Part 16: Inferno Campaign, Map One, Part TwoYou'll also start seeing flavour text on creature abilities from now on. The game really has a lot of lore squeezed into seemingly insignificant places like these.
Back on business, there's a quest-related hero in the south part of our cozy little cul-de-sac.
Lord Kiril! I heard you were coming to conquer Sheogh and then the world.
News travels fast in Sheogh.
As do rumors. I'm tracking an angel. Maybe your dogs can help me.
The Tears path takes slightly longer, but it also gets you more units in the end (about an additional 10-15 Hell Hounds). Blood gets you more EXP, since you'll have to fight Lorhish, and lets you recruit Hell Hounds about a couple days earlier. The Tears choice has you collecting a friendly group of Hell Hounds to the east then return to Lorhish, simple as that. Only Kiril can talk to Lorhish, but any hero can pick up the Hell Hounds.
We can also upgrade our Succubus building (the only one we can upgrade in this map).
A Lilim is a Succubus that has become a battlefield specialist. She is a welcome addition to many of the legions of Sheogh. Her powers of seduction have been honed into disarming weapons that make fighting them extremely difficult. A Lilim sees a battle as a prelude to a passionate death, and one might find her kissing a fallen foe as the last glimmer of light leaves their enamored eyes.
Lilim Damage: 5-7 (Magical, Fire [Ranged], Might [Melee]) Defense: 7 (16%) Magic Defense: 5 (11%) Health: 24 Initiative: 30 Movement: 6 (Flying) Range: Full Destiny: 20 Morale: 5 Cost: 160 Growth: 11/week Abilities: Rapture in Agony, Enthrall, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Rapture in Agony posted:
A battle with a Lilim is an exhilarating experience that has given even the most faithful warriors pause for reflection. Each successful attack against the beautiful creature comes with a dose of delicious pain. The tale of Lord Harris who left his young bride to battle the Lilim Frissona a thousand times is told at wedding parties all over Ashan. It is politely considered a warning for the groom, but most brides consider it a warning for them to assure that their wedding night becomes an unforgettable experience for their new husband.
Rapture in Agony is simply an upgrade from the Succubus' Pleasure in Pain. The Lilim now returns 20% of damage (and takes only 80%).
I knew I should o killed her! But something made me wanna kiss her instead. Many a soldier who was lucky enough to survive an encounter with a Lilim on the battlefield, tells the same story. The creature has a mesmerizing power, and its sulfurous perfume seems to contain a hidden promise of pleasure, if its assailants would simply throw down their weapons.
Enthrall is one of the few defensive abilites the Inferno has. Enthrall acts like a targted Pacification - the Lilim can Enthrall mobs, effectively 'Blinding' them for up to 2 turns, depending on the disparity of the strength between the two stacks. Enthrall has a cooldown of 2 turns before it's usable again for any stack.
The Lilim is an excellent upgrade over the Succubus in all respects. They now have the best damage of any Core shooter, have improved in all stats except movement, and even gained a defensive buff with their new passive. The most useful ability though, is Enthrall. Enthrall gives the Inferno a badly needed distraction and isolation technique, a very useful thing to have given that they lack Light and Water magic (and thus access to Blindness and Ice Bolt). A good decision for a priority upgrade. It's also a good idea to split your Lilim into 2 stacks, which gives you double the Enthralls.
There are a small stack of Tormentors (Inferno Elite units) blocking our way out of our starting area. We're going to be fighting almost exclusively Inferno creatures in this first map (makes sense, it being Sheogh), so get used to a lot of red.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Azzie! Shut up!
Kiril, you must control him.
The level of tension in my body keeps him down. He's all riled up about some ArchDemon he calls Tor-Berith...
A thousand years ago, Azkaal ruled these lands as the Prince of Destruction. Tor-Berith now controls his territories. He's just angry that the legions of Pain now controls what once belonged to Destruction...
I get the impression that Azzie hates everyone equally. No offense ladies, but we're no match for that army.
The luck of a Succubus runs wilder than most.
I don't believe in Luck.
There is truth in what Daeva says. Luck and Chaos are allies. Life in Sheogh is a sort of perpetual game. 'Roll the dice of destiny as if you cannot die. Leave your fate to Urgash the day your luck runs dry.'
