Part 43: Inferno Campaign, Map Two, Part OneAlright, alright, enough stalling.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
If anyone knows how to get to the Invisible Library, it's the Necromancers. My great-aunt Sveltana's a Necromancer, and she brought a powerful spider spirit back from one of her expeditions.
Your aunt collects spiders?
This isn't just any spider. It's a manifestation of the Dragon-Goddess Asha. The Necromancers worship it. We'll capture their Mother Namtaru and force them to tell us everything they know.
You're going to take an avatar of Asha prisoner?
Azkaal would rather I burn down Falcon's Reach and pluck Angel feathers till they bring me Sarah in chains. My way is simpler.
So to be fair, this map takes place concurrently with Necropolis 3. We know that Kiril is going to attack the Mother Namtaru, but that should be no surprise given the end of the last map. So you could say that they run at the same time, but this one ends slightly later.
It's a little off to be using Kiril at level 10, though, having played through three maps with Heroes at level 15+.
Still just as effective, at any rate. Kiril is going to be facing the Necropolis for the bulk of the map, but we're starting off against a small Haven faction. This first part is fairly easy, we can enjoy it while we can.
(Also notice Azkaal's potrait in the lower right instead of Kiril's; error carrying forward from the last map, where Azkaal was the last thing we controlled, or a sign of the dual personalities? Your pick.)
I haven't really talked about building Might Heroes much; despite gushing over some spells like Meditation and Summon Earth Elemental in Irina's and Anastasya's maps, I actually do like Might Heroes a little more. And while they all have access to the same Skills, you can build each faction's Might Heroes slightly differently.
It's fantastic. While all the other demons are running around invading Ashan... we're on this dangerous quest!
Daeva! Even the wizards are afraid of the Necromancers and their dark powers. They'll turn Lord Kiril into a ghoul for attacking their Avatar.
We're going to take them by surprise. Like Daeva said, we're not the only demons invading Ashan.
As you might be able to infer, the Eclipse is in full swing now. Possibly a reason why our gang was able to get out of Sheogh in the first place.
I load up on mainly passive skills on Kiril - he can't make extensive use of spells due to low Mana, and with the Inferno it's generally best to end fights sooner rather than later. While we can't make full use of Assailant since Kiril is Tears, there are other abilities that we can make use of effectively. Counterattack I is nice, as it increases the power of retaliations by about 10%. Since Hell Hounds have Unlimited Retaliation and Eye of Gluttony, this works amazingly well with Drain Life. If you're focusing on Hell Hounds, you don't need to go up any more in the Counterattack line, though they can come in handy for your Maniacs.
Among the few active skills I'm picking up is Heroism. Hell Hounds absolutely love Heroism, as it benefits the Inferno in many ways. Increased Morale means more damage and higher chance of lucky hits, increased Luck means well, more lucky hits, and increased Might damage is just the icing on the cake. More lucky strikes means more Gating, which means even more damage or creatures to soak up retaliation strikes. Heroism, Mass also works well, but with Kiril I tend to favour focusing on single-target buffs, as they are more effective and the Hell Hounds are such great creatures anyway.
There's a Bracers of the Druid early on in the map, which allows one free casting of Regeneration each battle. This is very nice, as it saves Kiril a hefty 25 Mana, and he's barely breaking 80 right now.
Our first Haven town is just around the bend. It is oddly completely undefended, and even comes with a partially build Town Hall, too. Lorhish is also now recruitable at the Hall of Heroes, and he gives +3 Hell Hounds/week.
While Kiril plunders the nearby territory of resources, our town starts off being able to build all three Cores and Tormentors, as well as their upgrades. We've seen Lilim already (which should be one of your first priorities), so let's talk about our other two Core ugrades.
Hey, hey! That Cerberus only has two heads! Stop giving us the run-around, Ubisoft!
When the two heads of a Hell Hound start to bark in chorus, taking on the sound of one ferocious voice, it is a sign that they are gaining the intellectual coordination of a Cerberus, and are now capable of attacking multiple targets at once.
Cerberus Damage: 5-10 (Might) Defense: 7 (16%) Magic Defense: 5 (11%) Health: 32 Initiative: 40 Movement: 7 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 22 Morale: 4 Cost: 185 Growth: 10/week Abilities: Large Creature, Unlimited Retaliation, Eye of Gluttony, Voracious, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
A Cerberus is voracious, and as the saying goes in Sheogh, Two heads are better than one, as long as you have two plates to feed them with. The Cerberus affects multiple targets when they are aligned in front of it: it makes it all the easier to find something to bite.
When the Cerberus attacks or counterattacks, it hits the three tiles directly in front of it (only their primary target can retaliate if possible).
Damage, health, initiative, movement... the Cerberus has almost everything. Even its defenses are solid for a Core creature, and if that wasn't enough, check out that Destiny. Bundle it up with Voracious, and these mutts will chew your opponent alive. To be fair, they have their shortcomings, such as a huge damage range (Flawless Assault is a very attractive skill for the Inferno), being sitting ducks in siege battles (if only Kiril had Teleport!) and their movement and Initiatve being great but not the best. Still, the Cerberus is a strong contender for being one of the best Core creatures in the game statistically. Some might lament their loss of No Retaliation, but I think Unlimited Retaliation might be better - sure they take more damage, but the Eye of Gluttony-Voracious one-two punch makes them very scary to attack if the enemies don't space out well or demolish them in one hit, especially if they have a Drain Life or Heroism.
Maniacs that survive the path of Madness for an extended period of time gain a twisted sense of humor and everything begins to seem either ironic or simply hilarious. This helps them drain resolve and assurance from their opponents. A joke from a Demented is no laughing matter.
