Part 66: Turn 57: No, Really, Knock It Off
First five entries: same ol' same ol'. We'll look at the Queen a bit later.
Seriously, what is it with these earthquakes? The temples are cheap to build, so it's not like this is a sigificant problem. It's just annoying.
T'ien Ch'i: suicidal Ancestor Smith.
The Mirks: cataclysmic battle.
Ulm has one of their thug Bane Lords. Jomon has . . . well, a lot of low-researched summoned stuff. We already saw what a Bane Lord did, and I'm not at all convinced that Jomon has the ability to fight it off, nor the sheer troop firepower to break Ulm's heavily armored infantry.
The battle rapidly breaks into two groups. The northern group consists of Jomon's summons, assaulted by Ulm's heavy infantry. The southern group consists of Jomon's flying samurai, mostly under siege by the Bane Lord.
Jomon's cheap ranged attack spells contribute approximately nothing. The only potentially dangerous spells are the large red zones, which is a casting of Rust Mist. Any unit that walks through those zones gains Rusty Armor. If they then get hit by a heavy melee attack, their armor will shatter and their protection will drop cataclysmically.
This is great except that Jomon isn't doing well on the "actually hit them" part of things, and Jomon's ranged attacks don't count.
Hey, did you know that the Rust Mist effect is coded badly enough that it causes a huge framerate reduction? Did you know that a sufficiently bad framerate causes the battle to go more slowly?
I swear I've been watching this for five minutes now. The forces mostly can't hurt each other, but Ulm has the advantage, as near as I can tell.
Shortly after I take that screenshot, Jomon is routed. The Bane Lord has still taken no damage. Jomon loses another half-dozen Cave Drakes to Paralyze.
Gipha is one of T'ien Ch'i's few remaining provinces. Our army flattens it in its customary fashion.
Midgard sends another terrible attack squad at Troll Peaks and loses. I'm really amazed we've kept that province for this long, we only captured it because it was free. I've put no effort into defending it besides a little PD.
C'tis and Gath skirmish.
Vician Forest is interesting, not because of the battle, but because of a unit involved.
Here's a Midgard thug. You may recognize some of the gear - the fire brand and awe shield, specifically. He's also geared with a Shroud (turns your unit Sacred and gives it a permanent bless), Boots of the Messenger (reinvigoration, which we haven't bothered with since none of our supercombatants take fatigue normally), Ring of Regeneration, and this:
which summons imps constantly during battle.
The Arch Devil does large amounts of fire damage, is immune to fire, but vulnerable to cold. Most of my SCs have been given Fire Brands, but maybe I should be tossing a few Frost Brands in.
Kumlakh has an interesting battle technique.
First, he burns one of his Death gems to cast a buff called Soul Vortex. Soul Vortex is an AoE drain centered around Kumlakh. Any creatures near him will have their life sucked out of them, and that power used to rejuvenate Kumlakh himself.
Then he casts Ironskin, boosting his Protection from 24 to 30.
At the end of this he's got 66 Fatigue, leaving him somewhat vulnerable to critical hits. Luckily, that won't last. He wades into battle, and within a few turns, he's back down to zero Fatigue thanks to his aura.
And once he's done with the battle - which doesn't take long - he's got 11 Death gems. I like this weapon.
(Future Me: It's been pointed out - and correctly so - that there's better uses of the Sickle. As neat as this combination is, the Sickle is a powerful artifact for increasing your Death gem income, and I'm kind of wasting that in favor of cute trickery with a Supercombatant. I honestly feel like this is a shame. If the Sickle were less powerful - say, one or two death gems per battle - this would be a damn neat trick. But it's valuable enough that the trick isn't really worthwhile.)
We capture Chilad from Midgard without effort. We are rewarded with tasty rocks.
Sermioc and Linshire are attacked by small, but effective, groups of AI units. Vlecz is attacked by a small but ineffective group. The unfortunate part about Vlecz is that I had my hero in that province, set to Retreat so he wouldn't die, and now he's a province further back than I'd really wanted.
Midgard vs Mictlan, in Midgard's capital. Mictlan wins, but loses some units in the process. The war here will depend on Midgard's defensive mages - if they've got enough, they may be able to fend off Mictlan.
Everywhere else, though, Mictlan has no trouble obliterating Midgard. Their Jaguar Warriors are vicious.
Come on, you can't even bring enough forces to do damage?
And finally: knock that off, dude.
Not only do we lose population, but this gains us a stunning amount of unrest - we'll be spending almost three entire turns working it off.
Standard clockwise rotation.
My Yldmyre army just keeps on sieging. That's what they do. They siege. I don't dare move them.
South of that, things are a bit more interesting. Kumlakh is moving into C'tis territory, and curiously, he's found a lab (as well as a whole pile of bugged Supply sites. Seriously, what the fuck.) This let me dump his extra death gems into my treasury.