An uplifting poem. Let's fight them and see. We need to keep moving.
The Succubi were right - Luck plays a big part in Inferno strategies. The Inferno's racial ability is Gating. Similiar to Guardian Angel, Gating fills up when creatures get Lucky/Unlucky strikes, and higher levels allow you to use it on more advanced creatures. Gating will create a physical portal from Sheogh (don't ask me how that works on this map) containing a small number of creatures of the stack you used Gating from. It takes approximately 1.5 turns for the creatures to appear (destroying the portal in the process) - they won't do anything till their second turn, but they have a large initiative boost that allows them to start near the start of the next turn. The number of creatures is dependant both on the size of the original stack as well as the level of Gating - Gating II will result in more creatures than Gating I, though in most cases the number summoned is still small and generally only useful to soak up retaliation strikes.
Another thing is that the size of the portal is dependant on the original stack - so a Hell Hound portal would be of a Large size, while a Succubus portal will just take up a normal troop size. The Portals are considered siege strucutres, with a health of 3 (so 3 attacks, or 2 attacks if one of them is from a Large Creature will destroy it). It will also provide cover from ranged attacks without bias. This means that if you want to summon creatures near a shooter, target the area just above or below them; if you summon the gate directly in front of them, they'll gain a 50% defense against ranged attacks till the portal disappears. Finally, all summoned creatures die if the original stack is killed, and you can only successfully Gate a creature once (but you can attempt to Gate it again if the Portal was destroyed prematurely). It's still a decent ability, especially given the high Luck rating of Inferno troops (and splitting our Lilims give us a greater chance of getting Lucky strikes).
You can quickly pick up the Hell Hounds just past the Tormentors and bring them back to Lorhish. They're still there even if you pick Blood, so you just lose out on the ones that join you after you talk to him with the Hounds.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Ah... you think like a Human. But, then I used to think like a Human too. Now I'm the only Demon that truly trusts the Cerberus.
Were you tricked into selling your soul?
No. I was the Emperor Connor's kennel master. One day I refused to just my hounds to chase down some Orcs and he wasn't thrilled... A demon gave me the opportunity to escape my punishment. She was too pretty, and I was too much drunk.
But come the next eclipse, I'll be hunting again. Humans, Orcs, even Angels. The Dragons have a wicked sense of humor. Running away only brings you closer to who they want you to be; you can't escape your destiny.
The angel I'm chasing... she stole my destiny.
Then I'm coming with you. This sounds like it's going to be a good hunt.
Despite what he says, Lorhish doesn't join you at all. He is a recruitable hero at the Hall of Heroes after this map though, and his background story reveals more about what he said. Whichever route you chose, you can now build the Hell Hound creature dwelling in town.
Once you travel a little further, another Hero appears and lies in wait for you.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
I'm not here to conquer anything...
Tor-Berith! You were an imp sucking on succubus teats while I was guzzling Naga oceans! Leave my lands.
Azkaal! I heard you! Your time is past! Destruction now yields to Pain!
Okay, Azzie! You got what you wanted... a fight. How badly do you want to win this battle?
Attack hard and fast, using the magic of the Succubae on his Tormentors. And find me a place in your mind with chalk and slate.
I think he's referring to Enthrall.
Tor-Berith has a laughably small army. In fact, he'll likely flee after the first turn.
There's a nearby Inferno town that we can grab. Of equal importance is another quest mob just to its west.
Man with two souls! Drink them we shall! And eat the body! Which way to the liver! Which way to the heart!
Master Kiril, these are Maniacs. They draw their power from Ur-Jubaal, the OverLord of Madness. It will be difficult to convince them to join you...
I'm starting to see a trend in female NPCs giving beginner information.
Once again, Tears takes longer, but gets you about 50 Maniacs that you'd miss out on by going Blood and slaughtering them.
I'm not here to conquer Sheogh. I'm looking for an angel...
Pretty Angel, wings burning bright?
I don't know of any other angels in Sheogh. I need to catch her.
Madness, folly, a fool's quest. Follow you we will, for only madness leads to freedom.
