Part 12: We're in the Army Now: Siege CampUpdate 12: We're in the army now!
Dolph: Let's join. That way we can infiltrate Namtar's forces and destroy them from within!
Madrick: Normally I'd be opposed to such an idea, but such a conniving scheme is too much fun to pass up!
Piers: If it gets us one step closer to putting a sword through Namtar's... whatever vital organs he has, I'm up for it.
Kali: Let's do it!
Louie: I have a bad feeling about this. I don't think we should...
Ulrik: Sounds like it's unanimous then. Let's go!
So we're going to join the army. But what would happen if we decided not to join?
350 gold isn't really a big deal, but still, kind of a dick move from the game. If we refuse to pay, we can't fight them or anything, we just get drafted into the army automatically.
Paragraph 86 posted:You are pressed into service and sent directly to the front. The army makes no attempt to provision or train you - it's evident they consider you a band of cutthroats, and that they like you just the way you are.
A troop ship conveys you to King's Island, where the walled city of Byzanople stubbornly resists the enlightenment of joining the unified Kingshomer Empire under Namtar and King Drake. Byzanople has been under siege for several months, and the besieging Kingshomer army is preparing to take the city by storm. You are to be among the waves of unfortunates they wish to send over the wall. You may not take kindly to this idea, but there are many more of them than there are of you, and this is no opportunity to desert.
You are billeted in a siege camp located a few miles south of the actual siege.
For reference, let's take a look at the map found in the Dragon Wars manual:
You can see here that there are bridges leading from Forlorn (Purgatory/Tars) to Isle of the Sun (Phoebus/Mystic Wood) to Lansk to Quag (Mud Toad). There's no direct route to walk to King's Island (Byzanople/Kingshome), but we can get there by joining the army (one-way trip obviously), using the Mystic Wood transportation nexus, or taking a trip through the Magan Underworld. Getting to Necropolis, Nisir, and Rustic is a bit trickier, and Freeport isn't even on the map at all.
There's plenty to check out on King's Island. But for now, we're stuck in the Siege Camp (one tile south of Byzanople).
For now, we don't have any orders. We can wander around the camp and do whatever we want, including picking fights with our fellow soldiers:
Or we can head south and just leave...
Sure, there are guards at the exit, but we can take them down if we use our magic. It's a tough fight, however. This is generally a tougher area than Phoebus.
Valar gets more Sun Magic; he's at 3 now. It's enough to do some serious damage with Sun Stroke, at least.
So anyway, we can just walk right out of the camp here, leave the army, and go do other things on the island if we want. It's not like anyone's going to come after us. But that would take the fun out of this being the "join the army" update, wouldn't it? So let's turn right back around and return to camp, after having now slaughtered 13 of our comrades-in-arms.
Now that we're going into the camp and not out of it, reading Paragraph 87 is more appropriate:
Paragraph 87 posted:Directly ahead you see the semi-permanent camp of the Kingshomer campaign army. The army occupies a valley between two mountain peaks. A wooden palisade has been erected across the mouth of the valley, providing the camp with a measure of protection against raiders from the south. There is no evidence of an enemy army anywhere in the area. From the looks of the camp, it seems likely this is a base from which the Kingshomer army is besieging an enemy fortress or city. Several guards lounge before the entrance to the camp. They eye you with suspicion.
Despite our desertion + murder spree from five minutes ago, nobody recognizes us and we are immediately recruited back into the ranks. If we say no, there's no indemnity fee this time. We're just told to leave:
But if we say yes instead, right into the army we go:
We also get to read Paragraph 59, which is just a variation on Paragraph 86:
Paragraph 59 posted:You are admitted to the camp and immediately pressed into service. The army makes no attempt to provision or train you - it's evident they consider you a band of cutthroats, and that they like you just the way you are.
You are billeted in a siege camp located a few miles south of the walled city of Byzanople, which for months has stubbornly resisted the enlightenment of joining the unified Kingshomer Empire under Namtar and King Drake. The besieging Kingshomer army is preparing to take the city by storm. You are to be among the waves of unfortunates they wish to send over the wall. You may not take kindly to this idea, but there are many more of them than there are of you, and this is no opportunity to desert.
It's a nice little detail, I think. There's two different ways to join the army, and the texts are a little different even though we end up in the exact same situation. And yes, if we turn around and try to go back out, we'll be greeted by another 10 guards ready to slaughter us for going AWOL.
With that diversion out of the way, let's visit the healer right around the corner.
The nice part about this healer is that it's free. We can get everyone fully healed here, getting those extra few HP that Bandage can't reach. The odd part is that they offer full and partial healing options. Why would we choose partial if it's free either way?
