The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: Heroes VI

by ApplesandOranges

Part 27: Sanctuary Campaign, Map Two, Part Three

Thanks to the glory of internet cafes, we finally have an update. They won't come as fast as they used to, since I can't go there every day and I can't really justify playing there for literally hours at a time to build up a huge backlog, but at least they're coming again.

Patch 1.7.1 has also come in the meantime. There are several interesting changes, but for now, the only notable one for the LP is that Spring Spirits now have the 'Water Strike' ability, which inflicts Soaked on their targets (+20% air damage taken for 2 turns).

We have another quest to undertake, the Ronin quest. It's as simple as entering the whirlpool just north of our new main town, which leads us to a small island.

Ah! See the fortress there? It's held by Changbo, a ronin. He was a vassal of Okane, the Daimyo who turned our lands over to the Wolf. When Hiroshi defeated Okane, Changbo turned and ran with his men.

I'm not sure exactly why we're hunting after runaway hermit Naga, but ah well, more blood for the slaughter.

Chango is a merciless knight, an honorless dog. Kill him quickly and be on your way.

Chango's army is pretty puny, and there's not much to be said about him. He'll cast Ice Armor, but it just makes his death slower.

Click here to listen to the conversation!

Hmm. So what shall I do with Changbo?

Return him to the waters! He is without honor!

None but Shalassa have the right to judge me. I served Okane as my father did. I do not change allegiances with the tide. I became ronin, a masterless knight.

Treat him like he treated me! That should be good enough justice for Changbo! Lock him up, and drop the key into Komiro Crevasse!

You killed three Naga for percieved insults!

Oh Katashi. A lady after Irina's heart.

Stop it you two! Let me think...

Saaa... Irina, reflect wisely. There are many problems that cannot be solved with killing. Death is easy, is fast, but leaves behind a trail of anger and vengeance.

Sorry Katsue, our hands are tied.

Good choice. Not an easy one to make. Changbo would be a burden to us all if he was still alive.

Irina! Very good decision you make. You have freed me, given me my life back. I will come with you and help you learn the ways of the Naga.

So... Katashi joins us as a secondary Hero. Hooray?

Biography posted:

Nobody knows what befell Katashi's parents; she was washed up on one of the countless Naga islands in a simple wicker basket with the sea, like the babe, as calm as a summer lake.
Rescued by the Pearl Priestesses, Katashi was adopted into their temple and raised as one of their own, her origins of little concern to her, for she never knew anything different.
Becoming an adept priestess of Shalassa, the Dragon of Water, Katashi first began to question the fate of her parents when she overheard a Human visitor suggesting they might have been slain by Lord Okane, Daimyo of Hashima Island. Determined to find out what really happened to her father and mother, Katashi left to find Okane, only to discoved he had since been defeated by Lord Hiroshi, the new Daimyo of Hashima.
To facilitate her investigation, she has hidden her true motives under a mask of obeisance and excellence, and has since risen highly in Hiroshi's army.
It was during one of her private forays into her troubled past that Katashi was captured by the pirate Changbo.

Katashi is a Flood Conjurer, so like Irina, she also has the Watery Grave spell. Her starting skills aren't fantastic, but at least she's well built for her task, starting off with Lightning Bolt and Haste, with a few Prime Affinity talents as well as the Pathfinding and Diplomacy skill. Irina makes her just a little redundant for now, though.

Back to business. Okane starts sending Heroes out to harass us around this time. Frustratingly, most of them are Monks, and employ the Sunburst spell, which hit over a large area, making perfect victories troublesome if you don't have Mass Regeneration or Heal.

Irina, defying Hiroshi is necessary. It is our way. And our ways are as old as the Humans, the elves, the dwarves; older than the Wizards, the Orcs and the Necromancers... Do not forget that.

Yes. Many races have developed since the Elder Wars between the Angels and the Faceless. Though I've heard those old conflicts are being rekindled... But that is not my problem! What do I have to do to take Hiroshi's place?

That question is simple. There are two castles that defend his way; Shunjo and Setsujo. They must both me conquered or convinced.

