The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: Heroes VI

by ApplesandOranges

Part 26: Sanctuary Campaign, Map Two, Part Two

Two quests open up at this point - the Kirin subquest and the Ronin main quest. The Kirin sound more pressing, so let's do that.

And hey, they're just outside town. Well that was easy enough.

Getting the support of the Kirin... that won't be simple. They're the closest that I can get to meeting Shalassa while I'm still breathing.

Indeed. Though the task may be made easier if you have the willing support of the Spring Spirits or the Snow Maidens.

Psh, we're Blood, they'll come with us or die trying.

But now you must decide how Shalassa's creatures will serve you; the waters can both cradle life and destroy it.

Note the Kirin's introduction - it's possible that the Naga adopted their greeting from the Kirin's.

So now we have to take care of both spirits before we can finish our business with the Kirin. There are two two-way portals near them, each one leading to a different spirit. You can do them in any order you want, but let's head to the left one first.

This is the spirit we caught a glimpse of earlier.

Click here to listen to the conversation!
Another conqueror roams Hashima Island. So many come and go... In your turn, will you make us allies, or servants?

Irina, understand fully your decision. You must one day choose between a path of domination or a path of concillation.

Domination usually works pretty well for me...

Perhaps. But friendly spirits will speak well of you to the Kirin, enslaved ones will hold their silence.

We now have a similiar decision to Kiril's choices in his map. Helping out the spirits takes longer, but gets you free units and no fighting is involved. Killing them is faster, but you'll have to build the structures afterwards to get them. You get 50 Blood/Tears points for each choice depending on what decision you make.

But hey, kill them all.

The Spring Spirits aren't really very difficult. The only thing about them is that they reflect 10% of melee damage back to the attacker, so shooting them down with your Priestesses is your best bet. In fact, since you're fighting Sanctuary creatures from here on out, Priestesses' air damage come in very handy for this map.

Saa... Irina. I understand your impatience, your desire. But you must also deal with the other spirit before you meet the Kirin.

Take two.

Click here to listen to the conversation!
We are wind and water, not warmth. You may rule us, or beseech us. But do not expect friendship.

Snow Maidens are spirits of Shalassa, not truly sentient beings. But, the Kirin, lord of the sentient and the spirit, hears them.

So what does that mean? If I force them into my ranks, I may have to fight the Kirin as well?

Perhaps. Shalassa is the water, she loves equally force and finesse. It is a question of who you are, and how you wish to be known.

Blah blah BLOOD

The Snow Maidens are even easier than the Spring Spirits - since they're ranged creatures, you can easily block them off with your Kappa Shoya and kill them quickly.

You have created a great army, Irina, but the Kirin now sees that you seek a contest of force. It will not recognize you unless you defeat it in battle. And then, after that, you must defeat Hiroshi...

Well let's! Irina could use a new throne, or whatever it is that daimyo sit on.

We're rolling in Wood right now, thanks to Ciel's speciality (she gives +1 Wood a day), so we can afford to trade for Ore and Crystal, which the Sanctuary badly needs.

Make your way back to the Kirin, and...

Click here to listen to the conversation!
Irina, speak humbly. The Kirin is the most sacred and powerful of Shalassa's creatures.

Irina. The rain and the rivers speak much of you. You are the rock thrown in the pond but greater, more like the earthquakes that moves the oceans.

But you must prove yourself against me, a contest of war and wisdom, of spirit and strength. For why would the Kirin follow one who is weaker?

I am not a stranger to challenges, or to victories. Shall we dance?

The number of Kirin you have to fight may vary - here I had to fight Sacred Kirin, their upgraded form, while when I fought them on a previous save (one day earlier), I fought only Kirin. Either way, despite being Champion creatures, the Kirin aren't too hard. Kenshi make excellent meatshields while your Priestesses zap away, and with all the defensive tools at your disposal it's not too hard to get a perfect victory.

Once you beat the Kirin, you actually keep a single Kirin as your reward. More pressingly, it seems like Hiroshi is back.

Time is not on my side, Lord. On the other hand, a large army is.

Hahaha! Irina tadpole, I look forward to continuing your education.

Two gates open up, allowing Hiroshi's armies to start harassing us. First, we have three new creatures to look at, now that we can build their structures.

(In case you're wondering, yes, the Spring Spirit has the exact same model and concept art as the Water Elemental. Laziness? Who knows.)

Biography posted:

Spring Spirits are major Water Spirits linked to the purest waters. As such, they are found in the springs and waterfalls that are close to Water Dragon veins or nexuses. Often summoned by the Naga priesthood to participate in one of their rites of cleansing, they also guard Naga warriors on the field of battle by melding with these allies and providing them with spiritual and magical protection.

