View Full Version : Total War: Mystara, or Let's Play Fantasy Empires

11-19-2008, 04:18 PM

(NOTE: all images have a default resolution of 320x200, but I'm upsizing to 640x400 so they're easier to read. this is being played in Boxer, an amasingly great dosbox front end, under osx 10.5.5)

Fantasy Empires is primarily a turn-based strategy game built with the original Dungeons & Dragons rules. It also has optional arcade sequences for when armies battle. It's a precursor to the Total War series of games, but I'm not sure if it's THE precursor, as something else may have used this formula before it.

Basic gameplay is thus:

You start with some territories under your control. Each territory can build some number of structures, and these structures influence how many of which kinds of troops you can raise, how strong they are, how strong your defenses in that territory are (a mud hut or a fortress), and additionally you can build towers that help you generate magic power for your spells. You cast spells on enemy territories and the units stationed there, and move your own troops from territory to territory in an attempt to conquer all your opponents.

This particular game uses the Mystara game world, which was the implied setting for the original Dungons & Dragons release.

11-19-2008, 04:37 PM
First thing we've got to do is make a character!

Our character is the leader of our forces. Its class, alignment, and stats will influence the heroes and troops and magic we have at our disposal.

The first thing you'll have to do is decide on a face.


I think the game uses pretty much all of these for our opponents; I don't think there're any "unique" in there. So get together and decide what looks best!

We're also going to need a name. No more than eleven (11) characters.

And a short character history! About 160~ characters is good.

The rest of our choices are thus:


Fighter: basic melee fighter.
Magic User: arcane magic; fireballs and the like. hero unit has a ranged magic attack
Cleric: holy magic; heal, turn and raise undead. at level 9 can become a druid. hero has a ranged magic attack.
Elf: hero is fast, has both a bow and a sword attack.
Dwarf: basic melee fighter.

In addition to normal troops, we'll also be building hero units; these are basically adventurers. Heroes that are the same class as your character get bonuses to both attacks and adventures (more on that later). Additionally, any troops of the same type will get bonuses as well (an elf character will have stronger elf troops, and so on).

It should be noted that ALL character classes generate magic power for spells, but magic users and clerics (and later druids) build power faster than the other classes. On the other hand, there are no regular magic user or cleric troops to benefit from the passive class bonus.


Lawful: +10% income, easier to make treaties but very hard to break them, easier to turn undead. If you raise a lot of undead as a Lawful character, or break a lot of treaties, the game will change your alignment.

Neutral: nothing special.

Chaotic: -10% income, difficult to make treaties but can freely break them without penalty, but make more undead when casting Raise Dead.


Our character's attributes all affect our territories and troops indirectly. I'll be mashing the "reroll" button to get a good character, but I want you guys to pick 2-3 attributes to emphasise.

Strength: Hero melee damage.
Intelligence: Affects Magic User spells (both hero and realm)
Wisdom: Affects Cleric spells (both hero and realm)
Dexterity: Hero defense.
Constitution: Hero hit points.
Charisma: Territory income.

Our character will start at level 1. As we complete games, we'll gain experience and go up in level. Once we've created our character, I'll post the other level 1 opponents available and we'll decide who we're beatin' up.

Emcee Escher
11-19-2008, 04:55 PM
For the face, you should choose the metallic head that's third from the right in the second row. Instead of looking at it like a knight's helmet, you have to view the eyeslit as the mouth of some large metallic creature with no eyes.

For the name, I was going to suggest Bob the Destroyer, but that's too many syllables.

Instead: Bobsmash.

Octopus Prime
11-19-2008, 04:59 PM
I see a skeleton wearing a beret on the right side of the bottom row. Use that.

I propse you name your skeletal avenger... Chauncy.

11-19-2008, 05:03 PM
I see a skeleton wearing a beret on the right side of the bottom row. Use that.
Furthermore, it's only reasonable that a beret-wearing skeleton would have high stats in Dexterity (for his smooth moves on the dance floor) and Charisma (obviously).

