Part 48: Turn 39Turn 39
We claim the Crystal Throne! The mantises don't need this any more and we'd love the earth/astral mages to start pumping out astral boosters that I'll need a lot of for...reasons.
Our research hit Thaumaturgy 3 for Teleport, which lets Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar really start to get involved in things. I'd ideally like to go up to 5 for Soul Slay, which we could likely have won the arena with, but our research rate is just total dogshit still. Less than 500 per turn at turn 40 is just totally awful and is a really bad sign. We're going to have to prioritise Bearded Ladies over Armless Women more and more going forward. When you have bad research in the mid game like this you end up leaning more and more heavily on troops BUT clowns troops (enormous or otherwise) are so good and the bless is effective at dealing with battlemagic so I'm hoping it won't be too bad. Anyway our next research priority is construction 6 because now we have Lizard Shaman, Crystal Mages, and our god online it's going to be invaluable for us.
If you recall last turn there was a 200-strong mantis army that I was pretty worried about bringing all my troops together against. Luckily the mantises heard our concerns and obligingly split their force in half.
One went north and stood on the fort there,
And one went east to stand on the throne fort. No clowns were harmed in this process. Also because clowns are very stronk (including the fact that the larger bless applies on the map screen) we have an absolute shitload of siege defence and neither force can touch the walls at all. The AI doesn't really like moving off of a fort it's sieging so we have all the time in the world to deal with these forces.
We also stormed Karanaac's last fort. The report said there were just some wolves inside and we broke it in one turn instantly so I don't even bother leaving a clown behind to secure the siege and just charged in with everybody.
We have a large (enormous even) force of clowns, and then our prophet with the very last dregs of our original expansion party - uno unicyclist and eleven jugglers.
On the rock side is those usual fucking wall defenders and then just a bunch of total shit. No cap mages, one good mage in the Speaking Stone, two bad mages in the Wise Figures, one N2 adventurer, and then just nothing. Useless chaff or useless priest and research rocks. Despite there being a good 20 communion slaves present the AI does not cast communion master even so the rocks just do very little at all. That probably should be automatic honestly.
Anyway, we've seen battles like this a million times. We stand still to buff up and then whatever undisciplined chaff the opponent has will run in and die to comically large boots and normal sized lightning bolts. In this case it's wolves and also mantises? and vine men. There's a few nature mages here so I guess it's the best they can do right now.
Our enormous clowns surge forwards and the vinemen manage to successfully block the gate...for about two combat rounds.
Our forces surge through and here I realise that I've made a grave grave error. No clowns are on attack rear! Not to worry though because once we've killed all the wall defenders we'll then be free to turn around and fight the mages at the back. Right?
Well on the north wall things go okay - having only our more diminutive clowns fighting is not ideal but with the anti-rock bless we keep chipping away until even the arcane menhir dies.
On the south wall though things take a turn for the worse. The enormous clowns also tried to go to the north wall first but then changed their mind and then went south. Unfortunately for them the juggler squad took the opportunity to NOT throw their clubs and instead to take the fight to the rocks personally. Unfortunately for us the jugglers aren't sacred, have bad MR, one attack, and low (human) strength,
This is bad. Our entire clown force is dancing around the walls while the rock mages in the backfield are firing with impunity. It would take only one clown to change their mind and go make some highly magical gravel but nooo, they don't break formation. Instead we get basically 100 turns of this:
You can see in that gif the small clowns strongly consider going into the back line once all the north wall is dead but change their mind and decide to come cheer on the jugglers instead. No pies are thrown and the only person doing anything to help is So Intense In His Cuckoo Hostility our prophet who throws smites around but they mostly get resisted. Eventually, after a fucking eternity of jugglers' clubs bouncing off rocks while clowns dance in the background, the jugglers do actually manage to kill the rocks! Victory is ours as soon as we finally clear up the backline!
..and then immediately the turntimer is hit. The forces of Kirkostaculis decide that there's been enough fighting for one day and they're going to retreat. Fuck. Fucking rocks. Fucking dancing clowns. We didn't even kill the non-rock adventurer! Luckily due to our high leadership and morale, and the fact that we own most of the nearby provinces, our retreats are quite good and we don't really lose anybody. The fact that we didn't leave anybody behind to continue the siege isn't actually such a big deal because the AI will have little gold for rocks/troops and we have massive amounts of siege strength but still.
We immediately turns around and move all our forces back - this time we are going to remember to attack rear and we're not going to let those fucking jugglers get onto the walls.
On the two forts the mantises are sieging we're not going to break siege immediately and instead are going to preach a bit to make our troops even more powerful. Additionally Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar is going to teleport into the north one to give a hand there. Now if you're experienced at this game, and have taken an immobile pretender before, you'll be aware that immobile rocks can't break siege. The only way that a rock in a fort is going to be able to fight any attackers is if they storm the fort which, as we've just established, the mantises are unable to do here. I looked at my notes for the turn and they just say "I'm going to preach so my god can teleport in" TELEPORT IN TO DO WHAT PAST GONADIC IO???? I won a game as Karanaac I should know how rocks work! Still though while this is boneheaded it's not such a big deal as he's going to a friendly province with a lab so he can move again whenever. I'm sure I'll learn my lesson this time and not get my pretender stuck somewhere useless in the future.
(incidentally when I played rocks I didn't realise you can see the province targetted with teleport rituals like this and it drove me absolutely insane second-guessing the teleport orders that I'd given. I don't know why the province name is wrong here but the number is correct)
You can also see in that screenshot that we actually forgot to give water breathing items to all of our UW expedition force and so a lizard shaman is running them over. An auspicious start indeed.
A few events this turn, presumably Anglia is trying to spy on us. I don't really care honestly so I'm not going to make an issue of it or anything. Spies can also raise unrest in a province so if that starts happening I'll tell them to stop but until then it's fine.
Our site-searching continues on as normal
But at least we get another gold event this turn
Finally, since the rocks moving to the island in the lake is no longer a concern, I decide that my undead scout there might as well make itself useful and see what's on the UW throne here. It's scripted to retreat immediately so we'll see if it manages to survive. After the incredible success that our UW force is going to be we'll stomp our way round here soon enough I'm sure.