Part 24: Mission 10: Stratholme's Illustrious Dental PlanEpisode 10: The Prisoners or Stratholme's Illustrious Dental Plan
: Varin, I want you to stop and listen to yourself.
: He's a very capable leader, I'm sure nothing will go-
: Why would you leave Ruku in charge of the prisoners!?
: Well, since General Lothar is busy, we're to oversee this transport and-
: We could have left... somebody! Anybody else! Get a rock and draw an angry face on it! I'm certain that would be far more reliable.
: You're overreacting.
Elsewhere, south of Strathholme...
: Oy, ye th' sorry lots what tried ta betray us? ...Dun look tha' tough ta me.
The Alterac peasants are special in that they are incapable of anything. Y'know, in case you got some sort of funny idea of making this mission a little less tedious.
: Ah! I got jus' th' thing!
Back at the ruins of Stratholme...
: Yeah, pretty sure there was a town and everything last time I visited.
: What could have reduced the great Stratholme to this?
: Well, judging by the lack of... anything... the orcs have been through here.
: They even carted off the wood? I've never known an orc to be so cunning.
: Yeah, or maybe he was a worrywart who wanted a huge stockpile "just in case."
: As much lumber as they can carry! You never know when we'll need it!
: 'Dis be a bit excessive.
: Just in case, Maggy! Now, chop, chop!
Back to the present...
: Good one, Gaz. At least there's a surplus of food stocks here.
: You might want to check again, Captain.
: We have reserves set aside for the prisoners!? Why can't we just... I don't know, eat those?
: Rules are rules. You can't fight the crown when it comes to the ethical treatment of prisoners of war.
: But... but... they haven't even arrived yet!
: My men have set up a small logging station to the west, hoping to lay claim to the remnants of the surrounding forests.
This is the actual challenge of this map. You have limited lumber resources and you're required to use a number of lumber-heavy units to actually complete the objective (bringing the Alterac prisoners to Stratholme).
: I'll take care of naval affairs. In order to reach Ruku's position, we'll have to traverse much of the inlet here.
: Uuh, speaking of which... We crossed the mountains here. We don't exactly know much of the area.
: That's why we hire gnomes.
: Glad to see that there are some midgets you can rely on.
: Woah. Let's try and be nice to them here. I think they prefer to be called "little people."
: I think they prefer to be called "gnomes."
: Well there's some trouble. We can't sail straight to Ruku's position.
: Figures. Wait. How did Ruku get himself in there anyway?
: Race ye up those mountains! If ye beat me, I'll let ye go free!
Back at base...
: I hate dwarves.
: The scouting report, Gaz?
: Hm? Oh, sorry. I had the sudden urge to roast an alcoholic.
: Some very minor orcish resistance across the strait. Ho, hum...
: Minor? Gaz...
: Would you call that minor?
: I shoot fire from my fingertips, turn alcohol into a powerful laxative, and cause the heavens in open up in a destructive winter storm; I consider everything minor.
: ...What was that middle one?
: Varin, I'm trying to give a scouting report here.
: Now then, there's a channel leading to the prisoners...
: Pretty sure you said something about a laxative.
: ...with heavy defenses at all sides. Patrols seem to be...
: That would certainly explain several odors along the march.
: ...very active, including 'round-the-clock surveillance.
: Now, Gaz, we have to- Orcs! Men! To arms!
So, funny story. I tend to rush out that flying machine as fast as possible. Of course this makes me a little slow when it comes to actual fighting units. At the time of this attack I had exactly zero defenses. Prepare to watch magic happen.
: ...we don't have any men.
: ...uh, oh.
: Ugh. You, there! Laborers! We're giving out free dental to whoever takes down those orcs!
: Wait, what?
: Relax. They're as good as dead.
: Oh, son of a bitch. Uh... That one doesn't count! It was a troll!
: Damn, they raise 'em tough up here in Stratholme.
: I am not paying for this. Get me one of those ballista. Harold's got himself some new friends.
: Gaz, look at this rationally.
: ...their average lifespan is like... 15 years.
: Who wants some relatively laxative-free alcohol on me!?
: Alright, I've got the transports set up. This could be a little complex...
This level was interestingly designed at the time, and to my mind, actually still a cool design. Let me get out my little map here...
Image 1 is the map fully explored. You'll note a distinct lack of resources for a long, drawn out battle. The enemy forces are very minimal, but there's more to conquer in way of terrain than anything else.
In Image 2, I've circled the prisoners' area and their goal area of Stratholme. Due to a lack of air transport in this game, you're forced into finding another way to get them to the Circle of Power.
That brings us to Image 3. You'll note that we have to land a crew on the small land bridge, and construct another Shipyard there to build transports for the prisoners. Of course, there's still the gauntlet of towers to run...
: You did see that orcish transport, right?
: The what?
: Damn it.
: I've got it covered. I gave some of those woodcutters some spare armor and weapons. I figure if they're on the front lines...