11-19-2008, 05:09 PM
Very important question: how close are Elves & Dwarves to their 1st edition D&D counterparts? If "Elf" is really a Fighter/Magic-User, then I totally vote for an Elf. Hell, even if not, I'd probably still vote Elf.

Focus on Dexterity and either Strength or Intelligence, depending on spellcasting ability or not.

Alignment: Lawful

11-19-2008, 05:14 PM
Elf = ranger, more or less. They might give a small bonus to arcane magic generation, but I wouldn't stand by that. The elf heroes definitely don't have any magic, though, and elf troops are just longbow archers.

11-19-2008, 06:12 PM
I vote for the saucy sister at 4.5, and for her name to be Bride of Blacula.
EDIT: That doesn't fit, so just go with Ample's answer, as we should with all things.

Ample Vigour
11-19-2008, 06:39 PM
I propose you name your skeletal avenger... Eddie.


11-19-2008, 06:45 PM
4th row, 2nd dude. I like his glasses. Elf. Name him Lennon.

11-19-2008, 07:26 PM
Oh, holy crap, when you mentioned Fantasy Empires earlier, I didn't connect it with this game. I thought no one else had ever played it. My brothers and I would get in epic 3 player wars, all around one computer when I was younger.

I say go with Elf for the hero, beret clad skeleton, named Guycot maybe?

I look forward to seeing you go through this, I really should try finding this again.

11-19-2008, 07:38 PM
I see a skeleton wearing a beret on the right side of the bottom row. Use that.

I propse you name your skeletal avenger... Chauncy.

The other names are good too. I'm torn.

This may make/break the deal - when I think Chauncy, I think Wonder Showzen. What do y'all think about that?

11-19-2008, 08:16 PM
We should totally go for the skeleton with the beret. After all, though we've died, our revolution has not!

Chauncy is a fine name, as well.

11-19-2008, 09:08 PM
We should go with Alan Moore there in 4.2. He can write graphic novels about underage storybook characters fucking when he's not conquering the land. Taking part in something so crass and commercial as a computer game would probably piss him off, too.

11-20-2008, 04:20 AM
I'm seconding the skeleton with a beret as well. I mean, is there even another choice at this point?

Oh, and go as a Chaotic Fighter with an emphasis on Strength and Intelligence. We're going to war here, son - strength is all you really need.

11-20-2008, 07:32 AM
I vote for the blue-skinned elf right above the fighter. I'd like to become a magic user with all my points in INT and CHA.

11-20-2008, 09:51 AM
I like the dude in shades there at 1-4.

11-20-2008, 10:52 AM
I vote for the blue-skinned elf right above the fighter. I'd like to become a magic user with all my points in INT and CHA.

You mean the one right above Chauncy? If we go with her, she has to be named Oola.

11-20-2008, 03:09 PM
You mean the one right above Chauncy? If we go with her, she has to be named Oola.

I'm cool with Oola. That means of course we put all her points into charisma.

11-20-2008, 07:00 PM
Looks like Chauncy the skeletelf is the winner! We still need a short background or character history. We've got space for 160 characters. You can come up with something longer, but the salient details should be able to be summarised in that.

11-20-2008, 07:03 PM
Looks like Chauncy the skeletelf is the winner! We still need a short background or character history. We've got space for 160 characters. You can come up with something longer, but the salient details should be able to be summarised in that.

Tell me why I had to be a powerslave
I dont wanna die, Im a god, why cant I live on?
When the life giver dies, all around is laid to waste.
And in my last hour,
Im a slave to the power of death.

Ample Vigour
11-20-2008, 08:38 PM
Tell me why I had to be a powerslave
I dont wanna die, Im a god, why cant I live on?
When the life giver dies, all around is laid to waste.
And in my last hour,
Im a slave to the power of death.

Octopus Prime
11-21-2008, 02:10 AM
Born into an aristocratic family, young Chauncy learned, at a young age that he was skilled at necromancy. He opted to go into business for himself, pillaging other settlements.

