Part 80: Turn 69: Mictlan's Retaliation
I'm actually really curious how they managed to escape with the Lord of Corruption. I mean, I wasn't certain I'd get him, but it's surprising that I didn't manage to even reach him with Mind Hunt. Maybe that was just bad luck.
(Future Me: Man, if only I'd known of the Eye of the Void back then.
As a side note, I'm not sure I've mentioned this before, but up until midway through posting this LP I thought Mind Hunt was an opposed 10 vs. the enemy Magic Resistance. As such, the best I think I can manage is 13 vs. the Lord's 18, which is plausible but difficult. It turns out I'm wrong - it got changed to 12 sometime after the printing of the manual, meaning I've actually got 15 vs. 18, which is moving up to the "yeah, that won't be too tough" stage.
With the Eye, I'd be at 17 vs. 18, which is "lol dead lord of corruption" level and would be easily one-shotting most mages. A good battery of Sibyls with Eyes, Rune Smashers, and Spell Foci, backed up by a few Priestesses chainhealing, would be a truly horrifying force against anyone without plenty of Astral protection.)
Our deep strike into Mictlan's back lines, near their capital, goes well. Our Sibyl happens to snipe the PD's commander with her first attack and so the PD routs instantly - not that there was any danger, but it's hilarious how fast it went.
In Fenatice, Embarr and Magoth get into a bit of a tiff.
Magoth can't really hurt Embarr, and Embarr keeps getting distracted by Magoth's imps. Eventually Embarr lands a few good hits on Magoth and that's the end of Magoth.
yes yes whatever
Now that third one is curious. Apparently it's a seduction ability of some kind, likely controlled by Mictlan. News to me. Unfortunately that happens to be the commander of the Slingers, who end up not sieging for a turn, so Silver Fangs isn't stormable this turn. Even though Philetor is awake again.
Now this is a battle.
Mictlan starts out with Magic Dueling and takes out a few of my mages. Annoyingly good rolls, too. Unfortunately, one of their slain commanders is my Power Of The Spheres/Warriors of Muspelheim commander, and I end up unable to cast Gifts from Heaven.
(Future Me: I really should have a backup Power of the Spheres commander. An extra Astral gem per battle is pretty much nothing compared to the pain caused by that spell not going off.)
The battle still goes better than I'd expect. My mages do their best to annihilate the Jaguar swarms, catching many of them on fire and clearing them out in huge bulk.
In fact, by the end of the battle, they're nearly all dead. "Nearly" being the important part - my forces start fleeing, as do theirs, but the battle is closer to my side of the battlefield. My Hoplites escape, my troops rout, and that's it.
But to be honest, I can accept these battle results. My deaths are all Hoplites, theirs are all far-more-expensive Jaguar Warriors. I lost a few more mages but I've got a lot of them flooding in still. If all my battle results look like this, I'm going to crush Mictlan.
In Ablach, my armies instarout Mictlan. Kinda confused by that - didn't they have province defense? Or a commander? What happened there?
Mictlan moves back into Fenatice, taking the now-undefended province with a small squad.
In Storn Woods, Mictlan tries to take their castle back from Ulm. Unfortunately they don't send quite enough forces and they get slowly cut down.
In Resting Heights . . .
. . . well.
Tartarians are good. They're really good, in fact. But this is a huge army, with a large number of troops and a Lord of Corruption. I wasn't expecting to hit their army here, or I wouldn't have moved here.
The battle takes longer than I expect, but Embaar just doesn't have the staying power for a fight like this. I've been setting them up as invincible against moderately-long battles, but this is a very long battle, and Embaar has no way to regain hit points.
Embaar is crushed under the weight of jaguars. Sayonara, Embaar.
We need to get our Tartarian factory going again, and ASAP. We're sitting on over a thousand gems that need to be pulling their weight.
Akesta: Ulm attacks Mictlan. This time Ulm is the one who didn't bring enough forces.
Deep Forest: Gath finally nukes those Midgard birds.
The Great Feral: Man kills off their barbarian problem with a huge swarm of wolves. Seriously, what's up with the wolves, Man?
Wolves don't really do much damage, but Barbarians don't really have high morale. It's a competition between suck and suck, and the Barbarians rout before too many Wolves die.
Deep Blue: My Shambler army takes on some Atlantis PD.
Along with a number of gems, of course.
And Man takes another shot at that monolith.
The mages organize themselves into a communion, cast Mass Flight and Weapons of Sharpness. The monolith buffs itself as usual, then starts spamming Fists of Iron and Earth Meld while the communion attempts to paralyze the monolith.
Paralyze . . . the monolith?
Yeah I'm a little skeptical about this strategy myself.
