Part 75: Turn 65: Investing In The Future
We have received a magic The Chalice from Gath.
Good grammar guys.
Over in Cacevic Highlands, the province we just freed from Barbarians, we find some air gems.
I haven't seen that "herd of swine" event before.
C'tis's isolated southwest army tries to attack Dershid, and gets beaten. They retreat to Forest of Gun, run straight into my army, and get beaten again.
We find a magic site in the province and a worthless magic item from the army.
Actually, that's not worthless at all - that'll let me do some interesting things with using commanders and Gate Stones to shuttle unequipped Tartarians around. Hmmmm. Interesting.
While Tartarians are certainly extremely cheap and powerful with Gift of Reason and a full complement of gear, there's some Tartarian chassis that remain notable even without the Commander status. Monstrums are probably the most interesting ones - unequipped, they still have a respectable 310 HP, some good attack power, and the ability to fly. They're not going to take down an army solo, but set to Attack Rear, they could certainly leave an enemy's mages in disarray for several crucial turns while the enemy army gets slaughtered.
We get lucky in Cythia - C'tis hadn't bothered to make PD, so we just take it with a scout.
Silver Fangs: Philetor wrecks some PD and begins sieging the castle.
Back in The Mirks, AI Jomon is sieging AI Ulm's castle. He's also doing so very badly and getting easily crushed.
Hynaphe, at the north edge of Jomon: A small force of Jomon's Celestial Soldiers stampedes a small force of Ulm's independent crossbowmen and a single extremely dead Ulmish mage.
Uliathum: Man's Bane Lord thug beats the shit out of a bunch of PD, taking no damage. We'll have to be a little careful about that Bane Lord, he can probably do nasty things to small armies. Our Tartarians should have no trouble with him, however.
Last time I said that, I lost a Tartarian.
In Ocean of Plenty, my Queen of Elemental Water gets assaulted by a pile of underwater nightmares.
I haven't really gone over these guys before since it was them versus Shamblers, and, well, that's not a real exciting matchup. But let's look at 'em now.
"Sea trolls are known to regenerate wounds and they can enter the sea." No, really? Thank you for telling us this.
Big beefy dude, not particularly interesting otherwise.
Another big beefy fucker. The Queen is immune to poison, so she should be fine, right?
I have no idea what "Death Poison" means. It might be poison damage, it might not. The world of Dominions 3 is sometimes mysterious indeed.
Reasonable everything. The important part: Weapons: Tentacle, Tentacle, Tentacle, Tentacle. This dude is an attack-spamming machine and ends up effectively having AoE capabilities.
And finally, this scary dude. Lucky for us, while the Monster Fish is a terrifying Size 6, our Queen of Elemental Water is likewise Size 6. Note, though, that Swallow is an AoE attack, and the fish has strength 25. That's 50 damage against an entire square, if the targets are smaller than the fish is. Ouch.
On the other hand, the highest attack skill you're looking at here is 16, and the Queen is sitting on a defence of 35.
Now, Defence isn't a perfect stat. There's one big problem with it - every attack you weather reduces your defence by 2 for the rest of the round. If you get ganged up by a bunch of Size 1 creatures - that's six per square - then even a truly otherworldly defence of 96 would be whittled down to zero by the time they'd all attacked.
And that Kraken can strip off 8 defense just on its own.
On the other hand, Lucky, and Protection 18, and a huge amount of regeneration.
Thankfully, the Paralyze spam doesn't catch - that might actually have been a problem.
And the Queen starts ripping apart a Monster Fish (an Ethereal one at that.) With 128 hit points that will take a bit, but it's taking huge damage from her Fire Brand.
Thalassa takes about 20 damage from a lucky triton hit, but that heals almost immediately. The first Monster Fish is slain, Thalassa takes a break to smash a square of tritons, then starts working on the second Monster Fish.
The Kraken finally arrives just as the second Monster Fish flees.
It doesn't last long.
