Part 34: Sanctuary Campaign, Map Three, Part Two
An observatory north of our second town reveals this NPC standing in the middle of nowhere (well, in the middle of the sea). We'll find a way to talk to him eventually.
I might as well talk briefly about what Ulagan can do for us, though I'll probably go more in-depth about it when we get back to Sandor's campaign. Ulagan has a decent stock of troops, and he comes with the (Mass) Stone Skin, (Mass) Weakness, (Mass) Drain Life and Heal spells, as well as Tactics I - a pretty good deal overall, actually. He starts off at level 15, so if he gained any levels he'd also have access to the third-tier spells (though he doesn't have access to Meditation). His main weakness, though, is his mana pool - the Stronghold army is fairly fragile (especially the Jaguar Warriors), and you can only Heal every 4 turns. I usually end up using my Cyclops to absorb retaliations while doing hit-and-runs with my other troops. I eventually stop using Ulagan because battles with him take forever.
A Necropolis army may occasionally invade via a one-way whirlpool just north of our starting town. He'll usually beeline for it, but if we have too strong an army there he may try and turn west to the formerly neutral Sanctuary town instead. (We can actually steal his boat, stranding him on our starting island.) Another Necropolis Hero also starts heading south towards our second town around now. Invasions are actually pretty rare - I didn't see any more after this pair for a long time.
I start sending Katashi after more dangerous armies - there were over 70 Dreamwalkers here, and as you can see I'm almost dry on Mana. I actually end up running away with my Kappa using a combination of Ice Bolt and Chilled to keep them out of range, just so my Kappa won't kill them with retaliation before I finish Regenerating, running around in circles. (Thankfully the AI is too dumb to cast Earth and Sky.) Amusing in retrospect, but I end up not using Katashi for very much after this.
I also build the Snow Maiden's upgrades around this point, too.
Yuki-Onna literally translates as 'Snow Woman' in Japanese.
Yuki-Onna are greater aspects of the Snow Maidens that can be found only at the summit of the largest glaciers. It is said that they are the daughters of Winter itself, and wield the powers of ice and snow like a warrior wields a blade.
Yuki-Onna Damage: 14-16 (Magical, Water) Defense: 13 (26%) Magic Defense: 18 (34%) Health: 72 Initiative: 45 Movement: 6 (Walking) Range: Full Destiny: 6 Morale: 7 Cost: 520 Growth: 4/week Abilities: Frozen Caress, Ice Shards, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water
Frozen Caress posted:
The effects of the Frozen Caress of the Yuki-Onna were immortalized in a play about a daimyo who fell in love with one. To counter the maidens tremendous powers of cold that froze him nearly to death every time he kissed her, the daimyo went on a long quest to find a necklace of eternally burning pearls. He wore the jewels around his neck every time he was near the Maiden, and when that still was not enough to maintain his hardiness, he had them fashioned into a belt.
The Yuki-Onna's attacks not just inflict the Chilled effect, but also reduce Initiative by 10.
Ice Shards posted:
Snow can be a warming blanket, but ice is always a deadly bed. The Duchies of the Wolf and Griffin share the latter saying, as both of them are familiar with the dangers winter brings to their lands. The Yuki-Onna can call upon these powers to create daggers of ice that will line the soil, in wait for those foolish enough to tread the treacherous zone.
Ice Shards can be used once per battle per stack - the Yuki-Onna creates a 3x3 'trap' on the battlefield that's invisible to the enemy till it's first stepped on. Enemies which step on one of the tiles take a decent chunk of Water damage for each tile they step on and get inflicted with Chilled. Tiles can be stepped on multiple times and damage multiple enemies, and the trap fades away regardless of whether it's been stepped on or not after 3 turns. The trap doesn't affect Teleporting creatures, and Flying creatures are only affected if they land on it.