    Spring Spirit
    Damage: 9-12 (Magical, Water)
    Defense: 14 (28%)
    Magic Defense: 18 (34%)
    Health: 70
    Initiative: 45
    Movement: 5 (Walking)
    Range: None
    Destiny: 8
    Morale: 7
    Cost: 355
    Growth: 4/week
    Abilities: Pain Mirror, Spirit Link, Spirit Form, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water

Pain Mirror posted:

“Burn a tree and you burn part of yourself. Take a life and you take a part of your own. Kill a Spring Spirit and you kill a part of your soul.” The Elves of Irrolan hold Spring Spirits in great esteem. Though they recognize them as creatures of Shalassa, they symbolize one of the greatest teachings of Sylanna, the Dragon-goddess of Earth: harmony. Spring Spirits can link with their allies for beneficial purposes, but they can also link with their enemies to reflect the pain that is inflicted to them.

The Spring Spirit reflects 10% of melee damage dealt to them back to the attacker.

Spirit Link posted:

“They pass it on to a living creature through spiritual linking... We must duplicate it!” The Wizards of the Seven Cities were fascinated by the Spring Spirits who accompanied Naga ambassadors. In particular, it was their ability to bond with an ally and share any magical blessing from which one or the other benefited. The Wizards, who sought to master this power for themselves, were exasperated by repeated failures. It seems that their lack of faith in Shalassa was the major impediment. In fact, the Spring Spirits simply meld a part of their substance with their living allies, making the both of them one in the Spirit World.

Spirit Link is an interesting ability. When the Spring Spirit casts it on a friendly stack, that stack gains the effect of Pain Mirror, and any buffs cast on either the Spirit or the Linked stack will affect the other, so if you casted Regeneration on say, a Linked Kenshi, the Spring Spirit will automatically get it cast on them for free, but it doesn't work on mass spells like Mass Regeneration. It has no cooldown and unlimited duration till the Spirit dies or they Link to another stack, and you can't stack multiple Spirit Links or cast it on other Spring Spirits.

Spring Spirits are obviously not high damage dealers. They have the lowest damage of any Elite creature (if you don't account for the Breeder's Half Range). Even them being Magical in nature doesn't help, as Kenshi will usually beat them in damage. In fact, since we're facing Sanctuary creatures this map, the Spring Spirits dealing Water damage is actually a detriment. While they have the best overall defenses of any Elite unit (except upgraded ones), this is balanced by their low health. Pain Mirror is a nice ability but it's not really that impressive compared to the Kenshi's Unlimited Retaliation. So at first glance, there doesn't seem to be much reason to even recruit them.

Spirit Link is the Spirit's big thing. The game seems to intend for you to link to a creature that takes lots of hits, like Kenshi, and give them Pain Mirror. You can then simulatenously buff both stacks at once. Still, it's an ability that never grows in strength (one Spring Spirit links just as effectively as one hundred of them), and Irina can replicate the effect just as well if you learn the Retribution Aura spell. They do have their uses, but for now, their slot would be better filled by a Priestess stack.

Biography posted:

Snow Maidens are major Water Spirits linked to the frozen aspect of Water (ice and snow). They have lived with the Naga for centuries in harmony, isolated in their mountain retreats.

    Snow Maiden
    Damage: 12-15 (Magical, Water)
    Defense: 12 (25%)
    Magic Defense: 15 (29%)
    Health: 65
    Initiative: 40
    Movement: 6 (Walking)
    Range: Full
    Destiny: 6
    Morale: 7
    Cost: 410
    Growth: 3/week
    Abilities: Frozen Touch, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water
Note: Like Katsue said, Snow Maidens aren't real spirits, hence their lack of Spirit Form.

Frozen Touch posted:

“Shalassa has three moods: one that scalds, one that cleanses, and one that chills you to the bone.” All Nagas learn this lesson at a very young age. Though water can be used as a weapon in all three of its states, the Frozen Touch of the Snow Maiden is most effective when one strives to paralyze clusters of opposing troops on a battlefield.

The Snow Maiden's attacks inflict the Chilled status, which reduces Movement by 1 and increases Fire damage taken by 20% for 2 turns.

Snow Maidens are decent if bland creatures. Being a shooter is always good, especially one with full range. Their damage isn't great but it's passable, especially compared to Spring Spirits, though also dealing Water damage is never good. They have scarily low health but surprisingly high movement, and a disappointing lack of specials. Frozen Touch is alright, but the Sanctuary will almost never be able to take advantage of the Fire Vulnerability due to not having any access to Fire spells outside of spell scrolls. Slowing movement is pretty nice when combined with Wanizame's Ferocious Wound, but that's pretty much it. They're still a solid shooter, just lacking compared to Priestesses.

