Part 31: Turn 24Turn 24
Let's get straight to it, we were storming Karanaac's cap! Our brave clowns line up, ready to defeat the rocky menace. I'm not nearly as worried about this after seeing Karanaac's last fuck-you attack against U last turn, presumably all they have this turn is whatever couldn't teleport out and 1 turn of recruitment.
Speaking of, this is what we've got. The god, 3 research rocks that do nothing, 1 priest rock that does basically nothing, 4 troop rocks that are only slaves, one super priest statue(???) and the god.
The Telestic Animate statue is interesting because it's not specific to Karanaac, it's a normal summon. I have no idea why you would ever waste pearls on an immobile H2 like this when you're not fighting undead. It's thematic with the rest of Karanaac's stuff I suppose even if it is branching out into wood instead of rock.
Finally there's the fort defenders themselves. One actual mage rock then a few sacred slave rocks. I'm calling it now that mage rock, fortified right on the end of the palisades, is going to be real annoying to kill.
It starts as you'd expect with the clowns running forward, the rocks not moving, and the god has somehow lost his script or been just set to attack without casting? Odd. He just runs forward too, perhaps to try and block the gate? Perhaps to prevent him from running away? His leg has healed anyway.
The clowns beat him to the gate despite that and small clowns swiftly form a surround while large clowns run to the back of the battlefield.
Recall that against size 5 targets like this god, 2 small clowns actually do more damage than 1 large one and with all those numbers slamming into him, Burning Man the pretender doesn't last very long at all.
Meanwhile the large clowns on attack-rear slam into the backlines and skillfully destroy all the defenseless rocks there.
This leaves only one last rock however they could be a real problem. They're only accessible by one clown at a time, and they're buffed up with astral shield to try and paralyse attackers. If the paralysis managed to last 100 turns (with the clown constantly getting re-paralysed when trying to attack), which is entirely possible, then my forces would run off and be repelled. It wouldn't matter that I'd killed every rock except one, and that rock was trying to flee, all the fort defenders would come back next time too. The fact that rocks have no legs to run away with is honestly one of their best traits.
What's even worse is that the clown in question is cursed, so more likely to fail paralysis rolls, and has a few afflictions including arm-loss to reduce their damage output further. Despite what the sprites look like, the rock is size 6 and our brave boys are only size 5. I am really quite worried now, this is typical rock bullshit. I won many fights when I was playing Karanaac using strategies like this.
Nearby clowns throw all their pies which helps, and the nearby mages cast some evocations but it's just not enough and the pies are swiftly exhausted.
However I have one last trick up my sleeve, the portion of my bless that hasn't come up yet: the magic resistance. This was specifically taken with astral shield in mind and reduces the paralysis by about 30% which is just enough for the crippled, one-armed clown to finish off the rock. Victory!
Karanaac's cap is a real weird one, it has three different sites. Some mods clean up after themselves by having their sites vanish, or by having other nations not able to use the recruitment part of cap sites. Karanaac, does not. This is mostly because they can summon the marverni sites anywhere not just in their cap. Incidentally clowns also can summon a recruitment site later on and it vanishes when enemies take the province.
Anyway the first site is a real good one. Six pearls is an incredible amount, ritual range is nice I guess, and +3 HP on all blessed units is totally unheard of for a cap site. I hadn't realised that I got the HP it's a great prize. Imagine if U got this and their 3 HP blessed feet suddenly doubled in health!
The next two, not so much. Minus 70 gold per turn and more order which is detrimental to clowns trying to fight here. Being able to recruit a bunch of Marverni mages would be extremely good EXCEPT that in order to prevent every single person on the map from beelining for Karanaac's cap instantly you can only recruit them with a priest rock (Dolmen) in the province, and those are only recruitable by Karanaac. Unless you get really lucky with an Enslave Mind cast when you take the cap, or you wish for one, I don't see a way to unlock the recruitment.
What's even worse is that because of this mechanism the units still appear in the recruitment screen in addition to the clown ones so it looks like this. We can actually recruit the non-sacred commanders/troops without the priest rock but there's absolutely no reason why we would ever do this.
In other news then we also get a sneak preview of Chasos trying to take Eljudnir's cap. I know I haven't done Chasos's nation preview yet but we haven't really interacted with them. This screenshot is not blurry, they're basically all glamoured. Chasos are basically the hidden survivors of an apocalypse so they get events reducing all their population a bunch, but in return get commanders and illusion troops spawning very easily.
Up against them are a large amount of undead, mostly the melee troops we've already seen. The black clouds on the battlefield are from an undead commander, and lower morale of non-undead.
The most noteworthy part of Chasos's forces are a whole bunch of their sacred illusions which we can see their bless of 15 shock resistance, twist fate, and strength +4 on. Seriously how many people have taken strength this game? Since they only have 3 hp, and have glamour which stops working once they take a hit, twist fate is great. Their weapon is MR negates however which can be annoying.
We also see their main commander the Herald of Truth. Starting as H3 and in a communion in this battle his job is to spend the entire thing smiting undead as a H5.
Sadly it's not enough. There's a huge amount of undead and between the reanimation and horde of skeletons their numbers only grow. Anyway I'm all for the undead being killed, and heavy losses to do so are preferable to me too.
There's one more battle this turn though, and it's not one I wanted to see.
The mantises did indeed move their throne force to take the south-most large candle. However their force isn't actually large, only the pretender, one big mage, one medium mage, and then a small amount of chaff.
We get to see the pretender's bless too - it's nothing. Literally nothing. Uh, I guess that means they've gone all scales then? Don't get me wrong this is a pretty scary thug but it's also naked with no gems and only 63 hp. If that gets into my dominion then just a few evocations will knock it right the fuck out.
Unfortunately this means that we can't risk the fight on Fennoscandia's cap. If the mantises had waited like 1 turn we would have been in a lot of trouble, and if they'd waited like 3 we'd probably have the cap and be laughing about it. All our forces in Fennoscandia's lands turn around and move to the small candle - the connecting province from the large candle the mantises took. I let Anglia know that they can take the cap but still, I assume I'll get the mantis cap to make up for it.
For I believe the third time we get some pretty great gold events and these are our best yet! We're going to spend it on a fort on the cave throne and a temple in Karanaac itself. Speaking of that throne, it took a few turns but we have a Clown Paramount, our small cap-only H3s in position to claim it. Ancient Clowns, of which Pongy is still our only one, are far too valuable to waste their precious turns on mundane matters like throne claiming.
Our lizard shaman recruitment is actually happening! I'm pretty excited about these guys, since our lands clearly have no death, astral, air, holy, or water sites I assume they must be all nature ones! Could also be earth, blood, and fire but whatever. Since there's no fort we won't finish recruitment all in one go so we'll get it the turn after next.
Back in the east I'm not really sure what to do about the mantises. Since I'm building a temple anyway I see no reason to move out just yet. I want to see if that mantis force will continue to go after me or if it'll pick up Karanaac's holdings. I'm going to leave that province, Ernigrad, with the rocks in. They won't get out of there for a while and it's really nice having a natural rock barrier to prevent U from getting any ideas about trying to take Karanaac's cap.