And heading south reveals one of the castles we need to take over. The enemy army starts getting quite big, with over 200 Pearl Priestesses. Still, they have no Fort (again, your mileage may vary), so it's not too difficult to take them down if you play intelligently.

We even get a set piece for each castle we conquer, too.

This nice fat stack of Ghosts just south of the locked gate leading to Hiroshi is actually part of the Tears quest. In the meantime, we can still exorcise them for juicy exp.

The second castle is on the other side of the map, and we can just Town Portal to the Haven Fort we nabbed early on in the game and head south from there.

Oh hey, the Fire Elementals' Cremation actually works now.

There's actually another easily taken town enroute to Hiroshi's second town, which is of no significant note other than showing the wheel of death around our Kenshi, courtesy of Unlimited Retaliation.

The second town is easy pickings.

Ooh, I'm definitely getting that.

The Emerald Yumi Bow is probably one of the best artifacts in the game, because it allows our ranged creatures to hit for full damage no matter how many obstacles and distances there are in the way. No longer will castle walls stop us from turning our foes into sushi! Sanctuary gets the least benefit of it from the three towns that can find it in their marketplace (Stronghold, Haven, Sanctuary), but it is still very much worth picking up if you see it in stock.

From Eastalon, to Gerhart's Keep, to Hashima, Hiroshi's castle... the fun just never stops, does it?

Sometimes I really can't tell whether Irina's being sarcastic or genuinely enjoying this. Hiroshi's castle is now open for attack.

Irina also hits level 15, which finally opens up the third-tier Magic skills for us to play with. There is a lot of good stuff in there, but two of the more fun ones are in the Prime tree - Meditation not only restores 50% of our mana for just 30 Mana, but also boosts the power of our spells by 20 for 4 turns! Too bad it's only usable once per battle. Teleport is exactly what it says on the tin, allowing us to take any of our troops and move it anywhere else that's no obstructed by anything or anyone. Nice for sieges.

I've also picked up the Archery II passive talent, which raises our ranged creatures' damage by 3% every time they do a ranged attack. Definitely nice for our Priestesses.

Ah, Irina! I knew the day would come when when one would rise up to defeat me. That is our way. But I must share a small secret with you.


Today is not that day, and you are not that one.

Zounds! That's a LOT of troops. Hiroshi didn't become Daimyo by slacking off.

Unfortunately, I lost my Tears Irina save around this point. From what I know though, you don't actually have to fight Hiroshi with the willing support of the Kirin. Instead, you just have to defeat the large Ghost stack we defeated earlier and Hiroshi will acquiesce. Which would have been a lot easier than what we're about to face, thanks guys.

Oh geez, I actually can't handle this many troops. Time to retreat and wait till next week. Hiroshi is very deadly because being a Might Hero, his Wanizame and Kappa Shoya deal thousands of damage in a single blow, easily killing hundreds of Cores or tens of Kenshis. Even his Priestesses can massacre tens of Kenshi with each strike. Hiroshi also has access to (Mass) Heroism and Evasive Maneuvers, which are that much more deadly with a massive army. We can't leave his Priestesses alone to focus on his melee troops because they'll slowly fry us and can regenerate them for thousands of health. Focusing on Priestesses means his troops will be at full strength when he sends them out.

(For the record, I actually did try to take on Hiroshi with this many troops a half dozen times. After frustrating micromanagement I decided waiting another week was the best option.)

While you could theoratically slowly outgrow Hiroshi now that we have 5 towns under our rule, Hiroshi, like other AI Heroes, does cheat his way to massive numbers that shouldn't be possible in that frame of time. (If you're curious, assuming he had a fully built Castle in every town he owned at the beginning of the game, he'd have 784 Pearl Priestesses, which would almost sound doable... except that doesn't even include the fact that his Heroes have sizable stacks of Priestesses of their own, and 2 of his towns don't even have Forts.) He doesn't cheat quite as badly as he could, since he only has zounds of Core troops and he doesn't actually grow too much after you gain access to his Castle. So he's not the worst offender by far.

