Part 75: Bestiary, Neutral Creatures, Part ThreeI'll refrain from posting the next update till the next page to avoid stretching too much, but I might as well make it a meaningful post by finishing up the neutral creatures.
Bestiary - Neutral Creatures, Part Three
Inhabitating most of the forests of Ashan, these noble predators use their speed and pack tactics to hunt. Contrary to the bloodthirsty Dire Wolves, Timber Wolves usually stay away from people, but have been known to attack lonely travelers, especially during harsh winters when game becomes rare. Wolves howl at the moon, and are thus often believed to be servants of Asha in folklore and legends.
Hunger increases the Timber Wolf's movement by 2 in the first turn of the battle.
Timber Wolf Damage: 4-6 (Might) Defense: 4 (9%) Magic Defense: 4 (9%) Health: 25 Initiative: 35 Movement: 4 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 5 Morale: 5 Abilities: Hunger, Living
Timber Wolves are the only Core neutral creature, and they're pretty boring all around - decent damage, health and moderate defenses and initiative, but otherwise nothing noteworthy.
In the Holy Empire, Dire Wolves are among the most feared predators of the wild. The ruthless warriors of the Wolf Duchy have chosen this bloodthirsty beast as their blazon animal, and they have learned to train them into efficient, if somewhat unreliable companions for their hunting parties, and of course, for war.
Ferocity allows the Dire Wolf to attack twice, the second attack happening after any retaliations.
Dire Wolf Damage: 14-18 (Might) Defense: 15 (29%) Magic Defense: 11 (23%) Health: 70 Initiative: 40 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 10 Morale: 10 Abilities: Large Creature, Hunger, Ferocity, Living
Dire Wolves are larger than their Core bretheren. They have solid damage, Might Defense and good Destiny and Morale, but are let down by low health. Ferocity, first seen on the Wolf in HoMM IV, helps to almost double their offensive prowess.
In the year 512 YSD, the Wizards of the Seven Cities created the Beastmen as guards, servants, and playthings. Half-humans and half-dolphins, the Mermaids were originally used to guard, scout, and sail the Wizards coasts. Unfortunately, the lands of the Silver Cities being mainly deserts meant that most Mermaids saw very little water, gradually devolving into little more than striking pets for preening masters. As a result, though the Mermaids did not take an active role in the Orc Revolts, they were more than happy to disappear in its aftermath. Since then they have lived more or less freely in the seas, having few natural predators and even fewer cares. In one thing they are implacable, however: their hatred of the Wizards and distrust of all land dwellers. Only the Naga and the wisest and most respectful of sea captains may hope to gain the grudging respect of these flighty and dangerous creatures.
Daughters of the Sea gives the Mermaid a 20% passive reduction from Might damage.
Mermaid Damage: 13-18 (Magical, Water) Defense: 10 (21%) Magic Defense: 12 (25%) Health: 85 Initiative: 40 Movement: 4 (Walking) Range: Full Destiny: 10 Morale: 9 Abilities: Daughers of the Sea, Siren Song, Tidal Wave, Vulnerability to Air, Resistance to Water, Amphibian, Living
Siren Song prevents enemy stacks directly next to them from taking an offensive action against them. This does not prevent stacks from moving from outside directly next to them to next to them and attacking, nor does it prevent them from attacking other Mermaid stacks.
Tidal Wave summons a tidal wave that inflicts the Soaked status (+20% damage from Air attacks for 2 turns) on all enemy stacks and pushes small stacks back 1 tile. The AI seems to rarely, if ever use Tidal Wave.
The Mermaid is similiar to Sanctuary creatures, having all their strengths (and weaknesses) of them. They have a decent array of specials (Siren Song is an interesting mechanic if nothing else) and are an alright shooter with high health, but a large damage range and poor defenses prevent them from being a serious threat most of the time.
The Phoenix is a primordial spirit related to the Life aspect of Asha, and as such, intimately related to the full moon. It embodies the primal lifeforce, immortal, ever-reborn. If a Phoenix dies in the material world, its spirit does not depart immediately back to its moon-nest, but rather materialises again as a rejuvenated Phoenix, who moves with the zest and velocity of a shooting star. During this rebirth process, a part of its original power is instantly subsumed into the pure light. It is for this reason that, although this miracle is quite an amazing sight, it is something best viewed from a distance.
Death Ward immunizes the Phoenix from all spells of the Blood alignment, including non-damaging ones. This includes creature abilities (like the Water Elemental's Ice Bolt).
Phoenix Damage: 55-63 (Magical, Prime) Defense: 27 (45%) Magic Defense: 42 (63%) Health: 220 Initiative: 55 Movement: 6 (Flying) Range: None Destiny: 10 Morale: 7 Abilities: Large Creature, Moonfire Aura, Death Ward, Rebirth, Living
Rebirth heals the Phoenix for a moderate amount of health and deals a small amount of Prime damage to all surrounding stacks. Usable once per battle. The ability is automatically used if the Phoenix stack is wiped out before the ability is used.
Moonfire Aura causes enemies engaging the Phoenix in melee or being attacked by the Phoenix to take additional Prime damage.
Before I talk about the Phoenix's stats, it should be noted that all sources of Prime damage in the game, including the Phoenix's regular attacks, Rebirth and Moonfire Aura, cannot be healed in any way. This means any stacks killed by the Phoenix are permanently dead.
The Phoenix is unfortunately not recruitable (though can be brought into our party temporarily in some of the later campaigns), but is a very solid Champion creature. Damage is excellent (only beaten outright by the Cyclops), it ties for the highest Initiative in the game, and has ridiculously high Magical Defense, along with an immunity to any harmful Magical spells. The only thing holding the Phoenix back is its low health and an average movement, allowing powerful ranged creatures to pick it off (which should be your strategy against them, to avoid the unhealable Moonfire Aura). Rebirth is annoying, but ultimately the resurrected stack is usually easy enough to kill again. Magical Heroes will hate fighting them, but overall they are a tough, but manageable creature in the field.