: I have serious ethical concern with that. However, I do believe it's time to bombard some orcs, so I'll let it slide.
: Woo! Unethical workplace malfeasance!
: Uh, Varin? Who did you hire for that job?
: ...No one can bombard a shore like Ruku ever could.
: Shhhshhh... something cool is happening.
: What are you doing?
: I've got a bet going with Gary about who's going to live.
: Damn. Looks like I'm out 50 silver.
: How could you bet on human live- ...wait, is that Gary?
: Yeah, why?
: Because then your bet doesn't make any sense!
: What? Of course it does!
: If Gary bet that he lived then it wouldn't matter if he... If you won the bet then... I... HOW IS A WIZARD THIS STUPID!?
: Whatever. Look, those orcs have different markings from the ones at the shore.
: Another clan, then.
: I think it's time to find them.
: Weren't these the orcs that aided my father's murderer?
: He didn't murder your father.
: He murdered his political career!
I love this so much. I've never played this map long enough to see if the Death Knight actually leaves the Stormreaver base, but he's definitely a focal point and stands out as the "leader" of the group. Makes sense since the Stormreavers are Gul'dan's clan. It's just a nice little touch that Blizzard carries over to later games, and was rarely seen at the time.
: Ah, and that is... ahh...
: By the fucking Light. What is that?
: I recall the orcs using reanimated corpses in the First War...
: No. Not like this. The magic radiating from it is... powerful.
: Maybe if we landed some battleships nearby, we could-
: I'm thinking "no."
: Alright, then let's get Ruku and the prisoners up here before we start thinking about a strike against them.
: Glad to see we went with competent helmsmen this time around.
: Perfect. I'll ready the landing party.
: Small problem.
: We are amazingly poor.
: What? Where did all of our gold go?
: Well, the gold mine collapsed, we constructed those ships, I owe Gary a couple hundred gold, we have to train-
: You're gambling our war funds!?
: Relax. I found another gold mine nearby.
Note the mountains blocking building placement.
: Ugh. This is awful! Now they have to march all the way across the base.
: Eh, I say we let 'em earn those new pearly whites.
: I thought we nipped that in the bud.
: They unionized.
: At least we've got a landing force ready. Prepare to land!
: Send Gary, too.
: Fine, I'll send Gary.
: Can you get him on the front lines for me, too?
: Like get one of the paladins to use him as a shield or something.
: Battle's over.
: WHAT!? Gary didn't get hurt or anything!
: It was a small force.
: Small force? Dis you forget about the juggernaut?
: Oh... right.
: Come to think of it, isn't it Ruku who's always reminding us to bring along siege weaponry?
: He says that when you get up to go to the latrines.
: ...Oh, yeah. Stupid subconscious dwarven humor.
: Heh. Y'know, it's actually pretty funny.
: Can we just blow this thing up already?
: Good. Done. Moving on. No more jokes about it.
: I can't believe you choose now to lose your sense of humor.
: I hope Gary get's crushed beneath a falling timber putting that shipyard together.
: ...do you owe Gary more money?
: I really don't want to get into the specifics of it.
: It's more than a few gold, isn't it?
: I'm just saying... when we take Stormwind back, do we really need to give it back to Prince Varian?
: You can't promise him that!
: I have a serious gambling problem.
: Can we just secure the canal for Ruku to pass through?
: Why doesn't he just try and run it? I'm sure he'll be fine.
: This is going to take forever.
And it totally did.
: We've got the transport lined up and stocked with irons.
: I'm not looking forward to seeing Ruku again.
: 'Oi! Welcome back, lads!
: Ruku what's on their faces?
: Aye, they were too wimpy ta be traitors! So I crafted 'em some beards!
: I'm not sure that this is a fair treatment of prison-
: DO NOT CARE. BOAT. GO.
: 'Ay, Gaz, ye in a hurry? Need ta hit th' lil' mages room? Dun forget ta bring a siege weapon with ye!
: I hate him so much.
: What are those fake beards held on with?
: Aahhh, so good ta be back with "th' gang."
: We are not a gang.
: Ah, let 'im go, Cap'n. 'E's got 'is lil' magical underwear in a bunch. Now I'll jus' steer us ta Stratholme and we'll be on our-
: Who let you steer?
: Well, I am a nat'ral helmsman.
: Like Nether you are! Give me that wheel.
: 'Oi! What d'ye think ye're doin'?
: Steering us to base!
: All yours, Admiral Ruku!
: When th' goin' gets tough, the mages turn tail, eh?
: You have to admit, he's quite the seaman.
: Can't say I trust a seafaring dwarf.
: You don't trust any dwarves.
: My point still stands.
: 'Ey! We landed!
: Can we make these traitors walk any faster?
: They're shackled, Gaz.
: An' they've got beards stuck on their faces.
: You two seen Gary?
: Gary? Why?
: 'E owes me some gold. 'E bet tha' I couldn't get ya ta leave me in charge o' th' prisoners.
: That Gary has a serious issue with gambling.