The mages are apparently scripted to retreat for some reason, which they do. The monolith starts at 560 hit points, the battle plays out approximately as it did before, and when Jomon retreats, it's only down to 423. Atlantis defends again.
I really don't know what that battle was for. Man knows the monolith exists. It's certainly not, you know, going anywhere. I thought he must have some fancy trick up his sleeve, but nope, apparently his strategy was "try again with fewer troops".
Blue Waters, Atlantis's aquatic fort in the northwest, turns out to have a shockingly low number of supplies. Sieging that thing is going to be a bitch. I move the army west so I can load a few winebags in, moving the Deep Blue attack squad to the fort to maintain the siege.
You know what? Fuck it. Man can't even blow up a rock. Let's get the party started Arco style.
It will target one of the global enchantments at random and try to overwhelm it. Since we've got nearly 200 extra gems in, I don't expect a problem here. Next turn we'll start putting more big globals up. We need that magic firepower - we can probably beat Mictlan even without it, but it'll be far more painful than necessary.
Down in the southeast corner, Phyleides moves northwest, bordering Mictlan. She has defensive powers that Embaar didn't and should have better luck against those jaguar warriors. The Sibyl builds her defensive lab, and I jump my army in via Gate Stone to start grabbing the southern regions.
2 turns until our first new castles are done.
Now that the entire army in The Mirks has vacated, I just have Barathrus stomp straight in and take the place out. We're going to be turning it over to Ulm immediately, we're not even bothering to siege it - but we are grabbing any Mictlan territories that we can. I'd like to teach Mictlan that redirecting forces from one battlefront to another results in the first one collapsing rapidly.
I'm a bit uncertain what to do about that army that's moving down.
We've got two turns before it can attack, but I can't stop it from attacking. I'm also not quite sure I can beat it. I think I'm going to vacate the area entirely. He thinks he can take my forces out, and he's probably right, so I'm just not going to be there. I was so hoping to claim Silver Fangs, but I just don't think it's going to happen now.
Doubly-unfortunately, I'm probably going to have to leave some Slingers behind.
Man, read that sentence again. What the fuck. I care about Slingers. Something is wrong.
Anyway. I've only got a few commanders available. The only commanders in the area that have significant troop capacity are my Tartarians and the troop commanders in Ablach, southeast of the fort wall. The Ablach commanders would take too long to get there, while the Tartarians are far too valuable to burn a turn moving some Slingers out of the way.
Nevertheless, we're going to do our best. I load as many slingers onto the Priestess in Silver Fangs as I can, then I send some of the Vician Forest troops up north to join her. That should re-crack that fort easily. I'll move everyone else out the turn after that, except for one or two units set to siege. If Mictlan attacks, I'll lose, but it's worth a shot.
Polypoites is stuck in Vician Forest muttering. I do hope he wakes up next turn, I need to evac him.
Now, it might seem like I should move my invading army in Ablach back towards my lands and retreat. That's the exact opposite of what I plan to do: that army can cause a lot of devastation until Mictlan manages to catch it, and every turn Mictlan is moving forces around chasing me is a turn he's not fighting me. The army heads south, aiming to grab another province.
The force in Stone Grave Mountains is rather sadly damaged. I retreat to Robber Home with it, waiting for reinforcements.
The communion preparing in Vlecz is . . .
. . . well. Large. Let's go with large.
I finish rigging it up, with a truly horrifying amount of magical power, and give it the order to attack Silvania. Finally, we're ready. When I click, the game locks up for about a second and a half to process all the movement commands.
To be honest I'm not satisfied with it. The problem is that that many mages in one place is really dangerous. There are many ways to kill off a communion like that. I don't think Mictlan has any of them available right now, but my first priority next turn is going to be splitting that damn thing up into some smaller fast-attack squads.
Now that I have a Queen of Elemental Air, I have absolutely no idea what to do with her. I just leave her in Arco researching. I'll figure something out eventually.
I've got Mictlan heavily, heavily scouted. Now, Mictlan is a blood nation, and that means they rely on Blood Hunting to fuel their blood slave income. That means there's probably a few provinces with blood casters in them and not a lot else. I manage to find what I suspect are three of these by browsing through my scout list for single enemy commanders. I target those provinces for Mind Hunt. If I can lock down their blood income, I can seriously cripple their long-term power.
Then my computer bluescreens and I get to do the entire turn over again. So, uh, if things are slightly different than expected, that's why. You have no idea how much I must love you guys to be bothering with this. That communion? You'll probably see how big it is next turn. I had to set orders and change the starting location of almost every single mage in it. Twice.
We're basically making a bid for victory now. If Mictlan and Man are smart, they'll join forces the second that Arcane Nexus goes up. I honestly don't think it will help, but that's what they should do.
Next: Guerilla warfare and worldshattering sorcery.