Part 16: Day 17: Dredge Army (Second Half)
Before hurling ourselves into the second half of this battle, let's take a breather.
This is bad. Unless I get lucky and a day passes before the next half of the battle, I'm going to be going into this one with several injured units.
On the other hand, we got a shitload of Renown, so let's spend some of it to prepare for the impending bloodshed.
Mogr promotes, earning a point of Exertion and a point of Strength to complement his Armor.
Yrsa promotes, sinking two points into Break, making Slag & Burn even more deadly.
Bersi promotes, reaching my usual 2 Exertion/Break.
Ludin promotes for a point of Break and a point of Armor.
As team leader, Hakon gets the honor of promoting to rank 3, sinking two full points into Strength. He's become a true monster, with the highest Strength of anyone on my force backed by a still-solid 11 Armor.
For reaching Rank 3, Sundering Impact improves. At Rank 1, the skill does a Strength attack at +1 Strength and Armor damage, with no chance to deflect, and Heavy Impact does 1 Armor damage in addition to the usual 1 point of Strength damage to adjacent targets. At Rank 2, the initial hit is the same, but adjacent targets take 1 Armor damage and 2 Strength damage.
I think we'll be able to manage this even with injured troops. Back to the road!
Crossing my fingers here...
This is exactly the sort of lucky break I could use right now!
You tell him to report to Mogr. "I don't sit in the back lines. Make a mistake and you'll get your head caved in. Nobody'll lose sleep over it." He nods and goes to speak with Mogr.
And a day passes before we reach the village! That should mitigate some of our injuries - we might even be able to field a full decent team here.
You send your shieldbangers forward to get their attention. Before long the dredge have gathered, ready for a fight.
If I hadn't gotten Griss, or if it was still day 17, I might have formed formations, but now I'm feeling cocky again.
I only have to deploy one injured hero, and Eirik's special means he can stay useful while avoiding the front lines. If I was playing on Hard, things would be getting ugly about now. To war!
On the left, two Scourges and a Grunt. On the right, one Stoneguard and one Grunt. This battlefield gives us next to no room to adjust our starting positions.
Well, let's go, I guess.
After peering at the turn order for a while, I decide to go with an immediate charge to the west. It's going to cost us a lot of Willpower, but our army is in good morale and we have Eirik, so we can afford that right now.
The Stoneguard goes first, lumbering towards my army. We outnumber the enemy 6 to 5, so he'll get to go again before Mogr's next turn.
Hakon's 16 Strength have made him a serious monster - I didn't burn ANY will on that hit. He can almost break through a Stoneguard's defense without damaging its armor at all.
The northern Scourge advances, but doesn't reach anyone.
Gunnulf has recovered, but I'm actually finding Bersi to be more my style. On the other hand, Bersi is attached to Ludin, while Gunnulf works for me, so I know which one I'll trust to stick with me to the end.
The Scourge falls back to take a shot at summoning. Hakon will act before he finishes, so I'll have to make that decision.
Goal number one is to get everyone on the west front weak enough to not be a real threat to my army.
I could have still hit both of them while placing the coals on the right, but I figured that the most likely person to suffer from that would be Griss, not any of them.
I may have reconsidered that if I had checked movement ranges before attacking, though. Yrsa is suddenly in danger, which changes a lot of things.
Griss is built like Iver, which makes me very happy. He should work well with Ludin (who is unfortunately absent), due to the Impale/Battering Ram combo.
For now, his job is to keep Yrsa from being in danger.
The second Grunt moves our way, but he's so distant that he might as well not exist right now.
Eirik can't reach anything, but he's injured anyway, so his job in this fight will be pouring more resources into stronger warriors.
The Stoneguard has closed the line, a bit faster than I was hoping for! Fortunately, he chose the worst possible action: Using Kindle on a Shieldbanger with an enemy at his back. Because Griss has no room to fall back, he doesn't move, only taking 1 Armor damage and hitting the Stoneguard back for another 1 Armor damage.
Revitalized by Eirik's rally, Mogr knocks a big chunk of Strength off of the stronger Stoneguard, dropping it to 7.