11-21-2008, 08:32 AM
I am too late to this party. I was gonna suggest the very last portrait, magical affinities, named Dumbledore.

But Chauncy's awesome, so no worries.

11-21-2008, 07:19 PM
Man, the character history got a lot less interest than I thought it would. =/ Alas and alack! We'll go with a mix of lyric + lichdom.

The verra last thing before we get started in the first game: we need opponents!






Fantasy Empire battles consist of 2-5 characters who initially start in a free-for-all mode but can later make alliances. There are five level 1 character choices, but only 4 slots.. but we also aren't REQUIRED to fill out all slots.

So pick some number of the above guys and we will go a'thrashin'. Remember that even if we lose, we still gain some experience.. just not as much experience as if we'd won.

Emcee Escher
11-21-2008, 09:23 PM
I vote for the "mentally unstable" dude or the "very ugly person."

I have to say, these opponents are a little more... unique then most other villains in old games.

Ample Vigour
11-21-2008, 10:43 PM
I vote for the "mentally unstable" dude or the "very ugly person."

I have to say, these opponents are a little more... unique then most other villains in old games.

I want those two and the lost Doobie Brother dwarf.

11-23-2008, 02:49 PM
Let's go with the mentally-unstable religious fanatic and the adventurer who cares not for trivialities. They seem like a fun pair.

11-23-2008, 03:07 PM
Let's go with the mentally-unstable religious fanatic and the adventurer who cares not for trivialities. They seem like a fun pair.
I was about to post the same pair, but for different reasons: they have the best names. With a name like Theodosius, no wonder he's lost it. Taz, I assume, has a devastating whirlwind attack.

Octopus Prime
11-23-2008, 03:26 PM
I think we can beat up that ugly guy.

If he didn't want to get beat up, he shouldn't have been ugly in the eyes of Chauncy!

11-24-2008, 05:18 PM
This post intentionally left blank.

11-24-2008, 05:27 PM
So, you know that nice table of character faces? Turns out only the first three rows are available for player characters. I can't remember if you can unlock the rest of the faces by defeating the rest of the opponents, or what...

So I just copied the skeleton portrait onto one of the unused character-available portraits. I did it for you, Tyrants. And so:


The formatting for the character background is bizarre. You can't use commas or semicolons, but CAN use colons. I NEED those punctuation marks. =(

I went ahead and made him Chaotic since a) no one had input on the alignment, and b) the Tyrants seem fairly chaotic in general. Also this'll give us a bonus on Animate Dead.

He'll be facing off against:




Like so!


The banner icons are not default-customisable.. although if anyone wants to come up with some custom banners, I can just copy them over the defaults. I gave Chauncy the black and purple skeleton banner there.

So we are all ready to go and--



Today's word is: essentially

11-24-2008, 05:59 PM

Turn 1.

(I spent awhile highlighting all the different kingdoms, then realised it looked terrible. I will go over some shoppin' tutorials later to figure out how to get the effect I want.)

So here's how this works.

Every territory can produce at least one kind of regular troop. It can also maybe produce some heroes. If you control every territory of a country, you get a bonus to your income. This makes even small countries beneficial because they're easy to get the bonus. There are 98 territories total, with a country consisting of at least two territories and maybe up to ten or so.

We're starting in the Ethengar Khanate, which is that large open plains area - including the mountain to the northeast - in the north-central part of the map. It's one of the largest countries, but there's not a lot of troop variety; mostly just human fighters. Flavour-wise, it's essentially Mongolia.


Taz is starting in the Shire. The Shire's the smallest country, only two territories, and only produces halfling regular troops, who have a ranged sling attack.


Theo's in the isles of the Minrothad Guilds, which is the eastern set of islands. A fair distribution of troop and hero types, and the country's set up for trade and money-makin'.

Let's take a look at our starting territory.


Yakkas brings us 1850 gold a turn, is part of the Khanates country, and can produce fighters.

Any time a territory says it can produce fighters, elves, or dwarves, it can produce both the regular troops and the hero type.


