The Let's Play Archive

Warlock 2: The Exiled

by JcDent

Part 7: Taking the Land of The Dead

LightWarden posted:

Lore Stuff

It's nice to see that the devs are putting so much effort into referencing previous games, at least.

Neruz posted:

Warlock II has some even crazier heroes; there is at least one hero that is straight up immune to all forms of damage except life and elemental damage, and hes got base 100 elemental resist

I sure hope I can get him. My playstyle is, usually, to minimize casualties via artillery and elite units, in every game. Exceptions would probably be "the ablative peasants" in Eador: Masters of the Broken World and peasants in my first ever (and non SA) LP of Medieval.

Glazius posted:

So in practice how many cities can a shard support? Or do they vary in size?

No clue, so as much as you can cram while gaming the distance limitations. Shards are supposed to vary in size: all three so far have been classed as "tiny". I don't remember them getting much bigger later on, tho.

Chapter 7: Taking the Land of The Dead

The troops were pushing on the renegade undead forces. The skeletons and “veteran” skeletons were hardy warriors (in part because they didn’t have any soft parts) but under the relentless onslaught of the Svarts they crumpled and re-died.

Destroying the mysterious crypts that spawned the restless dead was also of paramount importance. The dwarves wondered if this Shard had been a part of word ruled by the undead before destruction at the claws of Dremers. No matter the truth, they had to kick over gravestones and collapse burial chambers.

“Aye, lads, don’t forget lootin’ an’ grave robbin’. Anythin’ shiny or magical goes to the Lich”.

While Svart axes drove the dead back, Svart hammers drove posts and nails down. A new fortress had been established, to keep watch on the largest crossing in the area. It would also support Silver Silks in defense of a narrow pass near the city.

Silver Silks was a city bustling with potential. With only other “real city” to contend with being Regret, it was in a prime position to make a most of the profits in Howling sorrows. It was in a prime transit spot for any sort of passing exiles that wanted to settle in Burnouts (and Burnouts didn’t have clouds like screaming skulls, making it a popular destination). It had a silver mine and a market that sprung up to capitalize on exiles, silver making, as well as a river that ran all the way to the Gate.
In short, the wealth placated Svarts unhappy with the name of their city.

And a spell that helped resist elemental magic (originally made by a wizard who liked to roast his meats in a volcanic demiplane) would placate Svarts unhappy with fireballs.

Rurik’s Men had just pillaged and destroyed another cementary. But their work wasn’t done yet – there were still skeletons milling about. Rurik urged his men to chase them down:

“Forward, lads, the day isn’t done! There’s killing to be done!”

And even more troops were pouring in from training facilities in Lichgrad.

“I don’t know what I’m more afraid off beyond the gate: skeletons or Veremoud”

Veremoud was recovering in the new fortress. To aid both him and the people manning the fortress, King Lich transformed the surrounding countryside. Instead of barren planes, hills covered with gently swaying grass rolled as far as eye could see.

This didn’t go unnoticed by Sir Hugue, who was traveling south on a mission:

“They should have placed the fortress on the hills, not at the foothills”

“Vampirium, huh? Well, a knight’s duty is to kill vampires and save damsels. Unless those vampires are in his lord’s employ and damsels are extraplanar invaders”

Sir Hugue sighed.

“Being a knight in Ardania is confusing”

And so he rode past the skeleton roadsign (it was a skeleton holding a plank) and towards the city in the distance.

At the same time, the campaign to take the west of the Shard had come to an end and the Svarts were camping out, dressing their wounds, repairing armor, waiting for reinforcements…
…and a supply train full of pumpkinshine to wash away the grime of the fight.



“Oh no”

“M’lord, we should reestablish the tradition of Rune Warriors!”

“Yes, Rune Warriors! Not as armored as Honorable Warriors, but clad in Runes!”


“Besides, the lads could use some magical assistance on the front, and you can’t be at all places at once!”

“Well, we know you can, maybe not cast magic all the time, but…

“We event collected this sack of gold here to incentivize you!”

“It’s somewhat smaller since Rune Warriors aren’t dragons nor that great when fighting dragons”

“Lichtower to Talon-1, anything to report?

“Affirmative, Lichtower. Talon-4 pinged the gate to another shard”

“Anything of note, Talon-1?”

“Yeah, whoever tries to cross it is fucked”

“Can it, Talon-2. Lichtower, the gate is connected to the shard by a narrow strip of land. Hostile land, condition necro”

“Rodger that, Talon-2”

“Uh, wait, Lichtower, something is coming through…”

“Another cursed gate? I am starting to think that Fire Elementals in portals to demiplanes were preferable to this”

“Are you going to solve it, my lord?”

“Not yet, master smith. Don’t want to risk curses while we’re still pacifying the Shard”

Sir Hugue and his donkey, Sir Sumall, had just ridden down another bunch of skeleton troopers. The undead were slow to react to the rider and his compact steed, and thus were easy targets for the lance.
Then, a glimpse of shining steel cought Sir Hugue’s eye. His got off his noble steed and went on his knees to sift through the rubble. After throwing away a few skeleton heads that still had some fight in them (and their jaws), he found a shield. An enchanted shield, no less, because it had retained its shining exterior after years of use by skeletons (not really known for cleaning their arms)?
His new shield in (on) hand, Sir Hugue continued his one man siege of Vampirium.

