Part 57: Necropolis Campaign, Map Four, Part TwoLast time, we found out that Uriel was the one who killed Slava, to nobody's surprise. Then we found out Aurora wasn't some angel girlfriend, which would be the natural conclusion, but instead, his mother.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Aurora is his mother! I'll kill him!
Uh... who, Anastasya? Who are you going to kill?
Uriel! All of this... the death of my father... my death! So that he could meld me with his mother!
<We should pluck his feathers...>
I know some who would see that as a compliment.
Kaspar! Hold your tongue... or I'll cut it out and feed it to the Lamasu.
<That's the best idea I've heard in...>
First Gerhart, then Uriel... you'd think by now the men of Ashan would learn not to mess with Griffin ladies.
We'll start off this update with the final Necropolis creature.
When a Vampire reaches complete mastery over his new powers, he starts to age backwards, looking one year younger with each new century of unlife. He is now greeted as a Vampire Lord, and joins the ruling council of the Necromancers.
Vampire Lord Damage: 14-16 (Might) Defense: 20 (37%) Magic Defense: 15 (29%) Health: 95 Initiative: 50 Movement: 5 (Teleporting) Range: None Destiny: 9 Cost: 450 Growth: 5/week Abilities: Out of Time, Vampiric Grasp, Undead, Emotionless, Vulnerability to Light
Vampiric Grasp posted:
She stabbed him the belly, and he bit her in the back, the angels healed her everywhere and the Emperor drank to that.
In the tavern song that recounts the epic battle between Amanda and the Vampire Lord Miroul, the Holy Empires Great Inquisitrice is bitten in a different part of her body with each verse. She keeps stabbing the Vampire in the belly to know apparently no avail. She is finally victorious, but few actually get to that fortieth verse in the song before succombing to the ritual of downing their glass along with the Emperor.
Vampire Lords now have a passive 25% Life Drain effect. This stacks with any other forms of Life Drain.
While their offense isn't winning them any favours (they hit as hard as unupgraded Lamasu), Vampire Lords are tough to kill, with solid defenses and health and an powerful innate Life Drain (though again, this is offset by their low damage). The Necropolis love them thanks to their high Initiative (something they really need), and while they aren't killing things very well, they make an excellent way to tie up shooter stacks (unless they're Breeder Mothers or Centaurs). Out of Time is also a nice ability, as it soaks up retaliations or forces an enemy stack to waste an attack. Still, I wouldn't rush out to buy them over other creatures - Putrid Lamasu are better from an offensive standpoint, and the Necropolis already have Necromancy and Life Drain. The standard Vampires will usually tide you over well enough till you start needing the Initiative (which may be sooner rather than later, depending on what opponents you face).
Seriously, Magic Heroes are amazing. I want to say Might Heroes are just as good, and they are definitely compeititve enough at the end-game. But Magic Heroes are just so much better before then. I'd hesitate to fight large stacks of Archliches with Might Heroes unless I can overpower them easily, especially since Intimidation doesn't work on them. But Kaspar just sidles up to them and gives them a slow painful (un)death.
Our second Moon Fragment piece is found here, near the centre of the map.
Now, while I've talked on a bit about how Irina has a pretty good personality (and a good motivating drive for revenge), Anastasya has, arguably, the best story. She's really the only one that grows throughout her campaign, and it actually feels like a story - Towards the Within is devoted essentially entirely to her personal growth. While the 'whodunnit?' portion of the Slava mystery isn't entirely thrilling and Sveltana is as exciting as moldy bread, Anastasya (and her excellent voicing) really makes up for it. If I enjoyed the Necropolis faction more, this campaign would probably be a clear favourite.
The Arena fights are probably the largest armies we'll see on this map. Luckily we can always come back later. I'm not sure if they factor into your Expertise score at the end of the map, since you don't get any experience or lose any Mana or creatures from them. Hmm.
The second of three surface Inferno towns is found around the middle of the north part of the map. It falls just as easily as its underground friends.
One might think that having a good story means that we sacrifice difficulty. Not quite, as I actually think Anastasya has the hardest campaign overall. Her second map is fairly easy, but the special fight at the end of the first fight is fairly tricky (though much more bearable now that the AI no longer auto-dispels), and Miranda is still possibly one of the toughest fights of the game (oddly enough, she's also the only Magic Hero fought at the end of a map, to my knowledge. Maybe the developers actually realized how tough/annoying they can be?) And none of the maps are annoying or feel artifically inflated just to make things harder - you can build strategies around them without trivializing their difficulty.