Ice Shards are the big prize of the Yuki-Onna upgrade, as they're really a mediocre shooter overall (its Full Range is the only thing stopping it from being the second worst Elite shooter in the game). Ice Shards have some decent tactical use, as you can place them directly in front of a melee stack at the start of the battle (their decent Initiative helps with his) or just above a shooter that's pigeonholed themselves in a corner and get close to them with a melee troop, forcing them to fight the melee stack or run away across the Shards. They're also a very reliable way of inflicting the Chilled status, which is very helpful for your melee stacks, with a -10 Initiative being the icing on the cake. Battle stats are fairly flimsy outside of Initiative and Magic Defense, but it's decent enough as a supporting shooter.
The next turn, I also upgrade the Spring Spirits.
Mizu-Kami translates to 'Water Spirit' in Japanese.
Mizu-Kami are Spring Spirits that have chosen to take up residence with the Eternal Empress, vowing to protect her as if she were an avatar of Shalassa. She sometimes dispatches them as honor guards to her ambassadors and favorites, but they are usually reserved for the most sacred Naga rituals. These include Naga trials by combat and the cleansing suicide known as the Drowning Kiss. Receiving the kiss of a Mizu-Kami is a way for a defeated Naga lord to return to Shalassa with honor intact.
Water Strike, which Spring Spirits now also have, cause Mizu-Kami to inflict the Soaked status on opponents engaging with them in melee combat, increasing Air damage taken by 20%.
Mizu-Kami Damage: 10-13 (Magical, Water) Defense: 15 (29%) Magic Defense: 20 (37%) Health: 76 Initiative: 50 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 8 Morale: 7 Cost: 450 Growth: 6/week Abilities: Water Strike, Pain Mirror, Spirit Bond, Lifeguard Membrane, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water, Spirit Form
Lifeguard Membrane posted:
Pound the water out of him first and then maybe hell listen. This popular expression, common throughout Ashan, means that a cuff on the side of the head is sometimes the best way to get the attention of someone who is ignoring your side of an argument. Its origin comes from the various Water Spirits, whose liquid material shape greatly reduces all physical and magical damage directed toward them.
Mizu-Kami take 15% less damage from all attacks. This can be passed onto another target via Spirit Bond, along with all the other benefits of Spirit Link (Pain Mirror and sharing buffs).
While their offense is pathetic, it's fairly obvious where the Mizu-Kami shine: their defenses. Average health offsets it a bit, but otherwise they have fairly high defenses, backed up by Lifeguard Membrane, making them fairly annoying to take down in combination with Pain Mirror. Their true role of course is to share those abilities via Spirit Bond - Kensei and Kirin both really enjoy both Lifeguard Membrane and Pain Mirror. Even Priestesses appreciate having them in the army, with Soaked making their damage even stronger. While they're certainly no offensive powerhouses, they provide great support, and they're usually one of the last creatures to fall on the battlefield (especially since they're usually ignored because of their low damage).
I actually end up having my mule Hero defend the town while Irina was off chasing the Necropolis Hero from the north (Katashi and Ulagan were both busy). I lose a few Kensei, but it wasn't too bad, especially since I just had a fresh shipment of troops at the start of the new week.
Heroes with the Scouting II ability (like Ciel, my mule Hero), can now view opposing Heroes' exact army sizes, stats and any artifacts they may have. Pretty nice.
One amazing third-tier spell (that again Ulagan doesn't have access to) is Time Stasis. Time Stasis acts like other pacifiying spells, like Pacification and Entice, but actually functions like the Fate Weavers' Freezing Web - creatures stuck in it can still be attacked without breaking it. It's also great when your enemy only has one stack left, since you can just sit back and heal for 2 turns without worry (they can't even get a turn to attack or cast spells).
With the army fully healed, we can then crush them just as Time Stasis wears off.
The first set of Orc prisoners are found along a winding path north of where we found the first Fragment. It's guarded by a medium-sized Necropolis army that an Irina with a solid army should have no trouble with.
I'd have liked to pick the Tears option - we don't have much use for the extra troops and letting them capture the town for us saves us several turns (it still falls under our control). Still, we could use the Reputation, so I have Irina defeat the guarding stack and have Ulagan pick up the reinforcements.
And at this point, I upgrade our Kirin, taking our Sanctuary army to maximum power.