Your starting territory has a fairly basic castle structure, a keep, and two armories. Armories produce your units, and a keep is necessary to "hold" a territory. If you do not have a keep in a territory, your units will face attrition every round until you either build the keep or they're all killed off. Castle walls come into play during attacks.

You can also see we have one of each hero type, and they're all level 1. Heroes gain levels by going on quests, where they gain experience and also have the chance to bring back relics (which can passively boost stuff or give you one- or multiple-use spells and powers).

Thus the first choices!

I went ahead and built 6 fighter troops this turn, which is the max you can pump out with two armories. They'll be ready next turn.

* What heroes do you want to send out? In the beginning I generally send everyone out on easy quests for a few turns to build up their levels and see if they come back with any cheapy loot.

* What do you want to start taking over first? There are a few good options:

1) The Broken Lands, to the west. It's a three-territory country, and each territory can produce orcs (strong melee fighters) and shadow elves (crossbow ranged attackers).

2) Alfheim, to the south. Again three-territory, and mostly just produces elves. This is useful because Chauncy's an elf, so all his elf troops get a bonus in battle, and his elf heroes are stronger than normal. This also puts us into conflict with Taz.

3) Rockhome to the southeast. Five territories, land o' the dwarves.

4) Start taking over the Khanates. Our opponents are all to the south, so we'll have lots of time to set up a border and can expand in peace.

We are NOT locked into a single strategy, even at the beginning; you're given enough gold that you can usually start to go after two or three things. But pick one to start with, and we'll see how things are shaping up around turn 5.

11-24-2008, 07:04 PM
Broken Lands, natch - where else is a necromantic skeleton going to set up shop?

11-24-2008, 10:27 PM
I second the Broken Lands idea. (Do shadow elves get Chauncy's bonus?)

We should probably start spreading across the Khanate too. It's big, but we'll need that territory before we start taking on the major NPCs.

11-24-2008, 10:58 PM
Broken Lands, obv. The Orcs of Thar was one of my favorite D&D Gazetteers back when I was a wee lad.

Ample Vigour
11-24-2008, 11:02 PM
Broken Lands, natch - where else is a necromantic skeleton going to set up shop?

11-26-2008, 05:41 PM
Turn 1: Sent the heroes out on quests, built regular fighter troops.
Turn 2: Built more regular fighter troops.
Turn 3: Heroes returned from their quests, sent troops into the Broken Lands.

The easiest way for heroes to get levels is to send them on quests. This is a simple menu interface; you get a list of your heroes, and you can send a hero on a quest from difficulty 1 to difficulty 5. If they survive, they generally gain a level, and there's a chance they'll bring back either equipment for themselves, or a vault relic.


Basic +1 axe, so he'll do more damage during battles. The elf and cleric didn't get anything, the fighter and the magic user both brought back displacer cloaks.



Moving troops is a pretty simple process. Select a province with troops, decide where you want them to go, and how many of which types. I went ahead and sent all the fighters into the Eastern Brokenlands, so that they'll be able to build a Keep the next turn, and move the surviving troops into the Western Brokenlands and do the same thing.

There's a couple of reasons you want a big batch of troops when conquering neutral provinces.

The first, obviously, is you want SOMEONE there in case the enemy decides to attack.

The second is attrition. You lose between 50 and 100 troops every turn UNLESS a Keep is built.

This early in the game, the strategy is just to build up batches of troops, march them into neutral territories, build keeps, and do it again. And so we do! In the process, we get a message~


I felt fairly confident that consensus would be to turn him down. So I did!


Ho ho ho. We'll see about that.

I love how he signed the first message, but not the second.

After seven or eight turns, this is how the world looks.


Theo's been really slow in development (there's some travel time between islands), while Taz's been storming along the coast.

Our heroes are level 5, and everyone's got some equipment, but we don't have any relics yet (stuff like wands of animate dead, et cetera).

We have about 600 fighters standing by right now, 180 orcs, and 60 shadow elves.


