not even a mage, it's a feebleminded worthless mage. Plus an independent Commander. Ain't gonna happen.
SIEGING, FUCK YEAH
So, a few things of note here. We're ready to drop a whole pile of units on the sieged western T'ien Ch'i castle in Azimar, and we're also ready to lock its northern neighbor Boddern Weald down permanently. We're doing that to avoid them recruiting more units, and also to deprive them of money. And to give us money. All, as far as we're concerned, great things.
This turn, we need to accumulate forces ready to crack Barra back open. That won't be too bad - we'll have half the army in Cun Aral and half in Golem Range south and southwest of Barra, with a few mages stuck in Qennan northwest of Barra. In fact, we're ending up with 15 Mystics - another communion squad, along with enough Hoplites to provide screening for them.
It's mildly worrying that the failed C'tis attack squad is now distributed very close to my territory, but, honestly, if I have to kill them, it won't be all that hard - it's all City Guard and militia. The complete destruction of C'tis's Tomb Chariots makes my Sibyl movement look rather unnecessary. As they're at the midpoint between Arco and Jome we just have them continue on.
Over to the east, that's a big force of Midgard's threatening me. However, as big as it is, it includes absolutely no Astral and very few mages. We hit it with 4x Mind Hunts. With luck, we can split the army down the middle.
We've got some great Tartarian chassis already, but they're unsuitable for combat thanks to their afflictions. There's no real better solution: it's time to cast Gift of Health.
(Future Me: If Man hadn't snatched Mother Oak at the last second, I'd be casting that right now instead.)
Our Nature 3 Mystic, plus Thistle Mace, Moonvine Bracelet, and Ring of Sorcery becomes Nature 6. We really only need Nature 5, but the extra Nature power will be transformed into bonus gems to keep the global from being dispelled.
I'm going to hope that nobody will bother dispelling it. I don't think anyone else has Tartarians by now, and nobody besides Gath is fighting me directly. It's a risk, but we'll live with it. 8 extra gems - all the Nature we have - plus the extra 5 "gems" from the extra power level leaves us with a little bit of a margin, albeit not much of one.
Gift of Health has another effect besides affliction-removal. Any of our units within our Dominion will gain hit points. It's 10% per Dominion level, which adds up fast when our core territories are being invaded.
This leaves Mrs. Butterworth without anything to do. We can fix that! 3 Earth + Boots of Earth + Blood Stone gives us 5 Earth.
That lets us summon this dude. Or rather, these dudes. We'll get one of the two Kings randomly, assuming there's still one left. They're as good as the Tartarians are, though they don't give the kind of magical diversity that you get from dead gods.
Also, they don't randomly go insane and decide to blow up your temples.
I've actually got another Ring left, so I toss it on a Sibyl and use it for a fifth Mind Hunt at Vlecz.
The Worst Tartarian Ever is moved to a province with higher Dominion. Gift of Health's affliction-curing properties will be significantly stronger there.
For crafting, we make a pair of items intended for our King of Elemental Earth, as well as a Skullface. Skullface is an expensive head-mounted Death booster - 25 Death gems, though we of course use a hammer to bring it down to 18. That will free up one of my Rings for other casting and crafting.
Even after another pile of scouts, I'm left with 1000 gold. My lack of forts is hurting me significantly.
I'm still worried about that Midgard fort in the east, but I've done as much as I can. It's in the RNG's hands now.
Next: The result of spending about 150 gems in one turn.