The Tritons flee at this point. Thalassa oneshots the Serpent and the army routs. Thalassa kills the Sea Troll before it can escape, then takes care of an ethereal Earth Elemental that got summoned a while back. By the time it's dead, the rest of the army has escaped safely, but note that "the rest of the army" means "a dozen tritons, a badly wounded Monster Fish, and a few mages."
Suffice to say I'm happy with this.
We take Lettia successfully.
And in Atlantis, Man casts Mass Flight while its archers pepper the defending forces. Its huge army leaps the walls and assaults Atlantis's small defense force from every direction.
You'll note I didn't imply they win easily.
Atlantis has these beasts. Now, yes, you're used to looking at supercombatants, but remember that Man's force isn't made up of supercombatants.
Man is fielding a bunch of moderately-trained schmucks with swords.
Let's do some math here: the Defenders do, on average, 6+11=17 damage. The Living Statues absorb 20 damage from every attack. The Defenders have an attack skill of 12, the Statues a defence skill of 14. The Defenders have substantial Encumberance, meaning that every attack tires them and makes them less effective. The statues have zero Encumberance.
Just punching through the raw protection of the Living Statues quickly proves difficult. The Defenders swing wildly and do some damage, but they don't really do as much as they'd hope. The Stone Statues' counterattack does little as well, but Man's barrage of arrows actually hurts Man's forces more than it hurts the statues.
It takes forfuckingever for them to finish off the Statues. In the meantime, the archers have actually ran out of ammunition, and run in to join the fray in melee with their shortswords.
There are still three statues intact.
Finally they finish off the statues. All that's left is
So, first off, it's got 560 hit points.
Second, 40 protection.
Third, it's both Ethereal and Lucky. And Man's forces have no magical equipment. That means a 1/8 chance of an attack hitting it, after which it still has to punch through that 40 protection.
It could be taken down easily with Soul Slay, except that it's got an MR of 22. Spells might work, but it's resistant to both fire and cold, and totally immune to poison, although vulnerable to lightning. Not that Man has any Air magic.
Amusingly, it's blind, which reduces its Attack, Defense, and Precision. Still, it manages to cast the occasional spell, knocking itself into "unconsciousness" in the process, but quickly coming back.
Is that army getting smaller? And looking more . . . undead?
Yes, actually. A combination of the Monolith's occasional attacks and Atlantis's defensive emplacements are slowly killing off Man's forces via gradual attrition. Man is reinforcing them with Raise Dead spam, but that won't help the inevitable and approaching morale rout. The only question is whether the monolith will die first, but it's been dozens of rounds and it's still well above half health.
Man's armies rout. As they still have Flying, they just vanish from the battlefield instantly.
If stone could look smug, this monolith would look smug.
Congratulations, Man. Your army just lost against a rock.
The worst part: Man sieged with their entire force. When they were driven off, they all retreated . . . which means they get to start the siege over again.
Now, admittedly, they get to start it over again versus the absolutely negligible forces that Atlantis will have. It will go fast. But they don't have all that many surviving units anymore - my scouts show 50 units adjacent, and I think that might be the reinforcement army. I suspect they have less than 100 total. That means three turns to siege, and another turn to storm the castle, and hopefully they'll manage to actually kill the monolith this turn.
Before I go on, though, let's talk about my future plans.
This is off Atlantis's monolith. As expected, the monolith is maintaining both Atlantian global enchantments.
Here's our current gem count. As noticed, we have a shitload of gems.
What we're going to do is wait until Atlantis's monolith dies. That will free up two global slots. Then we're going to cast Arcane Nexus.
Arcane Nexus is a game-ender. If someone casts it, you have a very limited period of time to tear it down before that player effectively wins.
I'm going to be pumping every Astral gem I have into it. They won't be tearing it down easily.
After I cast Arcane Nexus, I'm going to cast Maelstrom.
