Part 56: Necropolis Campaign, Map Four, Part OneSorry for the slower rate of updates lately - things have been going on. But that's neither here or now, and on with the show. We're kicking off Anastasya's final map.
Kiss of the Spider (YouTube via Polsy)
Well, there's no going back now.
The demons have come here for a reason.
The Dragon Veins hold great power. I can only imagine the worst.
We're back to fighting Demons on this map. This means that Drain Life and Agony work again. For the 6 or 7 level ups Anastasya has left, you'll want to cherry-pick some important skills - raising Magic Power is very potent, and if she doesn't have an offensive spell yet, picking up Chain Lightning or Circle of Winter is a good idea (Blizzard gives better bang than CoW, but has a wonky hitbox). And if you don't have them yet, Mass Regeneration and Stone Skin are good ideas.
Anastasya starts off with a moderately built up Necropolis town. We can already hire upgraded Skeletons and Ghouls, and the base Ghost and Lich buildings are already built. Both Ana and Kaspar also start with upgraded Skeletons and Ghouls. Our main focus, as always, should be Archliches - Fate Spinner/Weavers should be next, then we can focus on the rest.
Our enemy, the Inferno, controls nine towns and three Forts - seven towns are underground, located via Sheogh portals. Anastasya's mission is to go down each portal, marked on the mini-map, and destroy the town. We can go either north or west to start with. We'll head north first, jsut because we can.
Kaspar is probably our most competent secondary Hero. He gets all the Ghosts, since they can do decent damage under his alright Magic Power, and he also picks up Circle of Winter, which is great for wiping out multiple enemies at once, similiar to Fire Ball. He has no trouble with clearing all but the hardest neutral stacks.
Surprisingly, I'm hit with a wandering Inferno Hero as soon as I leave my territory. He's laughably weak (Mass Agony almost wipes him out in a single turn).
As an aside, Anastasya gets a secondary quest to recruit 1000 Skeletal Spearmen (starting Skeletons don't count). You won't have to, though the reward is a nice +3 Magic Power. It usually serves as a nice barometer of how far you should be - if you hit around 600-700 Skeletal Spearmen, you should be strong enough to walk over the map.
North, we can find our first Inferno Fort (which also controls a creature dwelling), and our first Fragment of the Moon Disc. The Necropolis is the last faction to get its Tear of Asha building, so let's hope it's something better than the more lackluster ones we've seen lately.
Our targets are those red glowing portals. Note also that the Dragon Veins and Mana Vortexes have turned red - while the portals nearest to them are active, we can't make use of them. You should have no problem keeping up with Mana, incidentally, as Mana Vortexes are all over the place.
Those portals lead to strongholds in Sheogh itself. I must destroy them.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
A Dragon Knight!
Let my introduce you to my mother, Duchess Cate of Griffin.
Greetings Kaspar. Sveltana speaks highly of you.
I'm... honoured. Your daughter... Anastasya... is quite remarkable.
Have you heard from Kiril?
Yes... We need to talk... Might I have a moment alone with my daughter, Wizard Kaspar?
A moment later...
Your mother is a Dragon Knight? I thought they had all disappeared.
So did I... until a few months ago. Mother says the angels are planning something desperate.
I guess you're the unliving proof of that.
I think that's why she wanted to see me. To see the full extent of their desperation.
The portals are all similiar - they lead to an underground area with some resources, a Mana Vortex, and sometimes a stat boost or two, with the Inferno town at the end. Anything underground is essentially a one-way trip; once you conquer the Inferno town, Ana is teleported back up and you can't get to them anymore. So if you want anything down there, get it now.
The underground Inferno towns are usually fairly easy, despite our weak army at the moment, as they're usually guarded by a Might Hero (some of them aren't even guarded by a Hero). Time Stasis/Regeneration/Mass Agony should usually be enough to handle them (take our Breeder Mothers first so they'll stop sapping your Mana). You shouldn't even need the Sacrifice trick.
What have they done to the Dragon Vein? I can feel it throbbing in my head...
