The Let's Play Archive

Warlock 2: The Exiled

by JcDent

Part 4: The Land of The Dead and Leaderless

Well, hey, guys, you know I only powerplay if it happens by accident! It just might happen that I'll cover every piece of land with fortress cities and shrines to Krypta or something!

Chapter 3: The Land of The Dead and Leaderless

“This is Lichtower, reading you loud and clear”

“Rodger that, Lichtower. Ground targets spotted, incoming report”

"Monster-eating spiders enjoy a well-deserved reputation as the most dangerous insects of Ardania. Even city walls are no match for their ravenous appetite. In pursuit of prey, these spiders are able to devour entire buildings and everything inside them. -- And not just buildings! There have been cases of these spiders even catching and eating young dragons -- often by tempting them from their lairs with juicy young kittens. Fortunately, spiders themselves are allergic to kittens."

From the collected works of His Majesty's Advisor

“’Cat-nappers’, tower, we have ‘cat-nappers’!”

"The skeletal remains that are used to create these warriors must possess large, sturdy bones and strong ligaments, for not only will they have to hold swords and shields, but must also use them to attack and defend themselves. Armor is less important, for Skeleton Warriors are able to fight even without a skull -- And if they fall to pieces, it is easier to simply raise new ones." - From "Necrarium Tomeus" by Necromaster Barbaross the Deceased.

“Also, a possible sighting of ‘green bones’!”

"Grey Shadows are perhaps the most legendary soldiers of the Planestriders, both among the inhabitants of the planes, and among the exiles of Ardania. Grey Shadows have a reputation as fast, fearless and noble warriors, ruthless to enemies and fair to their Allies."

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

“Rodger that, Razor-1, marking neutrals”

“Lichtower, Lichtower, picking up hostiles near objective Alexiri incoming report. Spotted ‘double rogues’, repeat, ‘double rogues’

"Before getting acquainted with the martial arts of the Ardanians, the Incorporeal never fought in melee. They preferred to deal with enemies at a distance, or retreat if they were losing a battle.

The art of swordsmanship became a real discovery for the Incorporeal. They were so excited by the idea that they developed special magic that allowed them to pick up material objects, and started to teach the young ones to wield sword and staff."

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

“Razor-2 says he pinged some ‘kicker clouds’, have to verify that”

"When the rear guard of the Great King's army was scattered across dozens of worlds, the soldiers who met the Incorporeal did not have proper healers with them, only an old and senile Goblin Shaman. Unified command of Planestriders had to hastily look for new healers.

As an experiment, they offered the Shaman to teach Minotaurs the subtleties of herb eating. The result exceeded expectations. Although Minotaurs could not fully understand the 'I heal what I eat' principle and relied more on their gnarled clubs in the diagnosis, the experiment was recognised as successful. Since then, very few Planestriders become sick because very few want to be treated."

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

“Support element ‘chiro’ spotted. End report. Continuing sweep”

“King Lich, I bring reports… reports that might be of great interest to you”

The lich was lost in thought and the Svart’s entrance startled him a little. Surprising, considering the amount of metal armor that most Honorable Warriors insisted on wearing.

“Huh? And what would that be?”

“After you opened the portal, we received a stream of refugees… Mostly the ones that were following our trail and got stuck there when it closed. Some are those that were following these refugees. It is a certain trail of misery. Anyway, these people carry rumours”

“What rumours?”

“Well, none can say for sure where they heard about it, but it appears that your United One… well, he’s spreading his influence the Shards. To be more precise, using four lieutenants to look for other great mages”

“This likely proves my theory that there is a way back to Ardania… and a way to kill him”

“Really? Why?”

“There must be a reason why the United One is sending his lackeys to catch me instead of coming here personally. And those are likely some of mages he managed to convert to his cause, who, as my war with Dremer taught me, need some sort of... anchor to teleport forces in locations unvisited by their troops”

“Great mages… I saw the power and splendor of the counsel when I fought the Dremer. I doubt that being slaves of United One made them any more dangerous”.

“We didn’t have great mages and we survived the Dremer. What made your mages call the themselves great?”

“Hubris, probably. They did wield great magical power, either through inheritance of learning. But that doesn’t mean they were good at war or good at being rulers. For all their power, they were still with petty, mortal origins”

“We named it after Svarlof’s mother, who was very homely and launched us on a quest to escape her terrible visage”

“Not that there’s anything wrong with certain petty pleasures”

“Lichtower, Lichtower, this is Talon-1”

“Reading you loud and clear, Talon-1”

“Reporting enemy concentrations, Lichtower”

"These creatures are distant relatives of giant forest spiders. In the wild they grow only to the size of a young wolf, but in the cozy warmth of a garbage heap one can discover far larger species, often disguised as the remnants of last night's feast at the local mead hall. Like their wild cousins, spider predators are very poisonous, so be very careful not to take out the garbage unarmed.

From the collected works of His Majesty's Advisor

“Reading a high concentration of ‘trash-traps’. Possible hostile hole”

"Skeletons who survive their first few battles can be given heavier armor and better weapons. However, it is wise to check their bones for small cracks. If they are detected, then be warned that the Veteran Skeleton will likely fall to pieces within a day, two at most."

