The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: Heroes VI

by ApplesandOranges

Part 49: Stronghold Campaign, Map Four, Part One

While the traits for free first Hero and increased Movement are staples by now, I pick the bonus for Marketplace (trading is more favourable) instead of Planeswalker (reduced movement cost for Town Portal). It'll come in handy this map.

If anyone can tell me what movie this is in reference to, I'd like to know. The other three maps have been references to movies, so it'd make sense if this was too, but I can't figure it out.

Sandor, brother of Irina, please listen. With the aid of the Dragon Knights we have created a spell of legendary potency - a wave of magic that will run across the land, quenching Chaos magic and weakening the Demon's portals.

It has been many years in the making. But it must be powered by the Tears of Asha, and the blood crystals that we refine into those tears. That is why we fought with Sharka.

Your reasons are excused, but not your methods. Why haven't you used your great magic?

We need one last Tear to complete it...

Ah. Very well. Orcs will help you gather crystals. But as friends. Not slaves.

I'll hand it to the Stronghold campaign - their maps are some of the more unique ones. In the past couple of maps, we've had to choose sides, and play base defense. This time? We're gathering Crystals. How many? A whopping 500. That's all there is to the main objectives. Luckily, there are things to do so we're not just twiddling our thumbs for months on months - all optional, but we have a lot of time to burn, anyway.

Unfortunately, it's also one of the more boring maps. There really isn't much to talk about at all.

Sandor starts off with an Orc town with its Capitol and Castle already built. There are mines nearby, but as you might expect, no Crystal Mine. Airini (or Acamas) starts off already in a boat north of the town. You can just dump her troops back in town and have her scout around - the enemy is almost completely docile.

Naga and Orc scounts both say there are many crystal deposits in these islands. I'll have to secure them and keep an eye out for any oversized fishing lures.

The main priority should definitely be Furies - they make our Harpies so very much better. You should aim for a Marketplace and Town Portal soon after. You don't really have to worry about conserving Crystal at the beginning; town building is more important when you can.

So the Demons are here in force? I must leave my cities well defended, and my crystals beyond their reach. They will learn just how eagerly the Orcs fight them.

There are a few things to keep in mind while we're out collecting Crystal. The first are two One-Way Portals that exit near our town. The first is northeast of our town, and it'll take visiting Inferno Heroes about three days from it to reach our town, plenty of time to mount a defense or Town Portal back. We lose the map if we lose our town, so that's to be noted.

There's an Infero Fort just south of our town - there's a second One-Way Portal exit here. Annoyingly, enemy Heroes can go straight through the Portal and capture the Fort in a single turn. There's an Elite dwelling under its control that you might end up having to convert several times during the map.

There are two Lighthouses you can capture to speed up Airini's travels on the sea. The first is located on the main island itself, and is guarded by a token Centaur stack that you might need Sandor's help to get past. The other is unguarded.

Look, Sandor! Demon Gate opens! Fight soon! Raaaaagh!

The other 'danger' are Inferno portals that spawn every now and then a couple days' travel from one of your Forts. They'll take 10 Crystal to close, and if not closed after a certain amount of time... well, I'm actually not sure what happens, since I've never let it. My guess is just a big Inferno army. But it's easy enough to spare the Crystal and Town Portal to do it, even if you have to trade for it. The Gates keep spawning even if the Inferno faction is wiped out, but they're really easy enough to take care of.

Dilemma. I sacrifice crystals I can close the gate. I keep crystals, I get to fight more and more demons... Nnnn. Difficult choice.

And that's really all there is to the map. Fend off invasions, slowly build up Crystal (we'll get access to Crystal Mines soon enough, or you can just trade Wood/Ore once you're done with building towns), go and wipe out the Inferno faction if you feel like it. But I guess I can talk about it a bit more.

Click here to listen to the conversation!

Huh? I've never heard of it.

Ah. Is why Orcs hate Demons so much. More than Wizards, more than Steel Men.

Tell me.

Happened in first war, when Orcs were created. Not many Orcs, slow to make. Father Sky and Mother Earth very particular about Orcs - what human body is strong enough, how much Demon blood. Not just any mix to make Orcs!

But so few Orcs, and wars go many years. Orcs start to have babies. Children.

But Demons afraid of us. Terrified of us. Never see enemies so dangerous. So fearless. So Demons get smart. Orcs too hard to kill. But not Orc babies. So Demons start to open portals near Orcs towns, sneak into Orc huts, kill our children, kill our babies, kill pregnant Orcs.

Raaaaahhhhhh. Orcs will never forget this. Orcs can never forget this. Demons are the one who take the war to children, who butcher babies. This, Sandor. This Orcs can never, never forget.