It didn’t take long, for the city was defended only by skeletons, and those didn’t appear to be well organized. After slaying the last immediate defender, sir Hugue rode down the streets of Vampirium, but he didn’t find a living soul (or a dead one, for that matter).

He felt that the answers he seeks could only be found in the huge manor overlooking the city.

“I hear your last alliance didn’t end well… for Sol and Amberon, at least”

“Sol was tired from the fight against Dremer and Miralbus. As for Amberon, well, he was your prisoner”

“I really didn’t think that a man who wasted the Arethi was worthy of better jailers than gnomes and goblins”

“Still, the gods rescued me. Rescued me and sealed the United one in Ardania, that’s why we have to fight his proxies. And, lest we forget, you had a lot of help from both Helia and Krolm”

“I will admit that they did their part”

“And now we’ll do ours. Join me, and we’ll crush the United One, together!”

“I am weary of alliances… but I will show you a small bit of faith. Let it be, we have an alliance”

And while peace was finalized, preparations for other wars were still ongoing. On hall overlooking Lichgrad rose new barracks where drill sergeants (accustomed to command Svarts working with drills) had the unusual task of imparting some of the miner discipline and coordination into Svart exiles, renegades and burnouts that finally decided to join the military.

They used, of course “King Lich VI’s Approved Drill Manual For Svart and Non-Svart Auxiliary Forces”. Printing presses, huge and complex machines of steel and steam, were printing the manuals on best Svartish paper (actually, Planestriders were the ones who developed paper, Svarts just made it sturdier). The covers were all carved from the hide of Shadows of Vendral while the binding was done with large cast iron nails that Volundr forged himself. It was as Svart a book as it could get without being printed entirely on steel.

Many copies of the book, loaded on sprocket donkeys, were sent to frontline units, where officers used them to drill their troops who were, at the time, enjoying downtime.

"The Rangers Guild suffered the most damage during the Troubles. Its Guildmeister and all senior masters perished; the Guild's very heart - the Emerald Glade Refuge - was laid waste by fire. Along with its flowing canopies, the guild's most precious possessions were destroyed -- including Ardania's map archive and all manner of prized treatises in cartography. Consequently, the Rangers have been unable to perform their annual land-mapping work. Thus they have been brought low, and are now known simple hunters, while Ardania has been plunged in to the darkness of the unknown."

From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Alfus Bumblegate.

“Lichtower, this is Razor-1”

“Come in, Razor-1”

“We have spotted Krell’s forces, I repeat, Krell’s forces. They’re taking casualties, a company of ‘wing clippers’ was just wiped out by ‘double vets’ in a necro-marsh.

“I read you, Razor-1. What’s the composition of forces?”

“I read two companies of ‘pot heads’ and at least one other of ‘clippers’
“Any HQ elements in area?”

"You will love Ardania, where you were born; You will never retreat before your enemies; You shall not lie, and will always be true to your words; You will be generous and work for the good of the people; At all times you will be a warrior for good and justice; You will be protector to the weak and the strong alike".
(From "the vow of the Chosen Warrior")

“Apparently the command element is one hero-class ‘pot head’.

Crows, however, weren’t the only means of gathering information. For example, a new craftsmen district sprang up in Uglin. It produced various Svart goods that were ‘safe’ to export. So not only Svarts, but other people wanted and were able to buy them. At first, there wasn’t much of a maket in outsiders, especially since Planestriders of Regret seemed to be mostly interested in shawing razors and hemp rope.

But alliance with Krell opened the opportunity to trade with humans living on another shard.

And traders traveled, talked and watched. They saw Krell’s realm so fortuitously situated in Fading, a land of gentle perpetual autumn, with gentle colors that brought bittersweet calm to one’s heart. Krell had established several cities already. They might have been troubled by bears…

"What Mages lack in personal grooming skills, they more than make up for in explosive potential. The most powerful Mages are one-man wrecking crews, with the ability to flatten a town with just a few spells. Unfortunately, when they start going a bit dotty, they become a real hazard to anyone -- and anything -- that passes their gaze. That is why, in his infinite wisdom, Brashnard created Ardanias first retirement home for Mages. Thick iron walls, comfortable chairs, and exciting social activities for the retired wizards in your family!" (From a brochure discovered among the collected works of His Majesty's Advisor)

…but Krell’s people had already established institutions for higher learning and attracted their first mages (who, like a more explosive version of scribes and scholars, were attracted by research funding). And such splendor was hardly surprising, seeing how the shard was blessed with various resources, like pumkins, wild domesticated pig…

…and iron.

Loads and loads…

...of iron.
“I hope the abundance of the stuff doesn’t bring any strange ideas to Krell’s head”

But that was far from the mind of sir Hugue Dry Branch who had discovered why Vampirium seemed abandoned…