Getting the Maniacs to join you is simple; you just have to head south, defeat a small Inferno pack guarding the Mask of Madness (-6 to enemy Morale, which is very nice), and return to the Maniacs.
You are a strange man, Lord Kiril, but Kha-Beleth was right about you. You have a destiny. Even the mad follow you.
Demons are not so much different from men. They just need someone to believe in.
Maniacs are the spawns of Ur-Jubaal, the Demon Overlord of Madness. These demons are the spirits of the unbalanced, infuriated and unpredictable nature of Chaos. A true offspring of their creator, the Maniacs excel at spreading fear and panic. The Maniacs cry and shriek in pain when attacking, and laugh when wounded.
Maniac Damage: 3-6 (Might) Defense: 6 (14%) Magic Defense: 2 (5%) Health: 23 Initiative: 35 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 20 Morale: 9 Cost: 95 Growth: 9/week Abilities: Twisted Mind, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Twisted Mind posted:
The Maniacs sense of reasoning has crossed the normal boundaries of sanity. All forms of morality and logic have been abandoned and attempts to sap their morale or influence their mind find nothing but a multicolored mental wilderness. The Blind Brothers, who captured quite a few Maniacs during the 2nd Eclipse, say that explaining to a Maniac the reasons his violent behavior will lead him to a horrid death is like convincing a tree not to grow more bark for the winter.
Twisted Mind prevents the Maniac from being affected by spells and abilities which affect them mentally. This includes but aren't limited to Pacification, Enthrall and Despair.
Maniacs are fairly bog standard creatures; they have no outstanding specials and their stats aren't outright amazing, so they're usually ignored in favour of the bigger stars in the Hell Hound and the Succubus. They are sturdier than you might expect of the creature that replaced the Imp in the Inferno lineup, and they're also cheap, available in large quantities and have surprisingly high Morale (and Destiny, but it's a given with an Inferno creature). Damage range is unfortunately large, but they're not bad creatures by a long shot; they just pale a little compared to their other Core members. Immunity to Mind effects is nice, if nothing else.
They also have one of my favourite lucky attacking animations, where they whirl their whips around before attacking.
The Inferno Core lineup is a solid group; Hell Hounds and Succubi are both excellent creatures (especially if you can upgrade to Lilim), and even their weakest creature, the Maniac, is capable of standing on its own. They lack early healing other than spells, but other than that they're very solid for taking out neutral stacks quickly via offense alone.
We now have two enemy factions we need to get rid of - Pain (the red faction, headed by Tor-Berith), which is to the west and has 2 towns and a fort, and Suffering (Orange, which has two towns to the north). Red has weaker troops and is closer, so it would seem to make more sense to go after them first, while Orange has tougher neutral stacks in the way (undead ones, no less, so Life Drain won't work on them). However, it's actually more prudent to go after Orange first. Red will rarely send heroes to harass you (Tor-Berith entered my territory once while I was hunting Orange, and he was quickly chased off), but once you capture their first town, they will start harassing you with vengeance via a One-Way Portal. Both factions know Town Portal and will use it freely, which can end up being frustrating (especially if Orange decides to send a hero down south as well). Orange sends heroes quite rarely, but going after them closes up a potential front and allows you to hit the Red territory from the back end.
As we head north, we can actually see Sarah standing just to the east. Well that was easy.
Is that your Sarah? She could make man's blood boil with her flaming wings and all. I can see why you want to catch her.
You have no idea...
Click here to listen to the conversation!
We're not attacking just anyone! These are the Faceless - devious, treacherous, unimaginably powerful. This mission is of utmost secrecy.
I told you I would go. The Faceless took control of my sister's mind and used her to murder my father.
Well I guess Anton's Faceless babble had to come from SOMEWHERE.
We have a plan to destroy their most precious weapon, the Invisible Library. But, Kiril, to accomplish this, I have to perform a series of rituals in Sheogh...
Sarah, I trust you. I'll escort you to Sheogh.
Thank you, Kiril. Do you understand what it may cost you?
I think he's more than ready, Sarah. Good luck to you both, and may Elrath light your skies.
I'm not sure Kiril understood what it cost him after all.