In the previous installment of How To Make Friends And Cast Spells At People, I declared war on Elpiritster the Eternal, then proceeded to blitz-conquer his nearest city of Doomford. While reinforcing said city and mopping up the remains of his vanguard, I made the interesting discovery that Elpiritster’s capital, Elfbush, was just around the corner. This immediately changed the war prospects from ‘long, drawn-out city hopping slow’ to ‘I can probably win this entire thing in a dozen turns or so’.
So, this episode, I will attempt to do just that.
Well, no time like the present, am I right? I quickly move my remaining mobile troops to Elfbush. The mountains separating Elfbush and Doomford make a decent natural barrier, and the city is much less siegable than I hoped (though still easier than Inver-On-Linn). Still, I manage to get my troops in there. I haven’t seen any of Elpiritster’s troops yet, but I reckon he won’t wait much longer, now. More troops are brought to bear from the west, and the few units that simply can’t round the mountain range (it’s pretty busy there, now) contend themselves with shooting at Elpiritster’s Clerics and Trolls.
All of a sudden, two units of Rogues appear! That’s not an oversight on my part, as far as I can tell: they were just *there*. Since I put my Archers as close by as I could, like the dunce I occasionally am, they take the brunt of the assault. Rogues are relatively fragile (like my Ratmen Robbers) but they deal much more damage than regular Swordsmen / Spearmen. I take no casualties in this assault, but that’s more luck than anything.
The next turn brings me a second quest from the Goddess of Life, and a chance to undo my earlier blunder.
Unlike advisor-given quests, which normally don’t seem to have any negative consequences attached, failing or refusing a divine quest incurs you a penalty in favour with the God in question. -5 Favour with Agrela, in this case. And just as the previous +10 pushed me away from Krolm and Helia, this -5 will push me back towards them. Sorry, lady: I could ‘ve used the gold, but I need that favour more.
On a side note, I don’t know what happens to the magically-teleported target creatures when you refuse a quest. Could be they’re still out there, but I can’t find them anywhere. So either they, too, left in a huff, or they spawned somewhere I wasn’t willing and able to reach anyway. In any case, their loss is my gain: I win enough favour with Krolm to regain access to the Rune of Protection spell. Woo!
Not that I’m actually using that spell this turn, mind: first order of business is Lesser Heal-ing the near-death Goblin Archers and taking out the Rogues blocking my path. They provide good target practice for my newly-created Magic Tower and get curbstomped in short order.
A Shamans guild goes in Burnlin and a Ratmen Guild in Scrapburg (which is under assault from Flying Serpents, but really, who cares?), and I’m done for the day.
On Elpiritster’s turn, I remember, again, that city fire is a thing. I Lesser Heal-ed those Goblin Archers to conserve mana, but they are still by far the most valuable — and low-health — target within range. Does city fire scale with city size? Will I have to retreat my Archers afterwards, if they’re still alive? Do I even have space for retreating without mucking up the rest of my advance?
Luckily, Elpiritster kindly allows me to dodge all these issues by attacking the Magic Tower instead.
I cannot stress enough how much this baffles me. Why the Magic Tower? It is not nearly the most dangerous unit present on the battlefield: my kitted-out, Level-four-or-five Goblin Archers each deal more damage per shot! Not to mention that Goblins have less hitpoints and less defenses, and have a much greater tendency to stay dead when hit. Hell, the Tower auto-repairs at the start of my turn:
I’m going to put this down as a quirk of the AI. It seems to have an inordinate fondness for attacking stationary objects: I’ve seen monsters ignore my soldiers to have a go at the Runes of Protection as well. It’s… I’ve heard good things about about Warlock’s tactical AI, and seen some pretty good things in the demo as well, but quite frankly this is just embarrassing. If Elfbush keeps prioritizing the Magic Tower over my actual troops, city fire basically ceases to be an issue entirely.
I grab some quest rewards from the Harbor I built in Inver-On-Linn — which, I should remind you, is now completely full…
…and build a Bank in Oddich, because money. Then, it’s time to continue the assault on Elfbush!
Or, rather, since Elfbush can’t fight back at the moment, I decide to first take out that one unit of Trolls hanging out near Doomford. I’ve been alluding to their strength before, but we haven’t actually seen them in action. Why do I keep insisting they’re so tough? Well, look for yourself:
They pack a serious punch, they have decent resistances and they’ve been kitted out pretty well, but the real danger — as with a lot of stronger Monsters — is their high regeneration. Between their natural Regeneration perk and the level-up First Aid one, they regain ten hit points every turn. You have to hit them really hard to make sure damage sticks, basically. And every melee attack is met with a swing from those tree trunk clubs.
Luckily, Trolls have no Elemental Resistance. You might be expecting a Sunstroke at this point, but I decide to try mixing things up a little by casting the Frost Weapon Enchant spell on a nearby unit of Goblin Spearmen. This spell, which has an upkeep cost of one mana per turn, allows a unit to deal 20% extra damage, as Elemental damage. For the Spearmen, this means they now deal 12 Melee damage and an additional 2 Elemental.
