The Let's Play Archive

Warlock 2: The Exiled

by JcDent

Part 8: Like Mages Are Wont To Do

Drakenel posted:

Good to know, thanks both of you. I do enjoy non-space 4x's that aren't civilization. (Though I've a soft spot for Alpha Centauri) and I figure it could be worth a bit of amusement.

Slytherin(e?) has released a poor man's Alpha Centauri, can't remember the name (Pandora something). It's edgy as fuck, so you can LP it, all in honor of upcoming Beyond Earth.

Chapter 7: Like Mages Are Wont To Do

With alliance secured, Svart forces began to move into the Southern Plains of Death (surprisingly many places wore the „of death” moniker).
Caught between the hammer of the humans and anvil-sized hammers of the Svarts, the undead stood no chance.

Anticipating the crushing defeat of the unaligned undead (who were still a mystery to anyone well versed in Necromatic arts), Krell’s humans established Baytown, their first city outside fading. Situated in an area surrounded by dead swamps and bottomless chasms, it was a much less cheerful place than the name would suggest.

The dead were down to the last skeletons, so King Lich deemed it prudent to finally order something done about the gate. Mainly, sir Hugue was to read the inscription on the nearby monument.

Shock of all shocks, it worked, and the road to the rest of the shards (and, hopefully, Ardania) was open.

Unfortunately, the road itself was mostly tainted by the touch of death, so not entirely suitable for leisurely travel. In truth, it claimed many of the number of exiles that would come through the gates expecting dangers of the more mundane (and stabbable) nature.
King Lich VI, however, had already shown himself as paragon of un-lichness, so he turned the death lands into pleasant rolling plains post haste.

Lands of death, however, were still being put to good use… in Regret.
“Used to be that Immaterials bathed in pools like that…”

“Well, I don’t want them mucking up my mana”

And places far removed from areas where ground itself wants to devour your life, Svarts were having their own issues.

“Truly these are the lands of life. Look at the size of all that grain”

“We’ll need bigger sprocket donkeys to carry it all to the barn!”

“Forget the donkeys, how will we manage to drink away all that vodka?”

“HEEELP, the pea wine got me!”

“Oh, right, that. I’ll get the axe…”

“Well, I don’t really have non-living troopers right about now, but Volundr keeps giving me strange looks and talking about Inscrutable Enjinns and steam stacks. Might be useful later on, and why not help an ally? Maybe this will delay the almost inevitable betrayal”

“I agree to the trade, Krell. May we all prosper from it”.

Talon flight was the first one tasked with checking out the new gate.

“Lichtower, Lichtower, this is Talon-1, doing a line check”

“Reading you loud and clear, Talon-1”

“Talon wing, translation successful, no casualties. Ground scanning radar indicates a tropical shard, fitting description of “Long Shores”

“Rodger, marking “Long Shores”, Talon-1”


“We heard something, Lichtower, everything alright?”

“Just technical difficulties, Talon-1. Did not manage to get the quill and the inkpot dropped on the floor. Continue sweep”

“Copy that”

“Another day in the service”

“Talon-2, I’m pretty sure you’re illiterate, so shut your beak”

“Talon-2, Talon-3, clear the air, we’re on a mission”

“Besides, I’m picking up a reading on a ‘jawsome’. Gonna have to prep the Navy, so it seems”

Kari stared, incredulously, at the arrow in his chest. It wasn’t a metal bolt fired by a drunk prospector. It wasn’t a sinister barbed arrow launched a by an Archer of the Plains in ambush. Unhardened iron bodkin point, a simple wood shaft, a goose feather at the end – the most simple of human arrows, and here it was, stealing Kari’s life away.


It was too little, too late. Human warriors with helmets not unlike metal platters fell on the Prospectors, and so did their blades.

It was war.

“Fervus take them, I knew it!”

The response was immediate. Fresh troops that had just clearing the undead threat away from Silver Silks pass were sent to the front. Following them were veteran troops, Rurik’s and Veremoud’s Men, Grave Crushers and others, hardened in previous conflicts. Prospectors were flanking them to provide support.

The entire Svart war machine was slowly turning its attention towards Baytown and the traitors.

The push for the Western hills had proven that the healing spell King Lich still remembered wasn’t nearly up to the task of serving the attacking forces well. As luck would have it, the king had started research into a new, more potent spell. “Kindrik’s Re-knitting” would suture wounds and re-set bones, and was very useful in Kindrik’s household, as serfs kept falling off the castle roof while cleaning them.

“M’lord, we’re pushing the enemy the enemy towards Baytown. We’re engaging hunters wherever we can, but the warriors are more difficult, especially with all the quality iron that the enemy has. The troops are also worry about the hero leading the troops.”

“Ser Hugue is being retasked as we speak. How about recruitment numbers?”

“We’ve increased the number of criers to drump up support, but the amount of new recruits barely changed…”


Suddenly, all color drained from Rurik’s face.

“Oh no”

“My name is Haraldr Brour Invars, and I represent a group of concerned citizens…”

What followed was a lengthy and confusing speech about freedom, trade, self determination, tyranny of monarchs and mages, trade, taxes, choice and a mishmash of other things. Apparently, some Svarts took the example of self-governing Fortress cities to heart and decided they wanted to have their own free cities. Trouble was that free cities usually got taken over by monarchs, mages or monsters. So they needed a patron, and while that was distasteful (and contrary to their wishes not to pay taxes), they had to swallow the pill.

