The Let's Play Archive

Warlock 2: The Exiled

by JcDent

Part 6: Stiff Resistance

Alavaria posted:

Did they leave the helmets on the skulls, or do these guys have armor plates attached to their skulls.

Because that sounds really hilarious. "Thick Skull" indeed

Trick question: it's both

I also invite everyone to read deeply into the plot quest text here, because it's going to get even more shittastic as time goes.

Chapter 5: Stiff Resistance

“Lichtower, is Talon-1. Provinding recon for the eastern advance“

“Roger that, Talon-1. You see anything?”

"I feel that zombies are a disgrace to the idea of pure death. In point of fact, zombies are nothing more than rotting corpses, and, as you know, putrification implies life. However, most warlords disregard this analysis, for the simple reason that zombies are useful. Like all undead creatures, they do not know pain or fear. Plus, zombies benefit from the rotting remains of flesh and muscle, making them stronger than the average skeleton." - From "Necrarium Tomeus" by Necromaster Barbaross the Deceased.

“We have seen a company-sized element of ‘zeds’, Lichtower”

“Copy that, notifying the troops”

A group of Planeswalkers look on to the ruins of Alexiri. Their once proud city was now but piles of smoking brick and wood, torn apart with cold fury only available to the dead and the Svart.

“What are we to do now?”

“Our lord decided that your actions would save you, but you still bear great sin. “

“You will build a city, but life will not be easy. Such is the payment what was done here”

Planestriders, defeated and dejected, took one last glance at the ruin that used to be their home, and strode on.

Did the spell steel the skin against arrows or did it turn winds against it? King Lich VI could not say, but he was certain of one thing: it was going to be invaluable in further assaults against cities.

Near Dauheimur, the “Graverobbers” and the new recruits were facing off against a band of “veteran” skeletons. The undead were well reinforced with armor and other materials and felt no fear of pain or fleshwound, and thus made a formidable enemy.

The new soldiers were fresh and unblooded, but the position favored the Svarts heavily. This looked like this was going to turn into a grind.

Shield shimmered in the sky and exploded into sparks of magic that descended on Rurik’s men. Immediately, they started to feel it’s effects. The shield felt lighter (which took some time getting used to) and more maneuverable. While sparring, it seemed to almost jump to clock the hit.

And armor rearranged, ever so subtly, making it more comfortable to wear and the actions more smooth, and fluid.

In the upcoming fights against the undead, they’d need all the edge they can get.

“Are you certain that this is wise?”

“These people need to learn and to atone for their mistakes. It’s the perfect place for them to live and think about what they have done”

“The edge might drive some of them to jump”

“Let them. A good man would use it to dispose of outhouse output”.

Zombies – reporting name ‘zeds’ – were horrible enemies. Slow, stinking, as immune to pain as skeletons, but more horrifying for all the decaying flesh. The only way to defeat them was to stand in line and alternate hacking at the enemy in front of you and at the arms grabbing your shield.

Still, they were beaten, severely disturbing the river with zombies.

“All right, lads, stay sharp and watch the enemy. Skeletons aren’t exactly intelligent and they aren’t likely to surprise you with new tricks, but you still have to be careful”

“I have no clue how magic makes them walk and fight, but we can watch and learn, and so defeat them later on”

“A very basic thing is learning to distinguish the rattle of their bones from trees creaking at night. Saved our camp from attack once”

“What kind of machine is this?”

“Census tabulation immobilaton”


“Like an automaton, but immobile. We use it to count taxes. It is a very precise machine that works wonderfully. Unfortunatelly, it requires very precise input, too”

“So I thought we should restart it before your realm expands too much or, Krolm forbid, we run into elven women”

“What about elven women?”

Rurik looked at King Lich, but it seemed like he was looking through the monarch, like a man who had seen too much and could never forget it.

“Loopholes, sire. Oh, the loopholes…”

“Nothing but dead around here”

“Fitting for a dead world, isn't it?”

