The Let's Play Archive

Warlock 2: The Exiled

by JcDent

Part 3: Razor-1

While that wasn't an invitation for a vote (sorry), I'm willing to use the names in the future. As you'll find out in the update (it's lame, I'm sorry, blame dentists), it might be thematically fitting.

Another thing: next update will likely be Friday or Saturday, depends how spent I feel after a bit of tourism.

Chapter 2: Razor-1

“I named my last capital Lichopolis. Lichgrad is entirely within the accepted realm of Svart city naming, as far as I’m concerned”

“Now then, let us make inventory of what you have. I already spotted a small farm from my tower and some sort of stone barracks”

“It’s ferrocrete, sir, and it’s called the hall of prospectors. How did you erect the tower, anyway?”

“That’s just a great mage procedure. Easy to do if you don’t have a tower, but mages rarely get to repeat it, as few survive the destruction of their original one. Moving the tower is a pain, I can tell you that”

“But enough about that. What forces are at our discretion”

“Well, we do have a company of Honorable Warriors”

"From early childhood every Honourable Svart is prepared to serve in the army, learning tactics and the strategy of war and how to wield one-handed, two-handed, and throwing hatchets, axes, halberds and hammers.

Upon coming of age, Honourable Svarts are for the first time dressed in their ancestral armour and sent to the barracks of the Guard.

Guardsmen are particularly proud of the fact that even though their equipment with heavy armour, shield and axe is somewhat outdated, this has not affected their military performance. In modern battles Honourable Warriors are dangerous and valuable, just as they were hundreds of years ago."

(from "Chronicles of New Worlds" written by Master Vardies Teleran)

“Honorable warriors? Are they any good, for all their honor? How are they armed?”

“You misunderstand. ‘Honorable warriors’ is their title. In Svart, the name is a filled with meaning and purpose, lord wizard. It’s a very traditional formation formation of troops. Svarts in plate armor with axes and shields. Not a very modern approach but they do”

“The ones we have are part of my original band of exiles. I am their captain. We defended the people on our way here, and dangers were many indeed. We took on a few recruits for the few… spare sets armor we had after our trek, but burnouts aren’t really that enthusiastic about anything. Lord”.

“You keep calling these troops old fashioned, even though Ardania sees swords and plate armor as all the rage. Well, maybe we’re not using shields as much nowadays, but at goblins still fight with spears that are little better than pointy sticks”

"If goblins had been the only forces I had, I might not have won against the Dremer. Luckily, werewolves were there and horrible, reality bending elven sky ships"

"So, what would Svarts consider to be a more 'modern' units?"

"Being a Prospector is an honourable and interesting occupation. In search of valuable resources and convenient locations for mining, Prospectors often walk thousands of miles without returning home for years. No wonder their motto is 'Prospect and Seek, Find and Mine!'"

(from "Chronicles of New Worlds" written by Master Vardies Teleran)

“Well, the Prospectors are the most modern forces that came with us. Before the Dremer they used to travel far and wide in search for resources. When Dremer invaded, they were used to scout out gates. The crows helped a lot, but we still needed to arm them for self defense… and harassing Dremer, of course”

“So they got these Mark IV crossbows! It’s a good design, very easy to make, sturdy, too. Now the other part…”

“The other part is Marksman Sprocket Arm. I don’t really understand how it works – I was a warrior and a leader, not an engineer, lord – but it reloads the crossbow for the Prospector. I really cuts down on training and affords them good mobility”

“That is… impressive. I wonder if goblins… No, no, would find a way to get entangled in the crossbow, then the sprocket arm would rip their head off...”.

“Sorry, got lost in memories. Send them out to prospect! I need to know exactly what resources do we have at hand”

“Well, sir, there’s not much nearby, except for these flying snakes”

“Flying… snakes…?”


“Are you sure that’s a wise idea?”

“It's the best one I had all day. Besides, your ‘burnouts’ need to build some morale, yes? Seeing some serpents fall dead will surely lift their spirits. And teach those ship-sinking bastards how to mess with me.

"Now leave me, I wish to attend to my study”

And oh did he wish to attend his study!

Unlike the one he had in Lichopolis, where books and scrolls laid in piles and one could find a random goblin in the stacks, the one in his new home had a well indexed “sprocket library”. It still a long way till Lich managed to use it flawlessly, but even now he was getting better at its use, getting cookbooks instead of spell tomes only three times out of five.

But spells weren’t the only thing that mattered. Ardania still had to be reconquered and plans need to be drafted. But the King Decided to take one step at a time, and set his first goals to be the exploration of Burnout shard and traveling through the gate here.

He wasn’t exactly sure who made the gates or how they worked, but Svarts mentioned them a few times and they seemed to be a part of natural order in Shards. Maybe they were similar to magical portals that led to demiplanes in Ardania? Only time and exploration would tell.

And speak of the demon lord…

“Your highness, we bring report through from the gate! We have rediscovered the location of the gates and the bridge to the next shard”

“Rediscovered? How could you have forgotten them in the first place?”

“Once we had crossed it, there was a crack of thunder and some magical lightning. A stone pillar with stone inscriptions rose in front of it, and ominous sounds could be heard when approaching the brigde. We didn’t dare cross it...nor did have any reason or wish to do so.”

“I reasoned that this shard was somehow set as a trap, to catch whoever went inside. A strange and devious thing to do, what with this being a desert, but someone still did it”

And so did King Lich leave the tower to examine the pillar. Long and hard did he star at it, silently examining the runes and arcane writing. Rurik and other Honorable Warriors stood in attendance, motionless in their armor despite the heat. Their only moves were to take a swing from the water sack.