One thing I haven't really touched upon are each faction's unique buildings. Each faction can build two different buildings, with two choices for each building. The lower-grade ones cost 5 Crystal, the higher-grade ones cost 10. In particular, we're going to make use of the Shrine of Celestial Waters, one of our choices for the Sanctuary's higher-grade buildings. It allows us to invoke a rite every week that boosts the power of Air or Water abilties by 15% each week for each Shrine that lasts till the start of the next week. We can't invoke multiple rites - invoking a rite at one Shrine immediately invokes the rites at any other ties we have for the element we choose.

Here are some of the abilties that are boosted using the Water rite:

Which is actually quite a nice list. But instead, we're going to focus on Air rites, which boost the power of our Priestesses' attacks. (We have 3, so it's a 45% increase.) Between the Emerald Yumi Bow, the Air Rites, Archery I and II, and the Nagas' natural weakness to Air, it's our best option.

So let's do this right, one week later.

Step 1: Irina focuses on Reinforcing, Regeneration, Healing, etc. to keep our Kenshi alive, since Hiroshi enjoys focusing on those. Our Priestesses zap Hiroshi's, killing a good 100-130 each time, while everyone else Defends. Hiroshi's other troops just stay behind his walls and Defend for now.

Once we slice off about a good 400-500 of his Priestesses, Hiroshi will start to move his troops out, so we need a distraction. We use Teleport to send our Kirin next to the Priestesses. This is where Spirit Form comes in, which is still in play since our Kirin haven't been doing anything but Defend. Spirit Form gives a 50% resistance to all attacks, and Defend turns that to 75%. Stack it with Stone Skin and the Kirin are incredibly resistant to attacks. For the record, Hiroshi's Kappa Shoya are dealing about 6000-9000 damage normally. With everything stacked, our Kirin only take about 1200-1500 damage; still a sizable amount, but we can actually heal most of that with Waves of Renewal now. Our Spring Spirits cast Spirit Link on them, so they're returning damage to Hiroshi's troops while blockading them. There are many other strategies involving Spirit Form, and I'll likely show them off in the future.

Most of Hiroshi's troops get distracted and focus on the Kirin, while our Priestesses heal our Kirin and switch targets to zapping the Kappa Shoya.

Step 3: Hiroshi's Wanizame aren't fooled and come charging out the gates. Our Priestesses zap them a couple of times to soften them up, and our bored melee troops move in to lock them in place - our own Wanizame's Ferocious Wound prevent them from going very far.

Step 4: Cleanup.

Look at that sweet, sweet damage. Watery Grave Soaks the Kappa Shoya, causing them to take an additional 20% from Air damage, and our Priestesses' Archery II bonus has been stacking up for several rounds now. It's just a matter of finishing Hiroshi off now.

We lose a lot of troops... but really, compared to what could have been, I'm glad it was only this amount.

Note: this conversation actually plays before the battle with Hiroshi. I'm putting it after the battle since it makes more sense that way, since you still have to fight Hiroshi after the talking.

Click here to listen to the conversation!

It will be as you wish, Lord Hiroshi. Your castle is mine, Hashima Island is mine, and your head joins my list of trophies.

Irina, more than that is now yours. You must accept Hiroshi's duties. The Eternal Empress wished for Hiroshi to fight the Necromancers to the west; that is now your battle. As Daimyo Jubo of Hashima, that is now your obligation.

What? Every damned victory seems to come with an, "Oh, by the way..."

That it does, Irina, that it does.

Hey, I did get Hero rank after all, what a pleasant surprise. I guess taking in Hiroshi's huge army despite the odds not in my favour helped to bump my score up.

Bonus Content - Blood and Tears

Alright, let's get Irina's Tears reputation up so we can spare Changbo instead.

You have not chosen well, little griffin. Changbo will continue to be a thorn in our side.

Not in your side, indolent one. I will accompany Irina. She has spared my life and gained my allegiance. Something you were unable to do.

You show the wisdom of Shalassa, for sparing an enemy is not a sign of weakness. Strength without compassion is like a hot blade not tempered by water. It may be hard, but is blunt and brittle.