What isn't clear is whether I should have him go south to break the Midgard siege, or have him go east to hit C'tis. I decide on south: that will clean out the last vestiges of Midgard in this area and let me focus him entirely on C'tis.
Barathrus, sieging a Midgard castle, moves northeast to destroy some Ronin. The ground army moves back into place to return to sieging. There must be almost nothing in that castle - it says I successfully reduced the defense, and Barathrus himself has a siege power of approximately ten. My infantry should have no trouble knocking the walls down and feasting on the tasty tasty goodness inside.
Speaking of which, my slinger army and my hero move northeast to assist with the siege.
Here's the Titan I Gift of Reasoned last turn. She's shown up with Fire and Air magic. Now, Fire isn't all that exceptional, but Air is fantastic for several reasons. I rig up her up with Frost damage - she'll be sent up against Mictlan the instant we need someone to go up against Mictlan.
And then I teleport her over to that annoying isolated T'ien Ch'i province.
As we saw earlier, Air comes with a spell called Cloud Trapeze. As long as she's in a province with a Lab we can teleport her wherever she needs to go. I've been trying to figure out a good solution to that province in T'ien Ch'i that doesn't involve trooping my army around for half a dozen turns, and this sounds like a good solution indeed - the turn after this, she can run to the T'ien Ch'i lab, and after that we can drop her wherever she needs to go. I'd rather spend two Tartarian turns than six communion turns any day.
The other Titan we have in this province is directed to the same spot where the Worst Tartarian Ever is hanging out. He's built a lab there, so we can equip on-the-fly and research, and it's not as bad for pillaging as our capital is. I'm not really concerned about keeping my Tartarian army under wraps anymore.
Over in Qennan, my small communion war party moves to break Sermioc out (again). I forgot to give them spare Astral gems, so we'll be grabbing those in Sermioc, then moving to hold Black Alps and maybe eventually capture it. Capturing it would be cool. I would appreciate capturing it.
Boddern Weald is falling, so we storm it. I don't expect this to be a problem.
My huge army in Gipha moves east, to finally assault T'ien Ch'i's enormous mage blob. We move all the mages from T'ien Ch'i itself to join it. This might be a dangerous battle and we want all the firepower we can get.
Finally, we have a Queen of the Sea. Similar to the Kings of Elemental Earth, the Queens of Elemental Water are chosen randomly from a set of three. This is unfortunately not the one who is able to travel on land, but, hey, I can live with it. Equipped like this, she's immune to all elements besides Lightning, she is of course Lucky, she regenerates a stunning 46 hit points every turn, and she has limited - but effective - Fear.
She's sent to the only province adjacent to this one. Simultaneously, I move the army out of the water. She'll catch any incoming attacks, and I don't expect anything the AI can field will be able to beat her.
My mage isn't quite done. He returns his gear to the lab, but then casts Voice of Tiamat. I mentioned this one a while back - it's the giant sitesearch spell for underwater provinces. We still haven't finished searching Blue Water, so let's get that done.
We're one turn away from Alteration 9 and Wish. Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to cast Wish, merely look upon it longingly. Wish is a painful, painful spell to cast, requiring Astral 9. We don't have that, and we'll have a hell of a lot of trouble getting it. With both rings, a Skullcap, and a Crystal Coin, Mrs. Butterworth is up to 7. We do have a Sibyl with an extra level in Astral . . . but she can only wear two misc. slot items, which means I'd need to toss a ring, giving her an identical 7.
The Tome of High Power will bring me up another level. This isn't without cost - the Tome has a 5% chance of horror marking, and remember, horror marks are permanent. This is solvable . . . sort of. If I keep two Astral gems on Mrs. Butterworth at all time, and script her to cast Returning, she'll teleport home if she gets attacked. It's a little dangerous, but it's probably the best choice. (It's useless on my Sibyl, as it's another misc. slot item.)
The Dimensional Rod is another powerful artifact that would boost my Astral by another level. It, however, is completely unacceptable - it's got a terrifying 20% chance of horror mark, it slowly makes the unit insane, and it can never be removed. Fantastic for a disposable ultrapowerful supercombatant. Not so great for my Pretender God.
All this put together gives us 8. There's no alterative: we'll have to Empower.
Any unit can have a magic path increased arbitrarily, given sufficient - and large - numbers of magical gems. Bringing Mrs. Butterworth up a level will cost 60 Astral gems. Ouch.
But that's what we need to do, so that's what we do.
We forge what we still need for another set of Tartarian gear. Mrs. Butterworth is occupied Empowering, so we're not going to summon another Tartarian - or, indeed, much of anything, as our gem reserve is getting a bit low. We've been burning through it nearly as fast as possible. We do forge another pair of Clams, which we've been sadly slacking on - the Nature gems they use are very valuable to us, but one way or another we need those Astral gems badly.
Current goals: finish off T'ien Ch'i, finish off C'tis, finish off Midgard. Then, maybe Mictlan?
Next: More supercombatant spam.