From "Necrarium Tomeus" by Necromaster Barbaross the Deceased

“’Double vets’ sighted, repeat, ‘double vets sighted’”

“Rodger that, Talon-1. Orders are to continue sweep south. Keep distance from Objective Alexiri”

“I read that, command. Sweeping south”.

“Couple more flights like that and I’ll get that sweet Fancy Scouting Bauble”

"Cut the chatter, Talon-3”

“Talon-1, reading multiple hostiles. ‘Trash traps’ and… uuh… ‘green bones’, I think”

“Negative on ‘green bones’, Talon-4. Those are simple skeletons, reporting name ‘boned’. Watch the color of the crests”

“Lichtower, this is Talon-1. Spotted ‘trash traps’ and ‘boned’. We are bingo feed and RTB”

“Rodger that, Talon-1”

Honorable Warriors were arrayed to march upon a nest of flying vipers. Trouble was that the vipers remained afloat, spitting flaming balls of acid at the soldiers. Svarts, all combat veterans, knew how to deal with such a situation: their shields were big and strong enough to withstand many an attack. Still, it was an impasse.

And there, unnoticed by anyone, a purple streak of light flashed in the sky before turning rapidly and dropping on the swarm of viper. Bulbous eyes boiled and bursts, tender wing dried, wizened and tore away mid flight and boiling acid turned into bile in their throats. The snakes fell from the sky, many dying on impact, survivors left to thrash around in blind pain and fury.

“I guess… I guess this solves that problem. Charge!”

And charge they did, trampling writhing snakes under their stubby armored boots. Emerging between the nests, they slashed with axes and torches, burning anything they couldn’t smash. The last of serpents were gone from Burnout.

“See, this kind of magic also sets ‘great mages’ apart from normal mages. We can make mockery of any kind of distance, and we can usually cast spells more often, as long as we have ample mana”

“And unlike most normal mages, we can allow ourselves to study beneficial spells, not only fireballs. Tell me, Rurik, what hedge wizard…”

“…could turn barren desert into a fertile plain?”

“This one thing I would have never expected out of a lich”

“Doing the unexpected is one way to victory”

On a hill strewn with bolt-filled scarab carcasses, one prospector found something blueish and shiny.

“Right, lads, this smells of magic. Send it back to the Lich”

The glyph was of great curiosity to King Lich VI, and that is why he immediately retreated to his tower for further study. He had only rumors and tales to go by, but with the help of a well indexed library, he managed to pull through.

Glyphs were magical crystalized ‘pieces’ of magic that came will pretty stable effects. Crushing one while running a spell through one’s mind would alter the formula, in both good and bad ways, as a certain trade off. Depending on the complexity of the spell, it could bear modifications from one or more glyphs. However, spells weren’t that flexible, and eventually new glyphs would overtake the place of the old ones in the formula.

As for the old ones… well, their physical form destroyed and their component part cast out from the spell, they likely returned to the weave of magic.

And while King Lich was pondering glyphs, Svarts were finishing the last buildings of the Honorable Warriors Guild. Bricks were hoisted into place, furnace automatons received last oils, and stills underwent last inspections.

In one of the finished halls, an old Svart was pacing in front of a square of new recruits.

“Finally crawled out of your holes, maggots? Going to take the Lich’s gold and fight under the skull banner? That’s fine by me, but you sorry lot will not find this easy! You might have escaped Stone King and the Rune Witch, but you won't escape ME! By Dauros, you will earn your gold and you will never bring shame to the name of Honorable Warriors!”

And their numbers would very needed, as Alexiri Witch Doctors crossed over to Burnout!

“Alert Lichgrad! Everybody to the defense!”

Quickly, the minotaur witches were surrounded by Svarts, peppered with bolts and blasted with shadow bolt.

However, Honorable warriors were having a hard time catching up to the beasts…

As such, Witch Doctors still managed to tear into the Prospectors, who barely managed to run away while dragging their wounded. Still, this gave enough time for Honorable Warriors to catch up, organize in the hills near Lichgrad, and overrun the invaders.

“You dogs barely avoided having to your job this time, but if I know my maniacal mages, a counter invasion will soon follow, and I’ll make sure you’ll be on the spearhead!”

And sure enough, King Lich VI was planning for war. But before that, he did try out the glyph-enhanced spell on Uglin, turning it a little less ugly.
“Words cannot express how terrified I am when such a simple spell can change mountain ranges so much”

"Lichtower, this is Razor-1. We are sweeping the area, no hostiles yet. We strafed an enemy hole and recovered magical material, over”

“Rodger that, Razor-1. Sweep by Objective Alexiri, verify the defense standing”

“Lichtower, Lichtower, Alexiri fly-by complete, area seems clear, Objective defended by a company-strength element of ‘double rogues’

“Copy that, Razor-1, notifying command”

And so “Operation Alexiri” began, one of the many that would have to bring King Lich VI back to Ardania and the United One to his knees.

“Forward, you dogs, to victory!”