Again, I'm going to pump every Water gem I have into it. Keep in mind that Arcane Nexus will take half of those gems, convert them into Astral gems at a 2:1 ratio, and refund them to me.
Well of Misery next. Again: every death gem. Again: massive refund.
And finally, reclaim Gift of Health. Every Nature gem, massive refund.
At the end of all this I'll have four global enchants, with a good hundred extra gems plowed into each. I'll be sitting on easily two hundred Astral gems at a minimum, with more flooding in all the time. I'll chaincast Wish for an ultra-powerful unit called a Chayot, and Wish for Gems, and basically just do my best to spend everything that I can as it comes in.
It's a risky plan, in the sense that when I start it, I'm effectively claiming victory and everyone will move against me. On the other hand, it will be a pretty strong claim for victory.
Now we just wait for Man to take down Atlantis's monolith.
Let's grab some more land while we can.
Barathrus has put up his lab, so I toss his black steel in the lab and grab a set of elemental armor. He moves north to attack the mages. I'll admit to being a little worried about this - mages can pull out some surprising tricks - but Jomon's research is near-zero and they should be able to do nothing against me, especially with my new elemental resistance.
Phyleides, meanwhile, has stopped Reanimating and is ready to actually fight something. I leave her Ghouls behind - they're nothing more than a morale hit once they die - and send her north to the territory Jomon just claimed from Ulm. It's possible Man will attack the same province simultaneously, but if they do, well, yoink.
I hand Shambler Skin Armor to a scout in Barathrus's province, then send him westward. There's a small inland lake owned by Jomon that I'd like to claim.
Philetor, sieging Silver Fangs, moves northwest to grab a little isolated Jomon province in the hills (it will take him a turn to get there, then another turn to actually fight them.) Polypoites, lurking in Lettia, moves to take his place on the same turn. Embaar has decided to "Mutter" so he's just going to stay there I guess. My siegebreaker swarm in Lettia moves eastward to head for Silver Fangs, although I send the priestesses ahead a turn so they can start healing the inevitable diseases that we'll have from starvation.
Maybe I need more winebags.
I have a fucking huge army in Robber Home. I might be intimidating Mictlan a bit. In fact, I probably am - their Arch Devil is hanging out east of Robber Home, along with fifty Jaguar Warriors. I just leave them there, though. If they attack, I'll counterattack, and we'll see what happens. I don't think they'll try to attack me, they're probably just trying to keep me from attacking.
My small army in Linshire moves to squash a C'tis province. My small army in Dothian moves to squash another C'tis province. C'tis has literally three provinces right now, and one of them is under siege - if I take both of mine, then Gath will nicely exterminate C'tis when he takes the capital.
I feel sort of weird about this since, as mentioned, C'tis gave me stuff in the assumption that I'd destroy Gath, and now here I am helping Gath destroy C'tis. I'm taking "surrender" as equivalent to "destruction", though. I dunno. Maybe C'tis's player will be angry with me when he sees this. Hey C'tis, do I need to apologize to you?
The Dothian attack is a bit worrying - I've got fifteen Hoplites under a Priestess, and Gath has some Horse Tribe Cavalry and Ghouls. A few bad rolls could actually make me lose.
Let's even the odds, and by even the odds, I mean Mind Hunt. Three should help things quite a bit. Zappo.
I hand the Chalice to a random commander in Arco. He'll heal up my Tartarians nice and fast.
The Gate Stone is used for moving 66 Hoplites from Barra to Arco.
Thalassa moves northeast, cutting off an Atlantian water province in the northwest corner of the map. I shift a squad of Shamblers southeast - that province is nearly undefended ("2 hostile units") and I know it doesn't include the Monster Fish, since he's hiding in Atlantis's fort in Blue Waters.
No, that's not the same province as the one near my capital. The one near my capital is Blue Water. See? There's only one water there. Atlantis has multiple waters.
God that's a lot of scouts.
The war party moves on!
Next: Sieging Atlantis, take 2 (bring popcorn)