And finally, our Champion creature.

Biography posted:

A powerful Water Spirit linked to the celestial waters in all their aspects (rain, hail, clouds, fog, mist…), the Kirin is known in the Naga culture as the bringer of wisdom and chooser of lords. It is said that a warlord who brings a Kirin to battle is blessed by Shalassa and the whole army benefits from the spirit’s heavenly aura. It is also said that one who rides the Kirin may travel faster than the wind, but at the cost of his own life.

    Damage: 53-57 (Might)
    Defense: 31 (49%)
    Magic Defense: 32 (50%)
    Health: 255
    Initiative: 55
    Movement: 7 (Walking)
    Range: None
    Destiny: 10
    Morale: 7
    Cost: 1410 + 1 Crystal
    Growth: 2/week
    Abilities: Large Creature, Water Flows Freely, Trail of Mist, Spirit Form,
               Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water

Water Flows Freely posted:

“The Kirin is born of water, and like the rain, cannot be harnessed.” In an ancient Naga bestiary, discovered by the Necromancer Sveltana during her legendary journey across the Jade Ocean, the painting that accompanied these words showed a magnificent Kirin moving with determination through a forest of fierce warriors. On the battlefield, she later discovered that the Kirin’s legendary powers were more than a fable, as even the most powerful magic could not hinder the spirit’s swift and graceful movements.

The Kirin is immune to all negative effects influencing its Speed and Movement, not just those of the Water line.

Trail of Mist posted:

The Kirin leaves a misty magical trail behind it wherever it walks that is thick enough, it is joked, to give even an Orc a proper bath. But on the battlefield very few find it a laughing matter. Though the mist never lingers long, the enemy armies always waste precious time groping their way through.

Whenever the Kirin moves, the tiles it passes through are filled with a mist that lasts for 1 turn. Enemy stacks passing through a misty tile have their movement suspended for the current turn and removes the mist. Friendly creatures pass through the mist unhindered. Teleporting stacks are immune to the effect.

The immediate notable part of the Kirin are its stats - fantastic defenses, movement, and initiative (it ties with the Kappa Shoya for the second fastest creature in the game). Damage and health are unfortunately on the low end for a Champion, but this is made up for by the 2/week growth. Immunity to speed and movement debuffs are always nice, and Trail of Mist can be tricky to use effectively, but it's a passive effect that's useful to have.

The unfortunate part of the Kirin is using them effectively. Their high defenses and unhindered movement would suggest they should be on the frontline to clamp up shooters and tank hits, but the Kenshi also do that just as well, and their Unlimited Retaliation and Challenge abilities make them a more attractive creature to take hits if you can afford the extra healing needed. You could use them as an offensive creature, but the Kenshi are better at that due to their earlier availability, though the Kirin catch up over time. Kappa Shoya are also better at tying up shooters. What would have really made the Kirin excellent would be if it could teleport or fly, since the Sanctuary lacks shooters, making the Kenshi and Kappa difficult to use in sieges. The Kirin is still an excellent creature, though it can struggle to find its niche in the Sanctuary army.

Bonus Content - Blood and Tears

Alright, let's check what happens if we decide to help the Spring Spirits instead first.

The Spring Spirits request that you rebuild their temple just a little north of where they are (which is actually where Irina started her journey on the first map). You need 10 Wood to repair the building, after which they join you.

Irina can also wear the robes of a builder, not only a destroyer... We shall join you willingly, and speak well of you to the Kirin.

Next, the Snow Maidens. They request that you investigate the body of a dead Coral Priestess, which can be found by going east of them across the water to another portal, through which you'll find the body. You can then return to them and enlist their aid.

Ahhh... Irina. Her body has joined the waters, her spirit has joined us. You are worthy of the blessings of the Kirin.

The difference between the two quests would be time management (and free troops). The Blood route is much faster, as you're literally just moving between portals and killing things near their entrance. On the other hand, the Tears route can be done with any Hero carrying at least one creature, that frees Irina to do other things (like the Ronin quest), whereas you need a suitably strong enough army to take on the Blood route. Speaking of which, back to the Kirin.

Irina... The rains and rivers were not without reason. You are perhaps worthy of taking Hiroshi's place. Though in the many ages we have seen pass, this would be the first time we had a Daimyo that was not of the Naga.

Saaa. Irina, reflect on this moment. A legendary honor! Bring the Kirin to Hiroshi's castle to show that Shalassa has chosen you.