Part 55: Totes, HOPr - ThreeHill Orc Priest, Part 3: The Aporcalypse
In we go!
The Orcish Mines will be filled to the brim with Orcs to swell our falling ranks, and will mostly be a breeze because of this. We'll lose out on a lot of EXP, but we'll gain an army.
Right off the bat we're gifted an Orc Sorcerer, an upgrade to Orcish Wizards. They are a very powerful ally to have at this point in this game.
They have 18-45 HP.
They have 9 HD and decent innate AC and Evasion, not to mention an innate resistance to fire.
They can cast Bolt of Draining, Bolt of Fire, Bolt of Cold, Summon Demon, Paralyze, and Animate Dead.
Its their spells that make them so powerful. Bolt spells are very strong at this point in the game, allow them to hit more then one target per action, and their additional undead and demon allies mean our army has some much needed diversity to it, in way of abilities and attack strategies.
A troll and a ghost are a rough duo, but with enough Orcs at your side, you can dogpile any threat and render them inert.
It is such an awe inspiring sight that Orcs who are just passing by decide to devote their life to me because of how much ass we're kicking.
Unfortunately, another player ghost stops by. Normally I'd give the order to dogpile him as well, but take note the class. Wizard. This means it probably carries Mephetic Cloud, which will cause havoc amongst the carefully organized ranks. We escape up the stairs, deciding to take the fight when we have a better angle of attack.
Come! Serve Beogh! Spill the blood of the unbelievers!
A random wand show shows quite a bounty, but nothing we're immediately interested in. Teleportation would be nice, but the price tag is a bit steep for our barely 1k gold bank at the moment, and I'd like to see the shops at the bottom first.
Then, suddenly, Beogh blesses my devotion with a showering of Unrandarts!
Well, no. Webtiles has an issue wherein if you gain enough Orcish followers (or summons), their sprites bug out. It usually manifests in Unrandarts, though they can just show up as another creature you've summoned/converted. This will become obnoxious and confusing very quickly.
Can you tell which Orc is the Knight who needs to be in the front and which is the Sorcerer who needs to be in the back?
Neither could I.
Despite the graphical glitches, the army trucks on.
Our army, however, is not alone. Deep in the Orcish Mines another army has begun gathering ranks; The Ogre Army! They are an abomination unto Beogh, and must be quashed.
The fight starts out well, they trickle out individually and are devoured by the combined might of our Orcs. Ogres have a lot of HP, but terrible defenses. A Knight can pretty much two shot a two headed ogre himself.
Unfortunately, a terrible complication arises.
The Orc Sorcerer, if left alone, will summon demons against us, throw bolts through out entire army, and resurrect fallen Ogres. He is a priority that must die.
However, I cannot order my army to focus him, because they will then ignore the Ogres near them and die to the combined might of the Ogre army.
I had to embark on a solo mission to take out the Sorcerer myself while letting the army follow its own tactics against the Ogres.
Unfortunately, our army makes some...questionable decisions in my absence. Our Sorcerer and Wizards are on the front lines, and our grunts are in the back. I can't afford to take the turn to dictate a change, so I have to grit my teeth and keep fighting the Orc Sorcerer.
It dies, but at what cost? Our ranks are broken, and we've lost much of our army, and I am nearly dead. The Ogres advance upon us. There is but one option left.
FLEE, YOU FOOLS! EVERY ORC FOR THEMSELVES!
The Ogres, showing that they have a hint of a strategic mind, engage in a flank attack to pin me down and kill me.
They almost had me, too.
Reading an Un-ID'd scroll hoping for Teleport or blink sends their army running; A scroll of fear.
The army is recalled, and we turtle and heal while waiting for a chance at round two.
The last living members of our army have been brutalized so badly that I cannot even recognize them anymore.
With their organization thrown to the wind the Ogres are easily picked off. We reap the rewards in the center, four shops.
Their sacrifice...in vain...
Our skills, however, have gotten a significant boost from the altercation. Such is the price we pay for progress.
In all honesty, the Orcs are there to be sacrificed. It is best that they live, but never fear throwing them into something you will not be able to deal with for some time otherwise if you percieve the reward to be worth it. The shops happened to be terrible, yes, but the exp and potential rewards were worth it.
Besides, its not as if we can't gain more Orcs on a moments notice.
We take our rage and sorrows out on the player ghost we skipped before, silently blaming him for the failures.
I am a terrible Messiah.
Well, no. We lose grunt Orcs from the Mephetic cloud, but gain a significant amount in the same room, so its negligible. We also pick up an Orcish Flail of Protection, boosting our AC further, to 25. This amount of AC will pretty much allow us to perpetually be a meat-shield for our army.