North of the healer is another building, one that I'm very happy to visit.
Upon entering the first store we've seen since Purgatory, our first move will be to sell off all of the useless chaff we're carrying around. We unload the Spear, Hammer, War Axe, War Flail, Polearm, Ruby Dagger, multiple Brigandines, and the Fire Spear. I may not have mentioned this before, but the Spear and Fire Spear are especially useless. They're thrown weapons, which means they can hit enemies from a range, but it also means that once you throw it, it's gone. One shot. Doesn't do great damage or anything, and can't be used by a back-line party member. That's obviously a complete joke, so we might as well get a few $ instead. We'll also sell the Mage Cloth since it's worth decent money and it's not great armor. After selling all of this, our party has a total of 5649 gold.
Now for buying. The Black Market has three categories of items for sale. There are weapons:
Now, the melee weapons aren't useful at all. More ammo is potentially useful, even if bows don't do much damage. But forget about that for now. At the Black Market, we can buy shields. They're tough to find otherwise, so being able to buy them off the shelf is huge. The Large Shield costs the same amound and gives an extra AC, but the Shield is better since it doesn't reduce AV. We buy four of them and sell off our Large Shield. Madrick buys a Chain Armor as well, so our back three all have AC's of 9. We also buy some extra packs of crossbow bolts and sell Madrick's bow -- his AV and damage are so low that there's little point in having him attack at this point. Better to free up his inventory slots.
Even better stuff can be found right behind this building.
As usual, loot is just lying around! The Lance Sword does better damage than the Firesword, and it can melee from 20' away. We give it to Piers. Still, the Firesword gives +2 to AV and does decent damage, so it's a good choice even for someone without the Swords skill. We give it to Kali for now. The Silver Gloves give +3 AC. That may not sound like much, but there are only two types of "gloves" in the game, and these are better than the Gauntlets. We give them to Piers as well.
There's one other piece of loot to find around here, and it's to the south. On our way, we encounter a lone Pikeman.
Let's use this as an opportunity to play around a bit. If we use the "Fight" mode rather than "Quickly Fight" we'll get access to the special ability of the Tri-Cross:
"Burst" fires three bolts instead of one. This allows us to get in multiple hits:
The damage and accuracy are still awful though, so it's not really that exciting. Usually just wastes ammo. If you really want your back-row members to do damage, cast spells. There is an exception to this which we will find later.
Also, when we're facing down a single melee enemy, we can stall forever by using the "Block attack" command with everyone:
This is 100% successful against the Pikeman, but only works on the first enemy who attacks that round, so against multiple enemies it's not great.
The Lance Sword does great damage.
Anyway, we had to get through that Pikeman to get to a locked chest with just a pack of 10 Silver Arrows. They're better than the regular Arrow or White Arrow, but there's only 10 of them so it's not that exciting.
That's all there is to pick up at the camp. Let's find our "commanding officer" and check in with him.
Paragraph 90 posted:This is the office of the supreme commander of the campaign army of Kingshome. General Buck Ironhead regards you from behind his desk. Ironhead is a frightening sight. His arms are a mass of scar tissue from a sequence of wounds too tedious to list. His face shows no mirth. His hands continually clench and unclench. His head is completely flat - you could balance an egg on it.
"It's about time ya goldbricks showed up!" Buck snarls. "What do ya think this is - a soggin' country club?? Ain't ya ever heard of reporting to yer commandin' officer??" Buck doesn't wait for a reply. "Now, I know you clowns are a pack of liberal adventurers. You don't like Namtar, you don't like the army - kid's today!! Ungrateful whelps! Well, I don't care about any of that. I'm here to give you a second chance."
Buck comes out from behind his desk and hobbles around his office as he continues. "You're in the army whether you like it or not, so you might as well do this the easy way. You may think you've got this thing licked, but I know damn well you can't tell your elbow from a dragon's blowhole. You keep your nose clean and serve with some distinction at the front, and I'll do what I can about gettin' you a full pardon. Namtar's a megalomaniac, but he's also a businessman, and he needs creeps like you!"
Buck dismisses you. "This is yer only chance. Namtar's gonna control everything sooner or later, so you might as well join the winning side. Namtar's promised a kinder and gentler Oceana, but he can't get on with it until guys like you toe the line.
"Get outta here!!"
If we try to talk to Buck again, we get thrown to the front lines:
This doesn't prevent us from turning right around and going back into the camp, but we were headed this way regardless.
Nothing to vote on this time around, the next update will be Byzanople!