Demented Damage: 4-8 (Might) Defense: 8 (18%) Magic Defense: 3 (7%) Health: 23 Initiative: 40 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 16 Morale: 9 Cost: 145 Growth: 11/week Abilities: Twisted Mind, Maniac Laughter, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Maniac Laughter posted:
Defending against a Demented is extremely disconcerting. It attacks a little before or a little after a normal creature would make a blow, making it slightly harder to defend against and giving it the advantage of unpredictability. When its blows come through, they land where their enemies least expect them to fall. This bolsters the Dementeds resolve, and some swear they even heal themselves with the unpredictable misfortune that they cause to their enemies.
Whenever a Demented attacks, it reduces the minimum and maximum damage of their target by 1, and raises theirs by 1. This lasts for 1 turn, but can stack continuously.
The Demented is an odd duck - despite a large damage range and fairly high Initiative, Destiny and Morale, it finds itself in the stange position of being fairly difficult to kill in melee combat rather than as an aggresive frontline creature, thanks to its decent Might Defense and good growth. Maniac Laughter is especially deadly if the Demented can continuously stack it via retaliations or Morale, and multiple stacks of Demented whipping at an enemy stack can rapidly stunt its attack power. Its damage range is large, but it can be made up for with Maniac Laughter (Flawless Assault also helps, and it is a big boon for the Cerberus as well). It doesn't have quite the Movement to really be a first-turn blowout, and it might take a couple turns to really get going with its Laughter (it also only lasts 1 turn, so anything that forces it to send a turn not attacking also resets it count), but it's actually a pretty good creature, though ultimately suffers by being unable to benefit from Heroism. In any other faction it might be an all-star, but sadly alongside the Cerberus and Lilim it's relegated to second-fiddle status.
It looks like we're going to have to take an Imperial Fortress to get into Nelsham's Scar. Ready the legions.
The second Haven town is just to the west.
It doesn't really put up that much of a threat.
Either you tell me what this is or I'll find out another way. My two-headed dogs need six meals a day.
Sharpen your knife, Demon! Every slice of your blade will bring me closer to Elrath and his glory!
You're acting more and more like Azzie, master Kiril. There are more subtle ways...
Xana, what are you doing there? This is Kiril's choice. Umm... creative writing, go!
This castle is part of Salvatore's domain. He's been concoting a plan to destroy the Mother Namtaru, claiming that the Necromancers are in league with the Faceless. That Knight gave me detailed maps of their lands.
How did you convince her to tell you all of that?
Why is the Bull Duchy spying on the Necromancers? You know these lands well enough...
I've orders from Grand Salvatore himself. The Spider must die! The Necromancers are feeding an abomination...
They are dark wizards and friends of the Faceless. Ahh... Please stop. In the name of Elrath. Please...
The Inquisition is looking for the Faceless in the wrong places... or are the Faceless just an excuse?
...I mean no, that's not what happened.
I just told her my story. She believed me.
You told her about your mission to Sheogh? About being betrayed by Angels and being possessed by a Demon?
I let Azkaal tell the last part.
The Haven army is almost routed. They might have one more Hero running about, but they're easily dispatched.
The last Haven Fort is here. There's an Elite creature dwelling here, as well as an Artifact Merchant nearby. The latter is notable because it is pretty much the only one on this map, so we can look out for things like the Emerald Yumi Bow (I didn't get it in this map though).
Speaking of Elite creatures, we can also build the Tormentors' upgrade.
Lacerators are Tormentors that have learned to expulse not only shards of bones from their bodies, but also gastric acids and bile. It is excruciatingly painful for the masochistic Lacerator, but even more so for its victims.
Lacerator Damage: 17-22 (Might) Defense: 14 (28%) Magic Defense: 6 (14%) Health: 80 Initiative: 45 Movement: 6 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 10 Morale: 5 Cost: 615 Growth: 5/week Abilities: Taste of Pain, Exploding Spikes, Dead Flesh, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Exploding Spikes posted:
Stab Lacerator in back or Lacerators back stab you. An old Orc proverb taught to children to remind them to finish a job quickly once it has been started, draws its origin from legendary encounters with Lacerators. These creatures have the extraordinary power to expulse explosive pieces of bone laced with acid from their bodies that cause damage to all those around them.
Exploding Spikes replaces the Tormentor's Retractable Spikes. It is still usable every other turn, but now hits all enemies around the Lacerator and deals 125% of its normal damage.
It should be a given that the Lacerator is very dangerous in melee combat. It's damage only falters against the Kensei, and that's easily made up with Taste of Pain. Exploding Spikes is a great ability, as you're dealing more than normal damage every other turn - they also make solid Gating choices due to being able to shoot off an Exploding Spikes immediately after being Gated. While health is low, their Might Defense isn't too bad and in combination with Dead Flesh, it can take a couple of Might hits. It retaiins its old problems, again, still being extremely vulnerable to shooters and Magical attackers, as it's fraility can be easily abused when it can't fight back. It's a strong offensive creature nontheless. It's just too bad that the Cerberus rips things up so well that there may not be much left for the Lacerators after that get going.
South of the Haven town (the gate opens once you capture it), we start wading into Necropolis territory. The Necropolis can make life hell for Kiril, as Drain Life doesn't work, Kiril doesn't have enough Mana or Magic Power to recover all his losses by Regeneration (the Bracers of the Druid really pull their weight here), and Entice doesn't work on them. The Inferno is also weak defensively on the Magical side, so Specters and Archliches are going to hurt.
The only odd thing about this fight is that the Necropolis town music plays instead of the standard battle music. It happens for a few of the towns on this map. It's almost creepy.
We get this after the map. We need 4 of them to unlock the gate to the Mother Namtaru. There are 3 other Necropolis towns on this map. See where this is going?
We'll do that next time, though.