Orcs have many enemies. Proud to have enemies. But Demons will always be first enemy, worst enemy. Forever.

Oh, yes. I guess Airini is out killing things too. Stronghold Magic Heroes are harder to play because they don't have any mana conservation moves like Meditiation. Airini also has a fairly poor starting skillset, so I end up relying a lot on Summon Earth/Water Elemental and Idol of Earth/Stone Skin to slowly tank out enemies.

And many, many turns of whittling them down. It's a good thing Airini's attacks are Air based - Dreamreavers' Earth and Sky attacks deal Earth damage, and the only creatures immune to them (Earth Elementals) are weak to Air. So there's something for everyone.

There's also a Ruins near the Fort that rewards a very nice 50 Crystal for clearing it out. A good thing to speed up the process, but you can claim it whenever you want.

There's an Inferno Town on the same island, to the right of the Fort. It's not very heavily defended (you can do most of the legwork using Furies), but it's usually very well built up. Spare enough Crystal to convert it, and you have a fully built, or close to it, Stronghold town to build up creature growth. There's also a Crystal Eyeglass (+1 Crystal/day) just nearby, guarded by Air Elementals - it's our first start to slowly building up our Crystal stores.

Ah, yes. Sandor also hits maximum Reputation, so we can look at the possible rewards we've gotten.

Might Over Magic posted:

Might Over Magic
Tears Might II
Usable once per battle

Reduces all Magical damage dealt to friendly creatures for 2 turns, based on Hero's Might Power and Might Defense. Seems to be more effective on creatures with Demonic Lineage.

Pretty handly, especially Magic has always been the Orcs' Achilles Heel. Our Sandor is so strong that it will usually block all Magic damage for 2 turns (except for Furies and Centarus, since they don't have Orcish blood.)

Power of the Horde posted:

Power of the Horde
Blood Might II
3 turn cooldown

Target enemy stack takes damage based off total friendly army strength. Deals more damage the larger the army.

Gets weaker as the battle goes on, but it's solid damage at the start of the fight, especially if you build up lots of creatures (like Goblins).

Mother Earth's Blessing posted:

Mother Earth's Blessing
Tears Magic II
70 Mana, 5 turn cooldown

Reinforces all creatures in enemey stacks by 23%* for 1 turn. Damage is taken by the extra creatures first. Extra creatures do not remain in the army after combat.

A great way to provide a 'buffer' for your army, if you can spare the steep mana cost.

Father Sky's Wrath posted:

Father Sky's Wrath
Blood Magic II
80 Mana, once per battle

A hurricane strikes the enemy deployment area, dealing 495* Air damage to all stacks in the area and Dazing them for 2 turns.

Used primarily more for the Initiatve boost than anything - the damage it does isn't big, but reducing the initiative of all enemies by 10 the first turn can greatly help with sneak attacks. Obviously, best used straight at the start of the fight.

The other notable thing is that for the first level after you've advanced the reputation, you get a single shot at respecializing and regaining all your skill points. You lose this opportunity once you gain a level, so use your second chance wisely.

I'm building Sandor with an emphaisis on health, like Kiril, but unlike our demonic friend, who favoured mostly offensive passives and buffs like Heroism, Sandor is favouring many active and indirectly defensive abilities, like the Counterstrike line (the Stronghold is one of two factions that don't have creatures with Unlimited Retaliation), and Evasive Maneuvers. Sandor is going to be a busy Barbarian, unless he needs to physically attack to build up more Rage points.

There's also a very nice artifact just near this Inferno town that gives a whopping 2000g/day. You'll have a bit of problem recruiting all your creatures at first, so this definitely will be appreciated.

Airini also manages to claim one of the many scattered Forts around the sea (there are about 7 or so out there). The Inferno never claims them back, so the only concern you'd have for them are the Infernal Gates. There's also a Crystal Mine here, but Sandor will take care of the guarding stack a litte later. (All the Forts save the one directly south of our town have a Crystal Mine in their territory)

Very annoying as the Inferno Hero just captures our Fort like that. We'll have to put a stop to these invasions soon lest we like swatting them off every time (they're immense cowards and will Town Portal away as soon as you get close).

There's a shipwreck in the northwest of the map that fulfills a sidequest, apparently to find the Jolly Roger. We get a Logbook of the Master Sailor for it, which increases sea movement. You'll also notice on the minimap Airini's discovered quite a few Forts, but doesn't have the strength to capture their defending garrisons. No worry, Sandor will take care of it soon.

We'll leave it at that for now, though.