“…to sum it up, the city will not have obligations to your realm and your realm will not have obligations – nor rights – on the city, except those granted by the Mercenary Charter of Protection, according to which we’ll pay money for services of your armed forces”

“And those aren’t taxes?”

“No, no, no, no, “payment for services rendered”, a totally different thing”

“Rurik, what should we do?”

“I’d say we let that coot take what he wants. I know him and he has become a constant problem as of late. We can’t risk upheaval with war on our hands. Let him have the piece of desert that wants”

And so the first free city was established.

The front of war was moving. Even though the surrounded Svarts weren't the most experienced of troops…

…they were still Svarts. They’d raise their shields, and charge, and crush anyone before them. Hunters, all but robbed of their advantage in range, were slaughtered easily.

“I must agree, that is a massive fist”

“Krolm might not be the patron god of Svarts, but he’s still one our favorite. And the architecture of those devoted to him isn’t very subtle”

“So what do those zealots do with an entire city devoted to their god?”

“Well, these are devotees to Krolm, lord. They fight, they push a giant wheel, they solve riddles named after metals, they oil muscles, brew beer… basically everything that pleases Krolm”

“The added benefit is all of that devotion can be barely contained and condenses on the fist into mana. The zealots have no use for it, so they put it into empty beer barrels and ship it to you”

“Isn’t that dangerous for them?”

“M’lord, these are people who use fire elementals to roast steaks. I don’t think mana can penetrate their grit”

“These creatures rock on the waves so quietly that you can easily mistake them for harmless sea cows, and unfortunately many people do. A fatal mistake”.

(Notes from “Resorts of Other Worlds”, published in “King’s Voice In Exile”

“Lichtower, we have noticed ‘floters’ and a reef’.

“Rodger that, Talon-1. Keep your distance”

“And now there’s a city devoted to Dauros?”

“I guess they were inspired by Krolm’s followers. It is a magnificent statue, isn’t it?”

“Almost wish we could have those on both sides of the gate, for symmetry”.

Sir Hugue had arrived and Svarts – six companies of Honorable Warriors being present – were pushing humans against the mountains. They only needed to crush a what was left on the enemy soldiers.

Unfortunately, magic got in the way. The lands quaked gently as Krell’s magic lowered the mountains and created Regret pass for the hero and surviving Hero guild warriors to beeline into the territories controlled by King Lich. At the same time, wizards were spotted at the south and had to be chased down with extreme prejudice.

With the donkey easily navigating rocky ground, Sir Hugue caught up with the Chosen Warrior in Krell’s employ.

“Won’t you dismount and face me honorably, or have stubborn knights forgotten their wows?”

“Vile cur! Don’t you dare speak of honor when actions of your master speak of treason! Defend yourself and die like a man!”

“Ha! Be warned: I was an officer in King’s army!”

“Then there’s little surprise why the army was lost. Charge!”

The clash of heroes didn’t hold King Lich’s attention for long as random patches of ground became frozen for no apparent reason.

“Elpiritster! That damned ghastly fool! Should have known he’d be captured alive”

“Rurik, send out the men! We need to dredge that spell out of somewhere and we need to do it now!”

The war was trudging on. Yet it was the prospectors who bore the brunt of it. Ambushed by means both physical and magical, a lot of them were no longer in service.
The survivors became very adept at spotting ambushes and any far away enemies, always keeping one eye on the horizon.

Not everyone was that lucky. One company of Honorable Warriors charged forward to besiege Baytown.

But Baytown was a wretched town surrounded by swamps and marshes. Farms were barely eking out an existence there and peasants remembered the fruitful lands of Fading very fondly.
This also made for bad battlefield terrain. Short and heavy, Svarts got bogged down in the mud, barely reaching the outer walls. And then, they didn’t have the strength nor freedom of movement to defend themselves from magic and arrows that fell on them.

The swamp quickly claimed their armor clad bodies.

Another armor clad man was raging outside the walls of Dauheimur. Unable to cross the gate and wreak havoc in Burnouts and constantly peppered with arrows from the fortifications (manned by Rurik’s Men after they finished a forced march), he unleashed his rage by assaulting and destroying a Svart settler convoy.

At the same time, King Lich had done seething and come up with a plan to take Baytown.

“You think your swamps will protect you and your frog farms? Not for long. Krell isn’t the only one who can twist land around and I’ve been doing for far longer”

With a mighty crackle of magic the waters trained, muck turned into fertile soil, trees straightened and grew lush green leaves, and soft green grass spread as far as eye could see.

Several companies of Svarts marched on Baytown, because even an open plain was a huge advantage to the disciplined and heavily armored troops.

Lancel was scared. Sir Hugue managed to chase him here, but his avenue of retreat was cut off by a marauding band of skeletons. He tried to lose the pursuing knight in the mountains, but…

…Grand Stubborn Master caught up with him as he tried to ford the river near Silver Silks. A company of hunters tried to provide cover with their arrows, but those just bounced off the plate that covered both knight and steed.

“Stand fast, you coward!”

And soon, Lanceles could stand no more.

With his hero dead, his forces in Sorrow crushed and his city on the brink of collapse, Krell begged for peace. King Lich, seeing the search of a unique spell a priority, agreed.


A hooded man in an inn in Inver-on-Linn, cursed and slammed his mug of ale on the table.

“Damn useless mages, can’t even fight their own king worth a damn…”