I honestly believe that the only reason I lost so many Orcs in that engagement was because I couldn't keep the Ogres focused on both me and our Orcs on the right targets. Damned traitor Orcs.
Topside, we run into this neat vault. Its full of food, with a Kobold 'farmer' and a herd of Yaks. The Yaks go down pretty easily, as they're high hp and low AC, but they aren't the threat here.
If one were to peek into the room...
Alright, fine. The hydra isn't a threat. It should be a threat, but as it only had Two heads it had no damage potential, so we just beat it to death.
Hydras can be scary with an Orc army, but not often. While it is true that they will constantly cut off heads, they'll also do so much constant damage to it that it'll fall fairly fast. Hydras are one of the few times you don't want to be the main target for the enemy, instead allowing a weaker Orc to take the mauling. No matter how many heads they have, they can only attack one target.
I cannot emphasise this enough; Area of Effect attacks destroy your army. Nessos is a single target threat usually, one we can soak the damage to and let our Orcs kill. However, give him a wand and a corridor, and suddenly he poses a threat to 7 targets at once. 7 Targets who do not have that much health.
The best thing you can do when facing a target with an attack that hits multiple targets like that (or someone with a wand) is to get out of their sight. Enemies are much less likely to use those abilities when you're not able to be targeted or be seen. It forces them to fend for themselves, but it is better then the alternative.
The rest of the floor is boring and uneventful. Thus, our cadre of artifacts and ourselves prepare for the Lair.
The lair is standard faire that we've seen before. Find target, hit with stick, recall followers if needed. Thus, I'll show just the highlights.
Maud is a hardy fighter who does respectable melee damage. However, lacking ranged or area damage, he is no match to Orc Knights. He drops a Scimitar of Flaming, which goes on one of our Orc Warriors. Hydras are less of a threat.
These side branches are interesting, but usually not worth it for a Hill Orc Priest. We have no way to Resist Fire, and the Volcano is teaming with flame clouds and attacks that bypass AC. These portals also don't allow anything to come with you, meaning our Orcs will be left behind. A blessing in this case, since Orcs would die by the droves in the Volcano. As, most likely, would we.
As such, we abandon the Volcano.
A few blink frogs and the fear of potential volcano bring Ogrim closer to Beogh, becoming a High Priest.
High Priests are the second best unit you can have as a HOPR.
They have 33 to 77 HP.
They have 11 HD.
They can Smite for around 17 damage.
They can call Hellfire down, they can Animate Dead, they can cast Abjuration, and they can Summon Demons. They also resist Hellfire.
They can heal themselves!
They are so very, very useful. High irresistible damage, and all the utility of a Sorcerer. Not to mention that they can take a hit and dish some out as well. Not to mention, when they get low in HP, they will begin to constantly cast Lesser Healing upon themselves to stay alive. If you take this opportunity to maneuver them away from a monster and take their place, they are at very low risk of death.
Another Orc Wizard levels up as well, becoming an Orc Sorcerer to replace the one we lost in the battle with the Ogres.
Having two sources of Animate Dead means...nothing good, really. You never anticipate this, but all these zombies do is clog the area with useless summons. You can only bring so many with you when you go upstairs, and the undead do their best to shove your Orcs out of the way. Ultimately, they're just a pain in the ass that makes the micromanagement worse.
Our Lair 8 is the Spriggan Forest, filled with wildlife and, well, Spriggans.
However, we take a brief detour to the Spider's Nest!
I was unaware, at the time of this screenshot, that your Orcs did not follow you in.
To make matters worse, it is the strongest Spider's Nest map.
This map is teaming with insects. The greeting party is 12 Giant Centipedes.
Then 12 Scorpions.
Beogh notices our troubles, and gifts us some Orcs to support our efforts.
Actually, I think there are several sets of 12 scorpions, as well as a set of Emperor Scorpions.
Also, as you may have already noticed, our Orcs aren't surviving this.
In addition, there are several Tarantulas, Redbacks, Jumping Spiders and Wolf Spiders sprinkled about.
It capstones with several Demonic Crawlers. These enemies are fairly strong, but our high AC and Shield means they can't hit us as all insects are fairly low in Accuracy.
All the effort is worth it, however, as we pick up this.
A +6 Ice Dragon Armor is nice enough at this stage of the game, but it having +accuracy is just icing. The rest of the loot is underwhelming.
Now we're ready to show those Spriggans what-for.
Next time: Spriggans! Dungeons! Vaults! The Vault!