Part 27: Turn 20Turn 20
Our first act of aggression against the rocks begins! We sweep into the south-most province of the rocks, that their god was occupying last turn. Not sure which province he was going to move to bu-
WAIT the god stayed put? With just like 5 troops, plus province defense, against a force of 60+ clowns? I'll take it. They must have not seen the candle province getting taken, and been site searching or something. As before, the clowns buff up and surge forward although this time I had the foresight to place a squad of bodyguards right at the back.
Burning Man buffs a bit himself including with flight and jumps to our backlines - perfectly running into the bodyguard squad.
Looking at his stats however he's actually not that much better than a single giant clown! More HP and protection sure, but less strength, same attack rating, and less defence rating. How embarrassing.
He does actually manage to kill 2 giant clowns before the others return from pasting the meager rock troops and, well, it doesn't look good for him.
A few seconds later Burning Man has had enough and flies off, ending the battle. Commanders with flying retreat pretty easily so it can be quite hard to actually kill them. Before he fled though we inflicted a chest wound and took out both his eyes. If this was vanilla that pretender would be out of the game but with the Pretenders Enhanced mod it gets recuperation (and the temporary gems you may have seen earlier) for free and so after a few turns will be good as new. Those few turns might be all we need though!
A victory for the good guys! We go directly onto Karanaac's cap this turn, I can taste the +6 pearl income already! Rocks have exactly one turn to prevent me from sitting on their cap forever so I'm expecting a pretty big attack next turn. If they have the gems they'll fire off a world shard, which earthquakes (with half AOE) every turn. The larger bless is one of the best tools against that though because it's in play turn 1 and boosts my mages up to ~25 hp each putting them mostly out of the danger range of a single pre-buff earthquake. You can see also in the far west that, firstly, Karanaac has built a fort on a border with an enemy - absolutely not what you want to do. It's much more preferable to put them in a really safe place like, say, an island nobody else can get to. Secondly Mantises are not pressuring them at all despite implying in chat that they were. If I hadn't been here to save the day it looks a lot like Karanaac would have been able to fight off U and get established properly thus probably dooming the game to a slow death by rocks.
What's this other battle? We were attacked by wraiths? If the rocks have convinced them to backstab me this could spell trouble. I reach out and they say that this was an accidental click and they'll move off and let me take it back. Hmm, where have I heard this before?
I move a small force up to retake it, assuming they're being honest, and I won't move any large force back until I know for sure that they're attacking. Plus as I've said before clowns are much better at fighting defensive wars in their hot and chaotic dominion instead of in the cold and death-ful wraith one.
We do at least get to see the incarnate part of the wraith bless and it was undead regen after all. I don't think this is a great choice since wraiths don't generally have massive amount of sacred troops or even high HP commanders but they probably wanted a high death pretender and it's not the worst.
Speaking of potential backstabs there's a mantis pretender hanging out in the caves. Hopefully they're there to take the throne or some cave provinces from Fenno instead of trying to make trouble for me and protect the rocks.
For the third potential backstab of the turn, Fennoscandia's troops have rushed off to protect the cap leaving behind just 2 mages who presumably are building stuff. That fort will not go up.
Fenno have a large force of (presumably) mercenaries and trolls who are probably going to try and bust the cap siege this turn. I don't know how long they've got since Anglia's artillery gets large amounts of siege strength but the cave force would probably not have had time to get back yet. If they lose this fight and their cap gets taken then they're just dead, and I'm charging in for scraps.
Our events are great this turn, 600 gold and 20 gems! Forget my previous complaining I love luck scales. This is going to be spend on finally, after 20 turns, starting to produce some lizard shamans and break into nature magic. I move a clown mage up to build a lab next turn. With the gems I arrange to buy a Smasher, an anti-rock melee weapon, from the ants. We might not need it for the big siege but it'll let lone thugs clean up the rocks much more easily without needing a few thousand gold worth of giant clown troops with them.
We also hit conjuration 3 this turn and so script some elemental summons on the mages moving to Karanaac. Next we queue enchantment 2 for, uh, I forget. Flight maybe for clown thugs that we don't have the other stuff for? Seems doubtful.
The last of the circus animals that we'll never see in game are lions. Two decently strong attacks and 13 attack skill makes them generally better than human troops especially if there were buffed with a Slapstick routine. I'm not entirely sure what lions performing slapstick comedy looks like but it certainly knocks 'em dead.