Part 33: Turn 26Turn 26
Karanaac has gone AI! I don't really blame them at this point there wasn't a lot they could do about a hellbless specifically designed (and tested) to counter them. Their best chance would have been to exist as a rump state on the island and underwater even though their cap recruits are by far the best part of the nation.
Another turn full of battles with the mantises. We reclaim the all important connection point with all their armies having moved away. This force is going to prevent any more non-flying mantises from going anywhere near my lands.
Our first lizard shaman popped! I've said it before but I'm really excited about these guys. Nature is going to be great to site search with and they make great communion masters with regen, relief, and howl. Pazdegird here has a bright future ahead of him. Note also that their hat is funny enough that they're considered honourary clowns and so get boosted up to a pretty chunky 17 hp.
Wait was that a battle screenshot? Why are in they in a battle?
Sigh, never mind then. I'll get some nature access some day.
We break out of the siege on Karanaac itself and find out that the mantises took the opportunity to reinforce. That's a lot of the big ones, as well as one of the big cap only mages. Because the big ones have magic weapons I haven't scripted any slapstick displays (invulnerability being useless against them). Instead I have a little bit of miming but mostly just evocations like arcane bolt and star fires.
Still though we have a great big blob of clowns so I assume we'll be fine especially with our new defence skill! The lack of much protection from magic is pretty concerning though this is going to get real bloody.
The forces meet in the middle with the mage once again trying to attack rear and flying into a welcoming committee of enormous clown bodyguards.
In just 2-3 rounds it's over. Clowns come out on top but the two central forces annihilated each other. The expensive mantis thug was reduced to just 2 hp but managed to get away. Unfortunately it still managed to sneak through the bodyguards slightly and off a first clown.
We did manage to win but this was a real costly one. I added up gold costs though: we had 3k gold of troops and mages in the fight, and lost about 2k's worth of them. The mantises had 2.5k gold in the fight and lost only 1.3k's worth. Added to the fact that our scales are terrible and the mantis' are presumably incredible and we are simply going to have to start to do better than this. We cannot make many more trades like this.
Next door the mantises jump on top of a Karanaac fort. I hope they're going to storm it next turn instead of moving straight past it onto me.
Our militia's battle went about as expected and good riddance. This was honestly about a thousand gold total I spent on them that could have been another fort or more Ancient Clowns. What a tragedy.
With our reinforcements arriving we go out to meet them so our forces don't get split up and forced to fight apart. The plan is to retake the provinces one-by-one while continuing to recruit from Karanaac's cap. Small clowns being available at any fort is a major factor of why I chose to play this nation and it's certainly paying off here. It's more common in mods games of course but having non-cap sacred troops, and great ones at that, is still a rarity. You can see also in this screenshot that Karanaac just finished another fort by the lake and it got instantly sieged by Sea Dogs. I am confident in saying that AI Karanaac will literally never figure out how to break that siege since rocks have a difficult time doing it in the best of circumstances. Good thing they went AI honestly, I would have been very mad if that happened to me.
Over in our own lands we are mostly just moving around small-ish clown squads to take back the provinces from the raiding pretender. I don't really have any way of knowing where she'll go next so all I can do is pray for a clash with one of my actual armies, I'm sure it'll happen eventually. Fennoscandia is still unsieged even if they have about 2 provinces total I wonder why Anglia is taking so long.
Anglia's force down here still hasn't moved at all. I'm pretty concerned by it honestly so my big clown force here is not moving one jot until the fort is finished no matter how much I would like them to join the bug hunt. It'd be pretty great if said bug tried to jump on the throne but that'd be a foolish move so seems unlikely.
Up north we can see that Eljudnir did indeed manage to break the siege on their throne but their lands are still mostly under enemy control.
In other news we hit evocation 4 this turn! Unlocking thunderstrike is extremely nice as that's one of the first battle magics that we have access to that can really turn the tide of a battle. Right now to thunderstrike though we need an A2 random and then also to spend a pearl on Power of the Spheres for another boost. Or to spend an air gem per cast which isn't going to happen. Nether Bolt/Bolt of Unlife are also pretty good on Armless Women.
We continue on to evocation 5 and that will unlock storm to let our A1 mages cast thunderstrike too, in addition to some other cool astral evocations.