Part 8: Stronghold Campaign, Map One, Part ThreeNow that we've got our 2nd town, Red will start being more aggresive and try to charge our town within a week if we leave it undefended, and if we stay put they'll try to run past us to hit our 1st town. So we'll take our fight to them.
We might be going Tears, but events like this when they offer to join for money are rarely worth it unless they're units from the same faction.
The 3rd Red town is easier than the 2nd, only with a few more Griffins on their side. When I fought them they didn't even have walls built, so it was an easy battle (your mileage may vary).
With Red defeated for now, we have full reign of the map since the other gates are locked, and we could just explore and kill neutral stacks as we please. I think we've left the other 2 slave camps alone long enough, so we run back to get them (and hit the Arena on the way, now that it's an easy enough fight).
Hey, Rosalie! Last we saw you you were helping to ferry troops for Slava. Guess you decided to turn on us, eh?
Nnnn... not easy to stay calm.
Don't worry Kraal. You won't have to.
You know Rosalie, if you're going to jump to another team you should push for better benefits. Like dental.
We defeat her easily, and there're mulitple free Mauler stacks for us to grab, which means easy Tears reputation (we actually hit the treshold needed sometime during this mission, but I won't show off the changes till the next map). The one we need to grab though, is the one on the left.
Because Gerhart is my enemy, and Kraal is my friend. The Orcs are helping me look for my sister.
Goink friend too! Friend of Kunyakti!
Kunyakti! Good name.
My sister, Irina, was wed to Duke Gerhart, but-
You mean Temurti! Orcs call her Temurti - Little Iron One. Girl who clipped duke! Brother of Little Kunyak!
You know, I like Irina already.
You know about her?
Yes. Taken up to mountains. Duke's old hunting lodge. Orcs carried supplies, can show you the way.
Finally! Kraal, let's get them fed and bandaged-
No! If Kunyakti wants to find sister, Orcs go now. No waiting, no stopping. Orcs tough, Orcs will survive.
Now that we've freed three sets of slaves, we trigger another conversation.
(Laughter) That's three Orc villages Sandor frees. Hear what Orcs call Sandor?
"Kunyakti"... what does that mean?
"Little Kunyak". Kunyak was Orc who led revolt against Falcon Empire. Is good name. Proud name.
I'm honoured. But I'd rather be called "Little babyteeth who finally managed to track down his sister".
The gate to Irina finally opens, but we do have to grab the last set of slaves just to the east (a pack of goblins).
Nnnn. Don't like to see griffins do that...
Heh heh heh. Sandor learns to growl like Orc. Doesn't sound like babyteeth.
We're still free to do whatever we want on the map before heading up to the hunting lodge. There's not really much to do but flag mines and stat boosts, so up we go. But first, we got our 2nd elite unit!
Orcs pray to Mother Earth and Father Sky, but Dreamwalkers are the voices of the tribes ancestors. To become a Dreamwalker, a shaman must first undertake a dream journey to the Spirit World to meet the spirits of his ancestors. During this inner journey, the Dreamwalker must also face his own demonic heritage and destroy the Chaos within himself. Many Dreamwalkers die during this trial. Those who survive return transformed: their body twisted and deformed by their struggle with their chaotic blood, but their mind imbued with a greater understanding of blood magic and the spiritual realms.
Dreamwalker Damage: 13-15 (Magic, Earth) Defense: 10 (21%) Magic Defense: 14 (28%) Health: 85 Initiative: 30 Movement: 6 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 8 Morale: 7 Cost: 355 Growth: 4/week Abilities: Sky and Earth, Demonic Lineage, Living
Sky and Earth posted:
One mans dream is another mans nightmare. This Seven City popular expression could be used to describe the effects of the Dreamwalker spell that sends its allies into a waking dream where their movement is liberated and hastened. When cast on an enemy, the dream becomes a nightmare, causing both damage and in increasing sensation of lethargy.
Sky and Earth is a spell that can be used every other turn, and can either be cast on allied stacks on enemy stacks. On an enemy stack, it deals damage every time they do something other than Defend, and they will also suffer damage when they are struck by another allied stack. All these damage can proc Drain Life, making it a good source of healing. It will also reduce movement by 2. Note that flying stacks are immune to the damage portion. On an allied stack, it improves Initiative and adds 2 to movement.
Dreamwalkers are a bit of a unique creature. They are the Stronghold's only Magical unit, which is one thing, but they are also the only creature in the game to deal Earth damage with their physical attacks, and the only one that can have their creature dwelling built with just a Village Hall (all other Elite creatures require you to build a Town Hall first). It's likely the latter was put into place so Stronghold Magic Heroes could get a magical troop off the bat if they wanted it.
That aside, the Dreamwalker is more a tactical and supportive creature, unusual for the Stronghold. Damage is decent but not altogether amazing, especially since we're using a Might hero, but more importantly, they are surprisingly more durable than their small size would suggest, possessing solid health and manageable defenses (especially magical). Earth and Sky is useful both ways. For instance, a Mauler with Earth and Sky and First Blood gets a movement of 9 - enough to cross the battlefield to almost any tile it wants. The damage of the negative effect is also decent and just keeps building as you attack the target continuously, meaning Dreamwalkers can last a long time with Drain Life. A final note is that while the size of the stack determines the strength of Earth and Sky, the beneficial effect is the same no matter the stack size, so you can split off several 1-stack Dreamwalkers to buff your troops. They will never be standout creatures, but they're good enough, really.