There's no hint as to what happened to Katashi after this. We can only assume she skulked off angrily to kill people for looking at her wrong.

Biography posted:

Once a vassal of Lord Okane, Changbo refused to swear allegiance to his new daimyo, Hiroshi. That day he became two men. Pirate and brigand to those within earshot of the daimyo's soldiers. Hero and defender to those same folk when speaking with hushed voices in private.
A Ronin who who puts his strict moral code above all other considerations, Chango can easily gave up wealth, power or status in his quest to protect the weak from the whims of the strong.

Changbo is a Shogun, the Sanctuary Might Tears Hero. Oddly, he starts with a lot of Water spells, including Ice Armor and Ice Bolt.

Speaking of the Shogun, we might as well look at the Sanctuary's advanced classes. We've already seen the Floor Conjurer, so we'll look at its Tears counterpart, the Tide Master.

Tide Master posted:

“When the tide rises, the widows weep.”

Tide Masters have gained an understanding of the powers of Shalassa, the Dragon Goddess of Water, through long moments of contemplative meditation. They see war and peace as part of the same cycle and their armies like waves raging over a shoreline during a storm. The metaphor is quite appropriate, for when the Tide Master goes to battle, the power of water goes as well.

45 Mana
Cooldown: 4 turns
Charms a target creature, causing it to lose the next 1.8/2.2 turns. Dispelled when the creature is attacked, and they may retaliate against that attacked.

Serenity is a pretty useful spell. It is basically the Light spell Blindness, which Irina wouldn't normally be able to get till level 15. Even then, having an extra copy of it is very helpful for breaking off enemy stacks out of the heat of battle.

Now for the Might Heroes, starting with the base Hero.

Samurai posted:

“Weather changes, the Samurai is a rock.”

Honourable warriors of the lotus-covered islands of Hashima, the Samurai’s courage and steadfast loyalty is renowned throughout all of Ashan. Their commitment to duty and service to their patron lord supersedes all worldly desires and passions, making them explosive leaders of armies, and incredibly patient masters of swords. Typical Samurai are incredibly calm, but when action is required, they pounce more quickly than a Dragon Eel.

Calm Before the Storm
Sanctuary creatures that don't attack gain +5 Initiative and +28% Might Damage till the end of their next turn. Does not stack.

Calm Before the Storm is basically the Might version of Inner Eye. Very helpful in almost all situations, as even magical creatures enjoy the increased Initiative.

Now for Blood...

War Master posted:

“The sword is but steel, I am its will.”

War Masters have transcended their personal desires and passions, and dedicated their existence to a sole purpose; that of the absolute mastery of the art of war. This quest for perfection in form and spirit surpasses their allegiance to their Lords, and their lives themselves are seen by other Naga as works of art or sonnets of mystical poetry. The Eternal Empress respects the War Master, but is careful never to provoke one, and only converses when she bears the promise of a war.

Prepare for Strike
Friendly creatures' melee attacks deal +2/3% increased damage for each movement point unspent for the current turn before attacking.

Prepare for Strike is great once your troops get into the heat of battle. The more movement they save, the more damage they deal - for instance, if Kirin attacks without moving, it deals +14% increased damage. Sadly it does not work for ranged attacks.

And finally, the Tears option.

Shogun posted:

“Become one with that which you protect. The lands and
people are your reflection.”
A Shogun is a Samurai that has mastered the technique of dissolution of personal desires and passions to the point that only action and purpose remain. These extremely rare individuals are renowned for their wisdom and steadfast resolve. When recognized by the Eternal Empress, the title of Shogun is awarded and the administration of vast expanses of imperial lands bestowed. Whenever the Naga Empire is in danger, the Shogun is often sent at the head of several armies.

Eightfold Lotus
Cooldown: 3 turns
Target stack gains Unlimited Retaliation and the ability to ignore No Retaliation abilities for 2/3 turns.

Not much use on Kenshi, but pretty useful for any creature right on the frontlines. Also means you can actually counter against things like Glories.