Part 9: Sanctuary Campaign, Map One, Part OneWell after that, it's only logical to see how Kraal and Irina turned out!
The Sanctuary is a new faction introduced in HoMM VI. As you may or may not figure out, it features lots of anthromorphic aquatic animals and naga, and is heavily based on Asian and Samurai culture. Like the Haven, the Sanctuary is a defensive faction, but is for the most part very well-rounded, being adequate in offense and defense, and overall has the fastest army, with many troops having high initiative. The Sanctuary general motif is the idea of 'Know when and where to strike', and offers bonuses for not attacking, hitting multiple stacks instead of focusing on one. It also has many abilities to slow down or temporarily stun or neuter enemy stacks, making it a useful faction if you like the idea of divide and conquer. Weakness-wise though, they are hampered in siege combat, as they have no flyers or teleporters at all, forcing them to rely on their shooters till the walls go down. Their melee troops are also not as strong as some of the other factions.
May You Dislike Katsue's Voice As Much As I Did (YouTube via Polsy)
We are... not exactly like your people. Shalassa's realm is a hierachy of temples. The seas, the currents, the lakes, the rivers, the snow, even the great ice packs at the end of the world have temples to Shalassa. Priests and priestesses like me run them under the eye of the Eternal Empress. The Empress enforces Shalassa's will upon Ashan.
You have a title? And troops?
I am Katsue Furen, which means spiritual leader. We also have military leaders, called daimyo.
But for now Irina, help me gather my Pearl Priestesses. They have scattered, fleeing the Wolf troops. Later we can speak more of Hashima. It is pleasing to meet a foreigner curious about our culture.
Katsue talks. A lot. I like to think the Priesteses scattered to avoid her speeches. Also note that she calls them 'Pearl Maidens' rather than Priestesses, clearly defying the script.
We should look at the Irina and the Priestesses we're supposed to gather, at any rate.
Irina is a Monk, the Magic Hero of the Sanctuary faction. Oddly enough, she also starts with a bonus to the Heroism spell (which she also has by default), a Might skill. As our first Magic Hero, Irina relies less on large armies than Sandor. Magic Heroes can creep with smaller armies and take on troops much larger than they have. As a compensation, they are limited by mana more than Might Heroes, and struggle in long, drawn-out battles where they have to conserve mana. Still, the Sanctuary is well-designed for Irina, boasting no less than 3 Magic troops and a fourth with a magical special attack. The Monk also has a default ability, Inner Eye, that grants passive magical bonuses (both offensive and defensive) if a troop avoids attacking for a turn.
One nice touch is that, since she's fleeing from Wolf troops, Irina is still decked in Haven garments for this map only. She's still considered under the Sanctuary faction, and will change to garments befitting them next map. (If we had her as Might, she'd be in Knight armour.)
Sewing, music, poetry. Irina, the eldest daughter of Duke Slava and Duchess Cate of Griffin, couldnt care less about these traditional female pursuits. Instead, together with her rough-and-tumble half-brother, Sandor, Irina enjoyed the broadest of possible educations, even convincing the Orc Kraal, master-of-arms of House Griffin, to teach her the ways of the wild and the art of warfare. Feisty and headstrong, Irinas already limited tolerance for her assigned role in Imperial society was broken the day she was forcibly betrothed to Gerhart, the odious Duke of Wolf. On her wedding night, he attacked her violently and she in turn wounded him greviously. Imprisoned in the Wolfs fetid dungeons, Irina was determined to die rather than apologize to the tyrant. But she was freed by Sandor, and they both escaped to the south-eastern islands of the Jade Ocean. Stranded in the heart of Naga territory, Irina finds herself a stranger in a strange land, but with the means to get her revenge on Gerhart and the Holy Emperor himself.
Interestingly, we start with both the base and the upgraded version of a Core troop.
Coral Priestesses are healers and diplomats within Naga society. They come from the Coral Nagas, the smallest of the three Naga species who dwell in the lagoons and on the shores of the Jade Sea islands. Their scales are bright and multi-colored; their faces are almost human. One of the most unique features of the Coral Nagas is the fact their hair is made of living snakes. The snakes are usually asleep and arranged in an elaborate topknot, but a strong and unexpected emotion or danger can wake them up. The Pearl Priestesses have learned to tame their serpentine hair, and in fact use it as a weapon. They can order the snakes of their topknot to perform a mesmerizing dance that evokes the deep currents of the oceans, causing an intense sensation of cold and lethargy for all enemies facing them in combat.
Coral Priestess Damage: 3-5 (Magic, Air) Defense: 1 (2%) Magic Defense: 4 (9%) Health: 18 Initiative: 40 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: Full Destiny: 5 Morale: 7 Cost: 110 Growth: 7/week Abilities: Eyes of the Medusa, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water
The Pearl Priestesses have learned to use the power of water to heal their allies, providing invaluable support to their ranks.
All Sanctuary troops possess the Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air and Resistance to Water abilties. The latter two are fairly obvious, reducing damage from Water abilities by 20% and taking an additional 20% damage from Air attacks.
Pearl Priestess Damage: 4-6 (Magic, Air) Defense: 2 (5%) Magic Defense: 6 (14%) Health: 22 Initiative: 45 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: Full Destiny: 6 Morale: 7 Cost: 160 Growth: 11/week Abilities: Waves of Renewal, Waves of Renewal, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water
The Amphibian ability not only immunizes Sanctuary creatures from movement-impairing effects from Water abilities (like Ice Bolt), but in the event a Sanctuary hero is only carrying Sanctuary troops, he or she can walk on water without using a boat. Pretty handy.
Coral Priestesses, like the Sisters, had their healing ability changed in the patch, now sporting the Eyes of the Medusa ability. This causes their attacks to temporarily reduce the initiative of the target stack by 10.
Waves of Renewal posted:
May the Waters of Shalassa renew your body and spirit. Countless Naga have heard this prayer of the Pearl Priestesses in the most heated moments of battle. It bathes them in a powerful aura that heals their wounds, removes any negative thoughts, and dispels the effects of enemy magic.
Pearl Priestesses have the Waves of Renewal ability. You get 2 charges of the spell per stack. It basically acts like Regeneration, healing a solid amount of health to the selected stack for 3 turns, but also has the additional effect of healing any harmful Mind effects or effects that cause loss of action. It can be dispelled, and is increased with the size of the Pearl Priestess stack and the hero's magical power.
Our Priestesses are our Core shooter. Returning players should be aware of several nerfs to them. Aside from the obvious loss of healing ability for the base version, they're also much more physically frail. They're even frailer than the Sister, so keep them well protected. As an attacking troop though, they are fantastic, using Magical damage (works perfectly with Irina), and Air damage is one of the least resisted types. The Eyes of the Medusa is a solid boon to an already fast army, and the Priestesses already have high Initiative. Waves of Renewal is only available in the upgrade now, but it's incredibly useful, extending the longevity of your army considerably. They should definitely be a priority upgrade.
The Sanctuary racial ability is Honor. Like Bloodrage, Honor applies its buffs to your entire army, with the strength of the buff growing with different levels. In contrast to Bloodrage, Honor is a defensive buff, adding defense to your army. The gauge is filled when enemy creatures are struck for the first time each round (so if you focused on only one stack, the gauge will only fill up once that round). The gauge rises a considerable amount for each stack hit though, and attacks and abilities that hit multiple stacks will greatly fill the gauge. Overall, while the ability is not as obviously strong as Bloodrage, it's an easy ability to use.
More importantly, it's time to vote on what path Irina should take! Will she follow her brother's example and go Tears, or go Blood instead?