Part 37: Stronghold Campaign, Map Three, Part One
The Barbarous Seven posted:
Sandor has gained quite the reputation amongst the Orcs of the Pao Islands. Having dismantled Sharka's slave ring and been the leader in numerous victories, rumours and whispers that the ancestor Kunyak the liberator has returned. There still seems much to be done for the noble Orc people, and Sandor and his Orc friends sail to the main Pao island to visit Taumata-Kunyak, the largest community in the islands.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Kunyak born slave in Bull Duchy. Led small group of rebel Orcs and goblins. Fought running war across Falcon Empire and Seven Cities of the Wizards. Ended by taking ship to islands and making new home.
Kunyak is symbol of power of Orcs, strength of Orcs, toughness of Orcs. Kunyak greatest general of Orc history. Maybe greatest general of all history.
Sandor! Is island where Kunyak landed, where Kunyak founded Orc nation.
Island where Kunyak rests within Mother Earth.
Nnn. Near place where cyclops destroy fleet of Steel Men. Where cyclops saved little brothers.
Goblins there too! Famous goblin Zed kick many steel butts.
Then this is a good place to make friends...
What are Naga doing here? This is not your city!
Stranger... I set eyes upon you for the first time. I am Mukao, general of the Daimyo Jubo of Hashima. This island provides us with resources. Labor. We seek Tears of Asha to create a great spell that will help all of us repel the demons. The prophecy of the Blind Brothers - have you not heard of it? Have you not made preparations?
Smells like unwilling labor. Smells like slavery.
SMELLS LIKE WAR!
You know, this is the kind of thing that could have been avoided had Irina pressed the 'My name is Irina, not Jubo' thing a little more forcefully.
We're immediately thrust into battle against Mukao with no time to prepare. Sandor starts off with a decently sized army of all seven Stronghold troops, but you'll quickly realize the main problem on this map - the Sanctuary is faster than us. Which means they'll always get the first move and hit us before we get to Reinforcements.
It doesn't actually matter how well you do in this battle - after it, Sandor will then have a diminshed number of the army he starts with in this battle, no matter how poorly or well he did in the fight against Mukao. So your priority should just be to beat Mukao down while converving Mana as best as you can.
With that preliminary battle done, let's talk about the main gist of the mission. The good news for us is that we'll finally be able to upgrade creatures on this map - in fact, we'll be able to upgrade all seven of them. (So expect plenty of biographies.) The bad news is that we'll have to earn them. Scattered across the island are representatives for each of the seven Stronghold troops - Mauler, Goblin, Harpy, Dreamwalker, Centaur, Jaguar Warrior and Cyclops. Our task is simply to visit each one and talk to them (with any Hero), which unlocks the upgrade for us.
We also start off with a near fully upgraded town - all seven base creatures are built, a Castle is built, as well as a Town Portal, Advanced Marketplace and a Capitol. This is good for us, because we will be severly limited on Crystal at the beginning of this map, needing to use them both for upgraded buildings as well as the Advanced Town Portal (which will be very important). It's a good thing patch 1.8 reduced costs for most of these. We'll also be needing lots of Gold to recruit the over one hundred of creatures per week.
Sandor. If Kunyak's island falls to Naga, every Orc despairs, covers face in ashes. Means Father Sky has deserted us, Mother Earth no longer shields us. Means the end of the Orcs.
Oh, and also, we also have to fend off Sanctuary invasions every week or so. If they capture our starting (and only) town, we lose the map. This will be the main annoyance of the map.
The island is also dotted with friendly Stronghold stacks, as well as hostile Sanctuary (and a few Necropolis) stacks. There's also a sidequest here - Tears have to recruit 40 Stronghold stacks, and Blood have to defeat 30 Sanctuary stacks. As you can imagine, Tears will be significantly easier.
Because the island is fairly big, it's best to split up the task - I recruit another Hero and send them off. The north is more difficult than the south, so I send Sandor there, while Airini tackles the south. Our third Hero follows Sandor and picks up resources and friendly stacks that are out of the way.
Also, Airini finally gets access to her Idol of Earth spell. Fairly handy since she'll have problems conserving troops early on, and especially since it reduces Magic Damage as well (which Stone Skin doesn't).