One thing to mention is that while every faction has access to Marketplaces, which allow trading for resources and a supply of gold every day, Stronghold is one of 3 factions to have access to the Advanced Marketplace. It stocks a random selection of 6 artifacts every week, and can range from spell scrolls (which you want to look out for, since you can sometimes pick up high-level spells you wouldn't normally have access to), and powerful artifacts. The selection resets every time a new week start or you load up a save, and multiple Marketplaces will each have their own selection, so you can abuse it to get a certain item you want. While I don't do this, I did find this little gem when I was checking it:
Absolutely delicious. Not only does it greatly improve the strength of our Goblins, it also removes their half-range penalty, practically more than doubling their damage. With their immense numbers, Goblins are suddenly very powerful.
Approaching the now opened gate has a little intermission.
Nnn. Orc plan. Grab weapons and run in screaming.
Yeah, and if that doesn't work?
Die with glory! Good plan, Shangi. Either way, Orcs happy!
There's a token battle against some Haven troops, which isn't too notable but for this:
Just look at that damage. It's just too bad the bow doesn't carry over.
There're quite a few stops along the way, including a Crystal Mine at last (though still under the Red territory for now), and several stat boosts, including an Arcane Library, which either gives you +1 Magic and 25 Blood rep, or +1 Magic Def and 25 Tears rep. At the end of it is Markus, who you may or may not remember was the nephew kidnapped by the Orcs in the Tutorial campaign.
Who are you? What are you doing here? And why did you bring so many slaves?
Goink hungry. Goink likes horse...
You may have noticed that these Orcs carry weaponry. My name is Sandor. I have a sister named Irina. She is dear to me.
What? The mad bitch who tried to neuter my uncle?
I think I'm liking Irina more and more.
In the next life, remember to choose your words more carefully.
Markus has the largest army in this map, with all his troops near the triple digits. Like his uncle, Markus also has access to the Anathema and Hour of Judgement abilites. Still, it's not a siege battle, which is to our advantage, and the strength of our Goblins and Maulers are large enough a Drain Life and Reinforcements is enough that we only lose 8 Goblins beating him into submission.
There, Sandor. Sister is there.
Looks like a small place. Not many guards...
Nnn. Guards not needed. No-one stupid enough to attack Wolf duke's own hunting lodge in middle of Wolf duke's lands.
Heh heh heh!
Hah hah hah!
Well at least you two make each other laugh.
The Fort battle isn't really very difficult, now that we have our supercharged Goblins on our side and there's no enemy Hero. Even if we hadn't had the bow, we can re-use the Mauler + Harpy trick from before.
Featuring the Crossbowman with the stupid laugh (YouTube via Polsy)
Shanyi! You idiot!
Heh heh heh. Sister good judge of character.
And Kraal? Elrath himself won't be able to help you if you get caught. And I won't either. I'm hurt... I'm hungry...
Then we better avoid that. Kraal?
Guards dead. All quiet. Go!
Kraal, she's hurt. She won't be able to fight.
Orcs would leave her here.
Way to take a dump on our entire mission, Kraal. What are you doing here, then?
Irina's my sister! She and I are the only friends you have.
Heh heh heh. Sandor picked a bad time to start a war. But picked very good allies.
Scouts say warriors come from everywhere. South, east, west... Smells like Wolf hunts Sandor. Have to stay off main roads.
We need to reach a port to grab a ship. From there we can get back to your islands.
The second locked gate opens up at this point. There's one last magic stat boost to grab before we head through it. The Red Heroes will start invading your territory again, but we're passing through their route anyway.
There are a bunch of things to fight and see on the way, but you can ignore most of them and just focus on getting to the port. You can't flag any mines unless you capture any castles, anyway.
Don't mind me, just passing through...
The Haven heroes will just stay put if you're near their territory. Once Sandor gets far enough away from their castle they'll run out and try to invade your territory, but by then you should be close enough to the port that you can just end the mission. There are two castles and two territories on the way. Sandor actually has a secondary quest to conquer all the castles, which give him +2 Might power and 100 Blood reputation points. The stat boost is nice and the castles aren't too difficult to take down with enough Maulers, but it's not really necessary and we're going the Tears route anyway.
Sandor sees Jade sea. Kraal sees fortified town, defended harbor, armed ships, then Jade sea...
We crossed a hostile duchy, built an army... this will be easier than hunting rabbit. Heh heh heh.
Before we finish off this last battle (and the map), have a look at the (mostly) complete map of this mission.
We'll be seeing it again in the far future.
The final battle has a lot of troops, but again, no hero, and you can likely handle it with just your Maulers and Goblins. (In fact, minimizing your losses gets you a better final score)
Are you kidding? I can barely swim.
Kraal is island Orc. Will be okay. Sailing is like riding horse.
Because once you know how you never forget?
Because you fall off a lot. Heh heh heh.
I don't know... Hashima? The Naga are said to give sanctuary to those in need. We could leave my sister there.
No Naga on boat.
Sandor, I'm sorry I brought this on you.
Irina! You were the victim. Elrath's flaming eyes, what is there to apologize for?
Besides, you know me. I was glad to have the excuse. I've always hated him since the day he, uh... forget it.
Yeah, Shanyi. Me too.
Hey, little Kunyak! Look. Freedom not here yet.
Excellent! Kill them all, but bring my wife back! Sooner or later she'll learn obedience. I have years to instruct her.
It almost seems like a DUN DUN DUN moment. Instead...