Welcome back, to what’s shaping up to be the second week of Jarenth, Level Whatever Warlock. In the previous installment, I tried my hand at diplomacy and recruited some Vampires into my army. I like to think these things might have been related in some way, but they really weren’t. Still, living the dream. When we left off, I’d just been asked to conquer the city of Webshire, a small oddly-not-spider-infested city that I was poised to take over anyway. Let me tell you: quests that align with objectives you’d already set for yourself are the best quests.
Do note that this episode is a little shorter than the previous two. I’m still trying to find a good length, and sometimes good cutoff points just happen early.
At this point in time, I find myself with two immediate objectives. One, I have to take over Webshire, for probably rather self-evident reasons. And two, I really want to return to my westward expansion, to show that Ogre who’s boss. Hopefully, to show him I’m boss. To that end, I split my army: Two archers, one unit of spearmen and my summoned imps go to Webshire, whereas my other unit of Spearmen, my last unit of Archers and my newly-acquired Vampires get a chance to prove themselves on the western frontier. I also queue up yet another Settler, because expansion is great and I need more money, food and mana.
I also notice my War University is now finished. This allows me access to the Masters of War perk for pretty much all my troops, which increases EXP gain by 1 per turn:
As far as I can tell, in Warlock, every unit gains a base rate of 1 EXP per turn, regardless of what they do. Battle seems to influence this, but I haven’t actually checked this yet. There’s a whole host of other options that can influence this EXP gain, though: There’s a level-3 perk that increases the gain by one point per turn, as well as a character attribute. A character attribute, actually, that Elpiritster has, meaning his troops will, over time, outlevel mine. Or, they would, but my War University allows me to even the gain a little. Unless he has one as well, of course, but we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.
As predicted, Webshire falls in two turns. The one Skeleton Archer defending it, while remarkably resilient to arrow fire, cannot stand before my demon-supported goblin army. As my army celebrates in the streets and the fires of victory burn for miles, a shadowy ‘Advisor’ rewards my successful conquest with over two hundred gold coins.
In this time frame, I also start research on the Frost Weapons spell, which will allow my units to deal extra Elemental Damage — permanently, as Vipermagi pointed out in the comments two episodes back –, and I construct a Market in Oddich and a Granary in St. Mouseberg. The Market will open the way for a Ratmen Guild, which I want because damnit, I want to see what units this faction has on offer. The Granary is part of a line of Food-producing buildings that boosts production city-wide: The Granary increases Food production by 50%, and opens the way for the Mill; the Mill offers 75% and opens the way for the Great Granary; the Great Granary offers 100% and… I don’t actually know if that unlocks anything. Point is: St. Mouseberg already produces most of the food I consume. If I stack these (single-construction) Food boosters, and use the city’s plentiful shoreline and space to build more Food producers, I can probably turn St. Mouseberg into the near-literal bread-basket of my empire. This is just a theory, of course, but I’ll see how far it takes me.
With that out of the way, exploration can resume. In the west, I find and obliterate some Skeletons…
…and run into some Rogues, who quickly become Vampire chow. Where’s the Ogre, you ask? No idea. He can stay as hidden as he likes for all I care.
In the east, my armies sweep out to find, and kill, some random weak-level monsters, like flying serpents and rats. It’s not glamorous work, but it pays the bills.
While this happens, my Non-Aggression Pact with Elpiritster expires. I don’t really feel like tangling with Ghost Chief Elpiritster right now, and while the default state (i.e. no active treaties) is just ‘lukewarm ignorance’, I’d feel better with another Non-Aggression Pact. Sadly, it looks like the price has gone up:
I open the Diplomacy window to find out just what warranted this Peace Price Hike and immediately get sidetracked by the Religion screen, which I promised earlier I’d show an overview of. Well, here you go:
As you can see, the eight gods are aligned in an octagon. Each god has allies, opponents and one direct opposite, and favour with one god implies favour and disfavour with others. For instance, in the above screenshot, you can see I have +29 favour with Helia. Correspondingly, I have -29 favour with Helia’s opposite, Lunord. What’s not directly clear, however, is that favour with Helia also nets me (less) favour with Helia’s neighbours, Krolm (up top) and Dauros (on the left). I’ve actually researched and used the Dauros-favoured Holy Word spell earlier. On the flip-side, this means I have negative relations with every other god. For instance: Grumgog, god of Chaos and bottom spoke of the God Wheel, thinks this of me:
Religion can be a factor in diplomatic relations, but so far I’ve only ever seen it be positive. Even though Elpiritster and me have different religious views, they are not far enough apart to make him hate me. Maybe I just got lucky the first time around? Only time will tell.
While the west front remains relatively uneventful, I find a promising, level-4 city on the eastern coast called Inver-on-Linn, a name that immediately makes me believe the British have colonized Ardania. It’s placed on a small strip of water-surrounded land, which makes it both impossible to surround and terrible real estate, but I don’t really care: it’s there, so it’s mine. I roll up some Goblin Archers and take a potshot at the city.
Ok, that… that’s not a whole lot of damage here. But it’s ok, it’s ok: I have a magical orbital strike for situations like this. Sunstroke will make short work of that city: it’s never failed me before.
Wow, what? This is a level four city, granted, but does that have that much influence? I mean, it’s guarded by a bunch of regular swordsmen, they shouldn’t be that tough.
This city is guarded by a bunch of regular swordsmen, right?
Ah, so that’s the way it is. These Veterans are, to use a technical phrase, tough cookies, and with them splitting damage with the city and there being only one land access route, there will be no swift resolution to this conflict.
Guess it’s time for an old-fashioned siege.
Entering combat grants your unit multiple exp points; I think it’s five. That goes for attacking and defending. In my experience, Master of War is mostly useful for city sentries (protip: having a unit parked on your city is ridiculously effective. There’s also a command for the unit to Guard until something approaches. Press the >> icon on the bottom left to find it). Units that actually fight get plenty exp by just fighting.
That said, if you have the money, you might as well.
Good move on specialising your cities. It’s by far the most effective way of massing resources. Segue: Humans produce the most money, beasts the most food and undead the most mana. However, cities of another race than your starter suffer from a growth penalty. It’s pretty noticable. Luckily you can just spam Settlers and solve issues that way.
“having a unit parked on your city is ridiculously effective”
NEXT EPISODE: Jarenth finds this out, the hard way.