Idol of Earth in action.
The most important stack for Airini are Dreamwalkers - they're the hardiest troop available due to their high Health and decent Magic Defense, and we can use Stone Skin to patch up their poor Might Defense. Being a Magic creature also means they synergize well with Airini. Goblins are also good for auxillary damage if facing shooter stacks, since they seem to rarely get targeted. Since Airini won't get access to Meditate, it being a Prime spell, Mana conservation is very important for her. Be on the lookout for spell scrolls in the Marketplace, as it gives her free spells, saving you lots of Mana in the long run. Dragon Veins on the map are also very important for restoring Mana, but we can only use them once a week.
Well, that didn't take long. Sanctuary Heroes will come from the sea at three predetermined points, hit the mainland in two to three days, and try to capture our town (though they'll go for any Forts first if they're available). They're not too strong, but they're irritating.
The first upgrade is found in a small tunnel just north of our town. There are no enemy stacks in the way, so we can send our mule Hero to grab this one.
Natu is old. Natu fades. But Natu does not forget. Fought with Kunyak, walked with Kunyak, lauged with Kunyak. Natu will join Mother Earth before Natu sees Kunyak Hill beneath enemy feet.
Dreamwalker upgrade get!
Dreamreavers have traveled so often and far into the Dream realms that they can summon a part of it onto the battlefield. These shamans are not only respected by other Orcs, but are perhaps the only living creatures that they might honorably fear. A conversation with a Dreamreaver is like talking to your worst nightmare, only its they who decide when you awake.
Dreamreaver Damage: 15-19 (Magical, Earth) Defense: 11 (23%) Magic Defense: 16 (31%) Health: 100 Initiative: 35 Movement: 6 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 10 Morale: 7 Cost: 450 Growth: 6/week Abilities: Sky and Earth, Sky and Earth Mass, Living, Demonic Lineage
Sky and Earth Mass posted:
Kill the damn Dreamreavers or theyll have us all thinking were roasting over a sulfur pit! The Arch-Demon Gru-Zhaal is said to have watched his entire legion caught under the effects of a Dreamreaver nightmare. Though he himself was unaffected by the spell, he channeled visions from his favorite succubus and felt her state of terror. Not only were the Orcs on the field moving twice as fast they should, his own troops were crawling, suffering from some imaginary pain.
Sky and Earth Mass is a watered down version of the original Sky and Earth, but may either be cast on the entire enemy army or the entire friendly army. The ability is on a separate cooldown from Sky and Earth and has a cooldown of 3 turns. The Dreamreaver retains the Sky and Earth spell, but its cooldown is increased to 3 turns.
The Dreamreaver is a solid improvement in many ways. The first is a large damage increase, so they actually do decent damage now, especially with their small size and high movement (though they'll still be lacking unless in the hands of a Magic Hero). Interestingly they also tie with the Earth Elemental for the most health of any Elite creature, at an even 100. Their low Might Defense is unfortunate, but that can be patched up fairly easily. Their most pressing ability are their support abilties. Sky and Earth Mass is very helpful, allowing you to damage the entire army at once (it also works nicely with Drain Life), or speed up the entire army (+1 Movement is very nice, as it allows Jaguar Warriors and Cyclops to reach the other side in a single turn. Just too bad their low Initiative lets them down). Since they retain their original Sky and Earth, they can also use that for a powerful debuff on a single enemy, or give a certain friendly stack an increased +1 Movement. Remember that the buff is independent of stack size, so you can actually split off a one-stack of Dreamreaver to buff your army while your main stack debuffs the enemy army, if you so wish. They won't be the stars of your army, but they work pretty well for support.
One of two Forts is found to the north. It's the prime target for the Sanctuary invasions, too, so expect to defend it a lot. We also find the Mauler's upgrade here.
Dash was boy. Kid, when Kunyak fought. Dash was crazy, fighting everyone, attacking everything. Dash is older now, smarter. Sees wisdom in Sandor's words. Either Orcs fight now, or Orcs run forever.