A Sacred Kirin is only to be found deep within the Spirit World, and rarely materializes on Ashan. The only way to commune with them is to bathe naked in the magical springs of Shalassa found on the highest mountain of Hashima. The petitioner must then take a literal leap of faith by jumping off the mist-shrouded rocks, praying for the spirit to hear them and interrupt their deadly fall.
The Trail of Clouds, oddly enough, doesn't have a lore description. It's basically the same as the Kirin's Trail of Mist, but now has an additional effect - if a friendly creature steps in it without taking an offensive action, they then immediately get another turn (they also benefit from any abilities that say 'end the turn without attacking', like Inner Eye). There's no limit to how many times a creature can benefit from said extra turns, except by the number of squares taken up by the mist (the mist from one tile dissipates when used up by either an enemy or friendly creature).
Sacred Kirin Damage: 58-62 (Might) Defense: 33 (51%) Magic Defense: 35 (53%) Health: 275 Initiative: 60 (!) Movement: 7 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 12 Morale: 8 Cost: 2130 + 1 Crystal Growth: 3/week Abilities: Large Creature, Water Flows Freely, Trail of Clouds, Hailstorm Aura, Living, Amphibian, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water, Spirit Form
Hailstorm Aura posted:
Where it walks, the water of the sky falls in thundering acclaim to its purity.
The Eternal Empress is said to sleep in a bed decorated with silk sheets, embroidered with images of the terrible Hailstorm Aura of the Sacred Kirins. Though the Empress slumbers in perfect warmth, those who have battled against these powerful spirits speak only of the tremendous cold they felt when the storm it summons hit them.
Hailstorm Aura is usable every three turns, dealing very heavy Water damage to a target within movement range (the Sacred Kirin also moves next to them, creating a Trail of Clouds along the way), and inflicts the Frozen status effect.
Sacred Kirin are the fastest creatures in the game. That's all you need to know, good night.
Okay, I guess I can talk about them some more. Pretty darn good damage, second best overall defenses in the game (only losing by virtue of lower health compared to the Fate Weaver), great movement (though it wishes it had one more, so it could cross the battlefield in the first turn), immunity to movement debuffs, one of the ultimate support abilities in being able to give its army the ability to cross the battlefield in a single turn, and an extremely potent attack every 3 turns that's further bolstered by the fact that we're using a Magic Hero.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. With Irina also having access to Teleport to get them into enemy siege walls, with the Mizu-Kami buffing their defenses, Priestesses healing them, Yuki-Onna Chilling targets to take extra damage from Might attacks... Sacred Kirin are a great creature, with an army that makes it even better.
Never a good time when one of these weeks show up, especially since the AI doesn't seem to be affected by them.
The second Fragment can be found on the east side from where the path splits, guarded by a medium-sized undead army.
The Thunderclap ability causes Air attacks by our army to have a chance of Dazing their targets (-10 to Initiative). The chance is dependant on our reputation - Neutral or Tears reputation have a 75% chance, Blood 1 has an 85%, and once we get Irina's reputation maxed out, it's boosted to a 100% chance. The first thought would be 'hey, that's great! Our Priestesses do Air damage, we can summon Air Elementals and use Chain Lightning to daze multiple targets!'
This is a trap though - we already have the fastest army in the game, why would we need to make the enemy any slower? Even if we needed to slow enemies down, we have Priestesses and Yuki-Onna, who already slow enemies down when they attack, and the Sacred Kirin and Wanizame hamper enemy movement already. So I'm going to pass on it.
The second set of Orc prisoners is found along the winding path up the East side, past the second Fragment. I have Ulagan pick up this stack as well.
Ulagan's army is actually looking pretty decent. He might be able to fight neutral stacks again.
Let's wrap up this update by having Katashi do a bit of scouting into the water and talking to this guy for us.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Yes I am... how do you know?
I was the son of the Unicorn duke. I was being bred by the Angels, as you were. They grow and harvest our spirits, like farmers who reseed crops from the strongest plants. Most of my crew have faded, but those of us closest to the ducal house have not.
You're saying the Angels are breeding the dukes and their families? But for their spirits, not their bodies.
Yes. I don't know why. But I would look to your soul, and to the souls of your siblings'. For the Angels covet them. But that is your problem, mine has grown too weak...
And he disappears. Creepy!