Eventually King Lich straightened his back. Rurik cleared his throat.


“This gate is indeed cursed and there’s a chance that trying to pass it would curse inhabitants of this place. On the other hand, there’s a good chance it won’t. I think this warrants investigation”.

"Is this wise?”

“Not entirely. But I’m undead and your people here are almost as good as dead. And I don’t have nearly enough mana to just blast the curse away, nor do I want to give in to that sort of magical extortion.”

“If this was Ardania, I’d just throw a goblin. But now, here I go”

And so did the tall and gaut figure of King Lich step towards the gate. Soon, he started to feel the push of the magical shield all around him. An eldritch wind picked up and horrible sound rang in his skull. But he persevered, step after step, until the pressure became almost unbearable…and the magical bubble burst in a shower of light and thunder.

“That worked out well, didn’t it? Onward with exploration of the Shard, we’re not crossing it yet”

“In all my years of prospecting, I have never seen a bug like that”

“Well, orders are to kill it, and maybe ‘prospect’ their nest afterwards. Release arrows!”

After the scarabs had received a good peppering of arrows (bolts, to be more precise).

“Well, friends, I think it’s high time we let our crows out!”

“Yes, it has been some time since they have seen any action… they’ll love to stretch their wings again”

“Ah, the feeling of doing some actual prospecting again… makes you feel younger”

"The Crows of the Svart Prospectors are the smartest of all birds. Not only do they know how to find shiny things, such as new deposits of gold or enemy armies, but also report their exact location!"

(from "Chronicles of New Worlds" written by Master Vardies Teleran)

“Razor-1, this is Razor-5. Reading bandits at 1 o’clock”

“Razor-2 has bandits on 10”

“Razor-3 reporting contacts on 8”

“Copy that, Razors”

A prospector put a bolt through a baby serpent’s head and the creature stopped moving. Anoter one was collecting gold pieces that the snakes had carried to their nests

“This action is getting my blood flowing again”

“We have the reached the eastern most part of the shard… and there are scarabs here”

“The theory that this place is supposed to be a prison has never looked more convincing”

"Not even in the desert?”

“The desert doesn’t try to bite you”

“Per your orders, we have finished the Parabolic mana extractor. We have the extractor dish itself, the mana pipes, the purification station – have to separate some of the prayer and wishful thinking leakage sometimes found in mana – and the Automaton Barrel Station.”

“Interesting. What is the rate of deaths and birth defects in workers?”

“Er, what? The whole station is manned by four Svarts in well ventilated shielded booths, where they use levers and buttons to control the work.”

“Oh, yes, I forgot, a workforce that isn’t expendable and can use tools more complex than spades. I think I will grow to like that”

At that moment, a few Svarts approached King Lich VI and presented a small scroll.

“Li… I mean, m’lord. We have heard news that prospectors have found something of interest”

“We’re speaking, of course, about the pumpkin patch”

“So you want to build a shrine to some eldritch god that lives between planes?”

The Svarts looked at each other for a second, puzzled:

“What? No…no, m’lord. We just that think building a pumpkin farm would be beneficial to our people”

“Especially if we could make pumpkinshine. Yamshine is horrible. I mean, it works if you just want to drink your days away, but pumpkinshine would be something a more motivated Svart would drink”

“Please, sir. Don’t give us hope only to leave us with a hopeless drink!”

Discussions over the farm and how much of it should be devoted to making in dragged on a little. At the same time, prospectors, fresh out of scarabs to kill, were recording their findings to make a manual on the use of crossbows. One of the most defended of new tenets was the proposal to aim longer and pick targets instead of just loosing a bunch of bolts at the general direction of the enemy.

Other prospectors we’re more concerned with the possibility of getting hit and how to best avoid it. Prospectors naturally wore very light armor, so they were in a good position to advocate speed and cover as the best means of avoiding enemy retaliation.

Some even suggested that King Lich would eventually be powerful enough to provide hills for the prospectors to hide in, but such talk was written off as the effects of a bad batch of yamshine.

"No one prepares for resettlement as thoroughly as Svarts. They take with them everything they may need in a new place, including a supply of water and beer, building materials, hammers, picks, marching horns, folding anvils, a couple of bags of charcoal, grindstones and spare handles for axes, repair kits for armour, rune making kits, groundwater detecting devices, polishing paste, towels, and a pocket settler's guide to the worlds."

(from "Chronicles of New Worlds" written by Master Vardies Teleran)

King Lich couldn’t help but admire the way Svart settlers prepared for their journey. Automaton mules were repaired and loaded with food, water, building materials and tools, navigation equipment and all sorts of other necessary things. A caravan militia was established and armed. Prospectors were hired to scout the road. It seems that having a goal to work towards made even the most apathetic of Svarts work.

It was a far cry from monster caravans, where some fat gnome patriarch would suddenly decide that their family is leaving, hitch their wagons with whatever gonkeys (and goblins of similar size and stupidity) were available, tie whatever stuff they had together and set out, followed by a trail goblins who didn’t want to part with their relatives (gonkeys more often than not).

Another difference was that so far, crows were the only semi-disposable troops on hand, and would make the first entry through the un-cursed.

“Lichtower, Lichtower, this is Razor-1. Wing is up and ready for gate”

“Lichtower, this Talon 1. Wing up, ready to gate”

“Rodger that. Razor wing, Talon wing, permission granted, gating is go. Good flying”

“Lichtower, this is Razor-1. Translation complete. Razor Wing is OK. One turn till bingo feed. Continuing sweep”

“A flap of wings for a crow, a great step towards revenge for a lich”.