Since there are no Advanced Marketplaces on this map, you'll want to keep your eye out open for the few powerful artifacts on the map. The Ring of Haste found near the center is a very nice find, as it gives +10 Initiative (which is just gold for a slow army like the Necropolis).
Funnily enough, this was the only time the Inferno actually got close enough to one of my towns that I actually consider it an attack. Ana Town Portals back and sends them packing. And since I'm here, might as well head west and see what we can find.
I've mentioned the few downsides of the campaign, but the most glaring one would be Sveltana. Tatyana Yassukovich just feels very unconvincing; her lines are rushed and wooden, and is just a stark contrast to Nathanson. I haven't watched Alice in Wonderland at the time of writing, so maybe someone can let me know if she was any better as the Red Queen.
As a character, she's not the worst offender, as she does provide a form of support for Anastasya and provides more to the story than Kraal or Xana, but compare her to someone like Gerhart or Uriel and she just doesn't stack up as an important, central supporting character. Luckily it's not such a big deal that it detracts from the campaign, but I think she could have been done better.
Hmm, that looks mysterious... but we can't do anything with it right now.
Heading west from our starting town, there's a Fort just nearby. There's also a shipyard with a small ocean just to its west - we'll send Kaspar on a boat, as there's one specific item that's out at sea.
On a slightly more random note, do you know that Ludmilla (from the Blood Path) appears in the DS spinoff, Clash of Heroes? Heroes V characters like Godric also appear in it. I haven't played it myself, but it's a nice little tidbit of continuity.
There was a wandering Inferno Hero around here, but also our third portal. Let's see what else we can dig up, after another quick Inferno town destroyed...
Where It All Began (Youtube via Polsy)
Michael died? They must have brought him back as a Celestial. First his brother... now his mother.
Wait a minute... a complete devotion to his mother... who seemed to pay much more attention and importance to an older brother...
...Uriel's a Momma's Boy. There are no words.
Three portals down, three to go.
Our third Fragment of the Moon Disc. We're almost there!
What's wrong, Anastasya?
I've learned more... and I'm having second thoughts about killing Uriel. I went back to his mind... he lost his mother and brother to the Faceless... under tragic circumstances.
His soul is in torment, Anastasya, and his mind is beyond healing.
Don't go soft on us, Ana! We know you have a bit of Irina in you.
The last surface Inferno town. I don't remember much of it but I think this one was slightly tougher than the others.
Still doesn't mean much with everything we have at our disposal. Also, I should point out the Necromancy IV racial, which is unlocked at level 25. It's got a powerful heal effect, as you might expect, but the other nice bit is that it heals all friendly Undead creatures in a 3x3 area. You could heal 5 or so stacks in a single swoop!
Our last portal for the day. We seem to be moving forward in time through the memories, so the next glance of Uriel should be sometime closer to the present.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Duke Ishtvan, I present you a gift from the Angels in the name of Elrath.
I'm a duke now. Is that it? Nice sword! Thank you. But don't go thinking I'm going to kneel down to your blasted Elrath for a piece of steel. Men were made to follow Ylath... and as long as I'm alive... we'll continue!
You foul mouthed barbarian! I'll send you straight to the Dragon of Air! You insult Elrath!
Uriel, stop! Apologize!
What? To this Human?
Finally, an Angel with some guts about him! How about christening this lovely sword in some angel blood. I'll proudly hang your wings over my hearth.
That will not be necessary, Duke Ishtvan. We have sworn an oath to protect your life. We cannot draw arms against the Dukes of the Holy Falcon Empire.
Now that's a shame, Archangel Sarah. With the demons locked up in Sheogh... and the angels as our allies, it's going to be hard to find a good fight anymore!
The demons will return... and the Faceless won't remain in hiding forever.
Ishtvan Griffin! They've been planning this for centuries. Why?
You know, have the Faceless actually done anything to provoke this resurgence of the war? I mean, Jorgen wasn't doing anything malicious and the dead Angels had Anton root him out... and they made the comb that controlled Anastasya, but Uriel's the one who used it... and okay, I guess Mukao was kidnapping Angels and using Dark Magic to hide it. I'll give them that.
We'll wrap up this map next time. Things are coming to a head!