How curious... They seem to be concentrating chaotic magic directly into the vein, channeling its raw power back to Sheogh.
I'm getting strange images in my mind... It's... Wait... the comb. I...
The Pretty Comb transforms into this at this point. +8 Magic Power? Geez. And a free casting of Puppet Master each battle? Don't mind if I do.
Anastasya... do you feel better? You lost consciousness... I tried salts, but...
I took a journey into someone's mind... an angel's. Uriel killed my father!
SHOCKING PLOT TWIST!
Really, did nobody see that coming?
Anastasya is transported back up to the surface (you don't even get to keep the Inferno town you conquer), and we move on.
Our next step is take out one of the surface Inferno towns. This one is guarded by a pesky Magic Hero with a penchant for Fire Ball/Chain Lightning.
Luckily, we're a Magic Tears Hero, which means we can easily take her out with no losses, after a week's worth of reinforcements.
Now, if Ana was a Might Hero, this map would be much more difficult. But as long as you have Mass Regeneration, it's still not too bad, especially due to the Necropolis having a natural recovery racial (Necromancy).
We also have two Elite creatures to upgrade. Let's start with the Lamasu's.
Certain parasites are immune to the innate disease that the Lamasu propagates throughout its body, and develop a mutually beneficial relationship with their host over time. They feed off of all that the Lamasu kills or that expires in its presence, and in return, the Lamasu sometimes direct them into a swarm to use them as a weapon. These vermin-infested creatures are known as Putrid Lamasus.
Putrid Lamasu Damage: 14-18 (Might) Defense: 16 (31%) Magic Defense: 16 (31%) Health: 85 Initiative: 30 Movement: 7 (Flying) Range: None Destiny: 7 Cost: 445 Growth: 7/week Abilities: Large Creature, Aura of Putresence, Contagion, Breath of Vermin, Undead, Emotionless, Vulnerability to Light
The Putrid Lamasu carries a strain of a natural disease that is infectious. The only way to rid oneself of the deadly contagion is to sleep, something that is extremely difficult during a full-fledged battle. The discovery of the cure was immortalized by the Sun Crusader, Lord Kilburn, after a legendary victory over the Archlich Mironor. Praise Elrath, we have won... and now all of you! Find a safe place to take a nap!
The Putrid Lamasu not only carries a natural Aura of Putresence, but affected creatures now also emit an Aura of Putresence that affects adjacent allies for as long as they are affected by the disease (3 turns). This Aura stacks with the Putrid Lamasu's own Aura.
Breath of Vermin posted:
Wherever the Putrid Lamasu stalks, those who live off the dead stalk with it. A host of small vermin often accompany the beast, living both within its body and its oily fur. These parasites can be directed into a swarm and used as a weapon against an enemy. Its effects are devastating, and as one naga poet wrote, ...like an ugly gutter cat salting and peppering its next meal.
Breath of Vermin is usable every three turns. It lowers the Might Power and Might Defense of the target stack and all adjacent enemy stacks to it by 5, and inflicts minor Earth damage to them every turn for 3 turns.
Putrid Lamasus are alright. They get better at spreading Contagion, and an improved Movement means they can fly to the other side of the battlefield (provided the enemy has Tactics II). Breath of Vermin is a good way to soften up enemy stacks for your melee units. Overall, they're an okay creature, if still lacking in Initiative. Everything I said about Lamasu still applies here.
The second Fort is found to the west of that town. There's also an Abyssal Worm that we won't visit just yet, as it will be very important near the end of the map. The second portal is found north of here.
Oh Chain Lightning. So deadly even when you're being used by a Tears Hero.
By the way, these scenes are played as you destroy portals. None of them are tied into any particular portal. If we'd started from the west, we'd have gotten the same scenes as we destroyed portals.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
War is coming. I must go.
Promise me to stay close to Michael. Your brother is strong and audacious, he is a sword but you have always been his shield. Together you are invincible.
The Faceless are treacherous and conniving... but Elrath will watch over us. And your sons will come home.
Mother, I swear it!
Well, that sounds like a good stopping point. Till next time, when we find out more of this delicious drama.