“Still depressing, Talon-2”

Rurik’s men were again in the thick of it. They had barely recovered their axes from the dead (previously undead), when they came under attack. This time, it was spiders.
Giant horrible spiders, jumping on Svarts, scattering the lines, spraying web around. The only reason why more were spared from being dragged away was that Svarts, with their armor, were very heavy… and the spiders were never adept at cooperation.

A gust of air blew all the windows in Lichgrad Tower open and scattered small items from shelves and tables. King Lich had barely managed to gather his wits before a booming voice repeated the process.

“Lich! You have displeased our master and so you shall die! I can’t wrap my heads around the fact that your survived His fury the first time, but I will destroy you… Or rather, I will have someone destroy you. Hunting you vermin mages is tiresome, it almost have me headaches”.

“Lord, we are extremely concerned about these dragons”

“Extremely, astoundingly so”

“Normal dragons are problem, but these have two heads. Two! Do you know what it means?”

“It means that they can eat TWO Svarts at a time! TWO!”

“Yeah! They need two bites to swallow a human! Disgusting, I know, and terrifying for other human audiences… but they only need gulp for a Svart! That’s not funny!”

“Exactly! So if the lord destroyed the dragons before they ate any of our friends…

“…or us…”

“…could eas Svarlof’s mother, that would be the day…”

“…then we’d be ready to contribute generously to your cavernous vaults!”

“I shall do everything in my power so that my non-goblin subjects would not be eaten”

“Weird guys, this lot”

"In the last three years there have appeared eight Grand Stubborn Masters and one acting Grand Stubborn Master in the Order of the Stubborn Knights. This has happened because the chapter of the Order decided to change the rules so that it would not be necessary for the knights to clean the hoofs of their battle donkeys before battles (a rule that had been causing great difficulty during wars). However, according to the traditions of the Order, the Grand Stubborn Master laid his veto on the changes.

After discussion, the chapter decided to choose a new Grand Stubborn Master (from the members who support the change), but at first the old Grand Stubborn Master stubbornly refused to return the seals, and then the new one vetoed the changes in the rules, again "in support of established tradition". After assigning in vein seven more Grand Stubborn Masters, the chapter changed the tactics, and proclaimed that henceforth the Order would have one acting - Grand Master. And this has worked well enough, as acting Grand Stubborn Master performs the duties of the head of the Order, but enjoys greater freedom in the enforcement of its traditions.

After closing this question the acting Grand Stubborn Master sent all Grand Stubborn Masters on a quest to earn money for the needs of the Order."
(From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Alfus Bumblegate)

“…and that is why you are ready to face the dragon? For money?”

“Money for my order. Frankly, I kind of like the mercenary life, it leads to many more fights, and I found out that I like that more than I like obscure old traditions”

“So why stay in the order?”

“Obscure old traditions. The others are fine. Protect the weak, guard the innocent, avenge a lady’s honor, that sort of thing. Leads to many fights, too”

“You seem to be a man who loves to fight”

“I prefer to say that I am in love with my trade”

“Silver Silks? I don’t know if I like this name. It goes against our traditions…”

“But it is in tune with why we build the city here: to extract silver and maybe work silk out of the spiders”

“Also, being ruled by undead kings from another plane is as non-traditional as it gets, so shut your yamhole”

“Lichtower, Lichtower, come it”


“Lichtower, Lichtower, do you read me?”

...zor-1, I read you. We have contested airspace, comchannels are full of interference”

“Copy, anything we can do?”

“Negative, Razor-1, Undead Actual is on that. What do you report?”

“Lichtower, we have reached the south end of the plane. Multiple ground hostiles, nothing of note to report”.

“Belay that, Lichtower. We see… we see some red on red action. Possible neutral city nearby”

“Copy that, Razor-1”

Ufvaldr stood motionless as he tracked his target. A bit further down the hill was his target: the giant blue spider who was dragging the carcass of a wild domesticated pig. The arachnid was in Svart’s sights, by he wasn’t sure about his shot.

Slowly, he picked up a small rock off the ground and arced it at some stones nearby.