Crushers are a special cast of Orc Maulers that have gained an instinctive combat sense. They get a glimpse of their foes aggressive intentions in a flashing vision when in battle. Some claim its a gift from their patron god, Father Sky. Others attribute it to the chaotic powers that resides within their demonic blood.
Crusher Damage: 4-8 (Might) Defense: 5 (11%) Magic Defense: 3 (7%) Health: 34 Initiative: 30 Movement: 6 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 3 Morale: 6 Cost: 185 Growth: 9/week Abilities: Shielded, Taste of Blood, Assault, Living, Demonic Lineage
Shaman gets last word, Warrior get last smash! This famous Orc saying is not spoken as a joke by Crushers, and holds a great deal of truth. When a Crusher attacks and its enemy retaliates it attacks again. Though they may be Orcs of few words, their weapons speak for them.
Crushers simply get an extra attack whenever they strike. This second attack occurs after any retaliation. It seems to glitch out at times with abilities such as Cleave, though.
The Crushers improves very little statwise compared to Maulers - its most impressive aspects being the 4 additional health and 1 Movement - but Assault can potentially double its original damage, if you use it right (such as using it on a stack that has used up its retaliations). Considering how useful Maulers were, it should be no surprise the Crusher is just so, though slightly overshadowed by some of their compatriots' more impressive upgrades. A mid-priority upgrade, if anything.
And in quick succession, Airini finds our second Fort in the southwest, and the upgrade most coveted by Goink.
Sandor tells Zed to remember spirit of Kunyak! Ha! Zed never forget! Of course Zed and Goblins defend Kunyak Hill. Good season for snake meat!
May Mother Earth give you strength.
Eeeee! Sandor see that?? Zed prety feeemale! Wow-tchaka-wow-wow!! Arooo!
Oh Goink. Let's look at our next upgrade, shall we?
Goblin Hunters are Goblins who are smart enough to survive in the wild on their own. Independent tribes of Goblins have been found in the forests of Irollan, the Steppes of the East, or in the Pao Islands. Sometimes a common purpose leads them to join the ranks of the Orcs. Goblin Hunters should not be underestimated: they are particulary good at finishing off incapacitated enemies.
Goblin Hunter Damage: 3-5 (Might) Defense: 4 (9%) Magic Defense: 3 (7%) Health: 22 Initiative: 45 Movement: 6 (Walking) Range: Half Destiny: 5 Morale: 4 Cost: 100 Growth: 18/week Abilities: Crippling Traps, Vicious Strike, Living, Demonic Lineage
Vicious Strike posted:
There is much for us to learn from the Goblin. He is not dumb. He has intelligently adapted to his physical shortcomings, and has learned to critically strike his opponent when the odds are in his favour. Queen Tuidhana, a long-time ally of the Orcs, is said to have asked each of her legendary assassins to spend a month hunting with Goblins in the forests of Irollan, before accepting them in her personal guard.
Goblin Hunters do a whopping 50% increased damage to immoblized targets.
While they still retain their unfortunate Half Range, Goblin Hunters practically double damage from their downgrade, and have a staggering growth rate of 18/week! You can amass huge numbers of them easily. Vicious Strike is fairly difficult to pull off, since unlike the Sanctuary, the Stronghold doesn't have any creatures that can immoblize enemies other than the Goblin's own Vicious Strike. Ice Bolt is the best option for this, as it also inflicts the Frozen status, giving a +20% vulnerability to Might Damage. They won't be huge damage dealers without a Bow artifact or making use of Vicious Strike... but the potential is there.
The Sanctuary Hero reaches mainland at this point, dangerously close to the Crusher Fort. Luckily Sandor is just nearby.
Using a mule Hero with Scouting II, we can even check out what spells and skills they have. Irritatingly, all the Heroes that invade us (other than Mukao at the beginning of this map) are Magic Heroes. They all also know the Mass Heal spell (and later, the Sunburst spell), which they can and will use to harm all our stacks at once. As mentioned, they almost always have the Initiative advantage, so we don't even get a chance to Reinforce first. It's difficult to get a perfect win against them.
And this is the most annoying part - they flee when their army is getting weak! So we don't even get the chance to fully heal or get the full exp or beating them down. Rrgh.
Next time, we continue gathering upgrades while endlessly swatting off Sanctuary flies.