It doesn’t do them a whole lot of good, of course.
Regardless, I wail on the Trolls for a bit, and eventually bring them to under half health. Next turn, maybe.
As my weakened Ratmen Robbers would’ve been killed in the counterattack, I instead send them to chase a running unit of injured Clerics. I’d seen them run off last turn, only to get attacked by monsters in the Fog of War. I follow the Clerics down, only to find something I completely didn’t expect: a monster city.
I didn’t even know monsters could take over cities: I’d just assumed they would make like Civilization barbarians and trash the place. What do monsters even need a city for? Do they do anything with it? I’m not seeing any buildings around it. Are they saving up to build on that Halberdhall? Should I be expecting Monster Halberdiers next?
Leaving the monster city for what it is for now, I continue the assault. Elpiritster attempts to escape with a Settler, which won’t work because a) he immediately loses if I take his capital, and b) his Settler runs into a group of angry bears and gets eaten immediately. Probably should’ve made some troops instead, Elpy-me-mate.
Actually, come to think of it, where are Elpiritster’s troops? He hasn’t shown up with anything new this turn. A chilling thought creeps up on me. I’ve been referring to that four-unit squad as Elpiritster’s vanguard… but what if it wasn’t? What if that, and those two surprise Rogues, were his entire army? I don’t want to believe it, but it’s certainly starting to look that way. That means all that posturing, all that extortion, all that forward expansion was done knowing full well that my army was mightier than his.
And… hey! That means I wouldn’t’ve had to put up with his nonsense all that time, either!
Never again, then. From now on, I’m assuming that the diplomatic penalty ‘Envy of ‘the leader” means ‘Someone I can curbstomp’. That means you, Frost. Better watch out: you’re still next on my list. I’ll have no more of *your* extortion nonsense, either.
I punch on both Elfbush and Elpiritster’s Trolls some more, and start researching the Helia-aligned ‘Drought’ spell. I’m certainly going through these spells kinda fast: almost all of them take only three, maybe four turns to be researched. A consequence of my perk choice and my research-oriented lifestyle? Whatever the case, I’m not complaining. More toys for me! Maybe I’ll end up getting a tech victory, who knows.
I was already moving a Settler west, and she’s reached the designated spot just as Frost forced my hand. The city of Globmarsh is born! I also quickly craft some new troops to send west: with the small land bridge there, I should be able to keep Frost at bay should he decide to try anything. ‘Should’ being the operative word: Frost was just as envious of me as Elpiritster was.
Doomford gains a new Library, while Elfbush gains a few new arrow holes…
…and Elpiritster’s Trolls — the last remnants, I should assume, of his never-mighty army — gain a new respect for the power of Lesser Heal spells and zerging, as my always-intended-as-temporary-but-oddly-permanent Imps punch their lights out permanently.
Ol’ man Elpy responds to this by trying to sue for peace. Nice try, ghost-man, but that’s not how this story goes. There’s literally no benefit in leaving you alive. And you’re not even trying to sweeten the deal, either. Come back when you’re prepared to give me all your Gold and Mana in return for peace, then we’ll talk.
Peace offer failed, Elpiritster sends in his second duo-unit of Backup Rogues. They do some damage, but focus on the Runes of Protection first (there’s that AI quirk again), so they inflict no casualties and I kill them pretty quickly. Turns out Vampires are an excellent Rogue-repellent. Who’d have thought?
Finally, Elpiritster’s Clerics fall to unseen monsters. He’s out of an army, out of options, and out of luck. The peace offer is made again, unsweetened again, and rejected again.
The Drought spell being finished, I get yet another Helia spell in my repertoire: Blessing of the Sun, a spell that increases Food production in any city. I’m pretty fine for Food as it is, but God-aligned spells are God-aligned spells. I investigate the Drought spell and find it does this:
Can you guess which ice-themed Great Mage is going to be hit with magical desiccation in two turns? Actually, let’s skip ahead to that, as nothing really interesting happens anyway (troops are moved, attacks are made, and I deign to stomp all over the monster city of Los-Agrelas as it’s in my way anyway). The reason I’m doing this is because this spell looks awesome: bright orange plumes of sunlight streak down on St. Mouseberg, and an explosion of fireworks announces to all the world my amazing prowess as a Great Mage.
Looks like casting this spell did incur a -7 ‘Merciless’ penalty with Frost, but who cares? He’s a dead man walking anyway.
Finally, after the construction of a Gold mine (+12 Gold per turn, yes please) and one final, pointless plea for peace by Elpiritster, I commence the final assault. Arrows are fired, blood is drained, and my nearly-died-five-times-in-the-course-of-this-war Spearmen are given the final honour of walking into the city of Elfbush…
…and ending Elpiritster the Eternal’s miserable contribution to this game.