Part 6: Stronghold Campaign, Map One, Part OneThere's been a fast forward in time, though we're never told about it. Well, we have a few characters that we need to find out what happened to them; Slava, Kraal and Sveltana. We'll see what's Kraal's up to first.
Now, we can actually change our hero's potrait, specialization, and even whether they're a Might or Magic hero. For the purposes of this walkthrough, we'll be using their defaults though.
With a name like that, how could this map go wrong?
I wonder where my son Sandor is. And I wonder where he might have been if Slava had married me, and not that harridan from the Stag Duchy. Ah, my little Shanyi. Fate cares little for the pieces she plays with. We must learn to accept our role, or to fight tooth and nail for our right to live as we please. You're a fighter like me. Like your father. You'll fight Fate and have her screaming for mercy before this is all over...
We might need a bit of backstory here. Elizabeth (the one making an angry rant) is Slava's mistress, and obviously not the biggest fan of Cate. Sandor is the oldest of Slava's children, and the only one to be born from Elizabeth. As the campaign states, he's obviously not happy that his sister's been forcibly wed and is plotting with Kraal to... do something.
Let it not be said he didn't inherit rashness from his father.
Not insane, Sandor. Just mad. Very mad. Heh heh heh.
It's as I said before I left. I will free my sister, or die in the attempt. This is my war, Kraal, not yours.
Kraal promised. Kraal will come. Besides, too many Angels in Eastalon now. Don't like Angels. Don't like how Angels look at Orcs...
I'm glad - lucky in fact - that you're here. You know these hills. Now let's see who we can find that may have heard of Irina...
Before we do, let's check out the first of our new heroes.
Sandor is a Barbarian, the Might Hero of the Stronghold. Those familiar with Orcs should know what to expect- heavy melee hitters with not so much the ability for magic or defense. The Stronghold fits that to a tee, with 6 out of 7 creatures being Might-based. They have great offensive power, but don't really have a good defensive position - it's a bit of an arupbt shift if you just came from the Tutorial and are used to its simple synergistic core.
As a Barbarian, Sandor exemplifies the attitude of the Stronghold. He starts off with 4 attack, which is boosted to 6 thanks to his special trait (Gladiator, giving him +2 Attack). He has no magical power and almost no mana to start with though, and has weak defenses.
Sandor also starts with the neutral ability Taste of Blood. All heroes have a neutral passive reputation ability corresponding to their faction and whether or not they're Might or Magic. Taste of Blood is a nice touch for a faction based on cutting close quarters; the first time any of your stacks get hurt in any way, your entire lineup gains +2 Movement and +10% damage. Very nice since either you win battles without the opponent getting a turn or it'll almost always activate.
We start with a stack of 20 Maulers. We've seen and used them in the Tutorial, but now that we're actually on a hero that makes use of them well we can see how they stack up.
Mauler Damage: 4-8 (Might) Defense: 4 (9%) Magic Defense: 3 (7%) Health: 30 Initiative: 25 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 3 Morale: 5 Abilities: Shielded, Taste of Blood, Demonic Lineage, Living
Lightly armored and heavily armed, the Orc Maulers are the basic front-line of the Stronghold hordes. Their usual tactic is simply to rush straight at the enemy, counting on their numbers, speed, ferocity, and toughness to
break the lines of the opposing troops and pound the hell out of them. Their heavy shields are not a decorative item, but used to deflect the incoming missiles that are inevitably hurled from
the enemy ranks.
All Orcs have the Demonic Lineage trait. This is a lesser variation of a similiar trait held by demons, as Orcs were created by wizards from demons. They get a 10% resistance against Fire attacks, but in return take 10% more damage from Light attacks. They can also be hurt by enemy Light beneficial spells, like Heal. A poor trade-off, all things considered.
Father Sky and Mother Earth protect Orc children. This typical Orc Shaman incantation before battle is not merely a means for bolstering morale. It appears that Father Sky provides them a sort of protection constantly from threats coming from the airs, for all ranged attacks are mysteriously shielded and are less effective than they should be. The Inquisitors of the Holy Empire call this ridiculous superstition, but whenever two crossbowmen are out of their earshot, they will swear that it is true.
Shielded is the same as that of the Sentinels; Maulers get a 25% reduction against ranged attacks.
[qupte=Taste of Blood]Once the Orc bleeds, the smell of his own blood invigorates him and he grows stronger. When the Wizards of the Seven Cities created the Orcs this incredible faculty amazed them, and it encouraged their tactical usage of Maulers in the front lines of their armies. The demons were the first to suffer the onslaught of the Maulers, and their resilient aggressiveness even took them by surprise.
Taste of Blood is a very nice passive. Everytime the stack gets hurt in any way (ranged, melee, retaliation, spells), they gain +1 to their minimum and maximum damage, and it stacks up to 4 times, lasting the entire battle. This means that without any hero modifications, their range goes up to a staggering 8-12![/quote]
Maulers are clearly desgined for close combat. Their defenses aren't amazing, but they're average, and they have even more health than a Praetorian. Their damage is one of the highest of the Cores out there, and it gets even better as they get into the thick of battle. The range is quite big, so they make excellent users of Flawless Assault. There isn't too much of an opening strategy with them- charge in and kill things.
Let's also see what more we can learn of Sandor.
Born a bastard, raised a bastard. Sandor is the illegitimate child of Duke Slava and his mistress, Elisabeth, and has always felt as much. Although he is too proud to show his hurt, the principle emotion that rules his life is a deep-seated feeling of rejection. Despite inheriting his fathers sense of justice and loyalty, and his mothers fearless intensity, he
never really found his place in the Griffin Duchy and grew up a troublemaker. He found solace in the company of the Orc Kraal, master-of-arms of House Griffin, and his half-sister, Irina, in whom he sees a kindred spirit if not more. When Irina is married off to the wicked Duke of the Wolf Duchy, Sandor, livid at his fathers complicity in the union, decides to leave the Holy Empire to forge his own destiny in Kraals homeland across the Jade Ocean. First, though, he will pay his sister one last visit...
Kraal, living in a Haven castle as a master-of-arms? I wish we could have seen that.
There's a Shrine of Enlightenment nearby that bumps Sandor up to level 2 (I pick up Reinforcements, since Sandor can do piddly with spells right now). There are a stack of free Maulers up ahead which we pick up. We're going to pause here though, since it's time to determine how Sandor will approach things for the rest of his journey.
Now it's time to vote on what path Sandor will take, Tears or Blood. The choice that's made affects the story slightly, what objectives he'll have to fulfill, and the abilites he'll get. To give you a better idea, though, here's the rough breakdown on the two. There is no 'canon' walkthrough or 'good or evil' between the two, though the approach may be agreeable or disagreeable.
Tears is diplomatic, charismatic, and a bit roundabout. You try to avoid uneccessary losses, and try to earn allies by currying favour with them instead of subjugating them. It forces you to sometimes make roundabout and lengthy trips, but you avoid possibly angering a future ally. Abilites gained from Tears reputation are defensive in nature.
Blood is brash, direct and blunt. You have no time for petty negotiations or to convince others to your side. If you need something and they're not willing to give it up, the quickest way is to just take it. After all, power and allies come to those who deserve them. You might make enemies, but you'll show them the error of their ways, and really, they asked for it. Abilites gained from Blood reputation are offensive in nature.
Bold your vote for whether Sandor should go Tears or Blood. Unbolded votes will not be counted. Voting will end in a couple days or when I feel like it.