7 Strength is something of a magic number right now - Yrsa is my most vulnerable character with 6 Armor, so once I drop someone to 7 Strength, it's impossible for them to do more than 1 Strength damage to anyone without tapping into Willpower.
Offensive options denied, the Scourge falls back (taking 2 damage from coals) and starts summoning.
You know, I've been playing these battles very conservatively, but basically every time I've let a Scourge finish summoning, it's ruined my day. Let's rush this fight.
I can tell things are going my way when Yrsa is deflecting attacks.
The shfiting turn order means that the Stoneguard is going to act before Griss, so Yrsa needs protection. I'd kill the Grunt, but that would push the Stoneguard to before Yrsa as well, which I very much don't want.
As it turns out, I needn't have worried - the second Grunt advanced far enough to deny the Stoneguard its movement. I had the two Grunts confused on the turn order; Bersi's turn would've been better spent killing the other Scourge before it summoned.
Yrsa drops another S&B, neutering the threat from both enemies on the eastern front. Thanks to her promotion, that does 3 Armor damage to the Stoneguard, and thank to Splinter, it does another 1 Armor damage to the Grunt.
Instead, Griss pushes the Stoneguard down to below the Magic Number. 6 is slightly better than 7, even, because it means that not only can it not break 1 damage, but it's running Deflect chances on every Strength attack.
As Griss puts a dent in the Stoneguard, the new Grunt spawns... on the southeast edge of the battlefield! Nice and far away, right where I like it. A good turn of events, for once.
Eirik falls back from it, granting 2 Willpower to Griss with Rally. The newcomer advances, but accomplishes nothing.
I'm just gonna keep up the pace with murder. These guys don't stand a chance.
A Grunt works on beating Griss down, but he's a Shieldbanger, so that's going to take a while. This doesn't change our Magic Number.
With a little help from the Horn, Hakon is able to reach and kill the new Grunt in a single attack.
The other Grunt pokes at Griss, losing a point of Strength to coals in the process.
Bersi kills a Grunt, but I missed the screenshot for it.
Griss is finally into the danger zone - his Armor's down to four.
A quick Slag means that even with four Armor, neither of them can meaningfully hurt Griss.
So naturally, he's reduced to two!
And that's zero! Maybe you should have gone for some Strength damage, bro.
And Bersi scores the last kill.
You take a moment to survey the battlefield. The enemy is being pushed back all the way down the line.
Zero casualties! We haven't even taken any substantial Strength damage!
Let's go for broke.
You attack any dredge still brave enough to face you!
The reinforcements are one Stoneguard and one Scourge. My plan: Blitz down the Scourge, then use Pillage to gang up on the Stoneguard.
Eirik stays where he is, pumping more Willpower into Hakon. The Stoneguard and Mogr both advance, neither of them reaching the front lines.
The gameplan changes when I realize that that's no Scourge - it's a Dredge Warrior. Its abilities are the same as a Scourge, but it has 12 Armor and 18 Strength. I'm going to need to be VERY careful with my approach, especially with how many turns it's getting.
The Stoneguard at least takes a point of Coals damage on his approach. This is good - I'm facing two very dangerous foes.
So, time to start wearing them down!
This is fantastic - there's exactly one tile here from which I can Slag the Warrior without bringing Yrsa into his attack range. The coal placement also does a good job of protecting Hakon.
I think I have to accept that Griss is going down here. I'm the one who challenged them to a harder fight, so I don't mind taking a casualty.
So instead, Griss will do what Armor damage he can before he goes down.
Ow. Even though the coals, ow.
New plan: We kill the Stoneguard as fast as we can.
Eirik makes his first attack of the battle!
Down goes Griss. He did well.
Someone is going down on the Warrior's next turn, too. The only question is whether it's Yrsa or Bersi.
Mogr gets the kill on the Stoneguard. One more attack from him, then the Pillage begins!
Yup, it's Bersi.
Hakon unfortunately had to walk through a tile of Coals to get here.
Even if he does get another turn at this point, he's weak enough that I'm not going to lose another hero.
And he doesn't!
Total losses for the two-part war: 14 varl, 5 humans. We killed nearly a thousand Dredge, and didn't lose so much as twenty warriors.
We're a badass army.
The wounded are gathered, and you head towards what is left of the village ahead.