Spider dropped his prey and turned towards the new sound.

“Got you”

By the time sprocket arm reached to rearm the crossbow, the spider was already thrashing on the ground with a bolt planted firmly between the eyes.

"This creature is a mere shadow of the powerful ancient dragon Vendral, but even so, this shadow is more than capable of causing the sort of mayhem that would bring a smile to Vendral's terrible face." - From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Alfus Bumblegate

“Never understood what made them qualify as “Shadows” of Vendral, but probably that’s just another quirk of the living and the dragon, I guess”

“Who’s Vendral?”

“Ah… An old tale from Ardania. Nothing to worry about”.

"Warriors can be found absolutely everywhere in Ardania, except in those dangerous places where they dare not tread. These heroes are highly valued by their countrymen, and instill fear in the hearts of their enemies. The members of this close-knit brotherhood of noble warriors have proven their valiance in countless battles with all sorts of monsters. It should be mentioned, however, that not everyone is fond by their time-honored tradition of liberating villages of the apparent threats of chickens, pigs and cows." (From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Albus Bumblegate"

“LICHTOWER, LICHTOWER, this is Razor-1! ‘Potheads’ spotted! I repeat, ‘Potheads’ spotted! It’s…”


“King Lich... Which was it now?”

“The Sixth.

“The Sixth. The only skeleton to worship Krolm”

“And you’re the only human mage that I’ve seen so far to have survived the Dremer… and the United One”

“Yes, it was a close call. I thank for the Dremer. It’s a shame what that bastard did to you”

“Even more so since the others were such pushovers. Let’s say we strike a truce? Easier to reach Ardania without getting in each other’s way.”

“That is fine by me”.

The advance into the western portion of the shard was going slowly but surely. The new guys were holding their own up north while Veremoud’s men swooped in (as much as Svarts swoop in) from the south.
Only Rurik’s men were left to nurse their wounds before rejoining the assault.

“Tell me, sir knight, how do you fight dragons if they’re up in the sky all the time?”

“Well, they have to swoop in for the attack see. Huge gouts of soulflame aren’t that easy to control, so they have to do it up close. That’s when you hold your shield high and either ride your donkey fast to make a jump or just make him stand on hind legs and hope your lance can reach the dragon’s belly”.

“That is… englightening”

“I take it m’lord hasn’t seen cavalry in Ardania?”

“No, werewolves don’t ride and goblins misunderstand “mounting” more often than not and then you have a yard full of gonkeys”.

“This place is so bleak and the ground wants to kill me dead. This is the worst”

That was, of course, not true. The worst thing happened when a fresh batch of Prospectors exited their hall in Lichgrad only to burned to crisp by the rampaging Shadows.

To lesten the impact of morale (and to preserve the strategic alcohol reserves which were drinking due to Silver Silk’s alcohol problem), King Lich used his powers to transform the surroundings of the city into a pleasant grassy meadow. There were even live fishes in the river now.

“This is a long way from terrorizing villagers with their own dead”

“Halfdan, over there!”

Prospectors were supporting the advance of Honorable Warrios and Halfdan already came to be known in his company as a superior marksman. Quick to react, he aimed his crossbow at a distant skeleton and pulled the trigger. The bolt took the undead soldier’s head off.

The last Shadow was fleeing the city, with ser Hugue in pursuit.

“Come back here, you cowardly fly lizard!”

The lizard did not manage to get very far. It is not likely that one could outrun a shadowbolt.

The dead form of the dragon fell from the sky and landed with a thud. Ser Hugue went in to poke it with his lance before cutting the heads off (can’t be too careful) and returning to his post in Lichgrad.

The satisfaction of surviving the attack from one of United One’s lieutenants was almost palpable. The bag of gold on the doorstep was much more physical.

But the going was still tough, especially on the Western Undead Front…

“We found this map while tearing down Alexiri. The strider managed to destroy most of the details, but we saved most of it”.
…and Howling Sorrows wouldn’t be the last shard to fall before the might of King Lich VI