1) Alfheim. Taz is moving north, so moving into Alfheim basically says, "We are going to take a bunch of elves and stomp your halflings into the ground."

2) Continue taking the Khanates, and possibly move up into Gilantri to the northwest, which is a magic-heavy country. Wait until Taz and Theo start fighting, then move on Taz's western strongholds.

Taz is probably going to be the first to fall, unless you want to orchestrate something that involves a looooong march southeast to Theo's islands.

(I am not confident enough to add any "novelisation" of these combats and conquests; if someone else(s) wants to toss some prose in here, or flesh out some of the characters, that would be pretty great. it's a D&D war game, after all.)

11-26-2008, 05:52 PM
Let's go curbstomp some halflings!

Octopus Prime
11-26-2008, 06:02 PM
Crazed, furry midgets are no match for Chauncy and his army.

His Army... OF DARKNESS.

11-26-2008, 06:04 PM
2) Continue taking the Khanates, and possibly move up into Gilantri to the northwest, which is a magic-heavy country. Wait until Taz and Theo start fighting, then move on Taz's western strongholds.
This would usually be my approach, but is it possible that T&T would set aside their differences and gang up on you?

Ample Vigour
11-27-2008, 01:17 AM
The time has come to trample Alfheim beneath your benevolent boots.

11-27-2008, 11:16 AM
Alfheim looks like the way to go. Taz seems like kind of a jerk, so we should put some pressure on him early. Plus, given the alarming attrition rate, any new province we conquer is going to tie down a bunch of troops until we can build more keeps. If we take Alfheim, our troops can do double duty, garrisoning the rebellious new provinces while blocking Taz's expansion. The last thing we want is to have swarms of crazed halflings infesting our yurts.

11-29-2008, 11:44 AM
Chauncy wanted Alfheim. All of it. Since his return the elves feared him, but he knew their minds and skills and how best to use them. This upstart warrior in the south - using halflings, of all things - was not going to stand in his way. The Truesight magics had shown him it was poorly guarded, which was a windfall.. but now he worried about where the main force was stationed.

I built an armory in my first Broken Lands province (due to its good position for moving troops to the maximum number of territories later) and have been slowly building up orcs and shadow elves since. Pretty soon I'll place a second armory so it'll go a little faster. Technically you can see two armories in these pictures; that's cos I took 'em a few turns from now. THEY ARE FROM THE FUTURE. Marvel and be in awe~


Orcs only cost 50 more gold than a basic fighter and, well, they're orcs, so that's hardly any price at all. Shadow elves are definitely expensive, though, and take 2 turns to build. I've put together a small force and it's time to put 'em to use.



As long as you have magic users, clerics, and druids, you'll slowly gain magic power in their respective spheres (literally; the orbs at the top of the screen represent how much magic you have of each type). Truesight is a basic magic user (green) spell that lets you see the troops and buildings in a province. It takes very little magic, so you can use it a lot, if you need to.

We can see he's got almost no one in South Alfheim, so let's take it.


Top screen is the attacker, bottom screen is the defender. You can see all that Taz has got here is the keep.

You can set your troops to Barrage, Harass, or Assault, and they're all self-explanatory. You also have two options for troop placement, manual or automatic. Automatic will set everything down in straight rows, but.. that's borrrring.


Cor, that's not much better.

In the options you can set down the ratio of troops you want to use, from 1:1 up to 20:1. We're on 20:1 right now, so every block (and every troop you see on screen) is actually 20, except for heroes, which are always just themselves.

Orcs: scimitar
S.Elf: bolt
Dwarf hero: gold axe


Once the battle starts, you control one of your troops with the keyboard (in two-player hotseat, one person uses wadx and the other uses the numpad). Most troops just have one attack with the spacebar, like our dwarf and orcs and shadow elves. Elf heroes have both a bow and sword attack, and are unique in this respect.

The sword is your current unit's health. The shield is your overall force's health. The small sword icon is your current strategy (assault, in this case).


When a unit dies, they turn into a sparkly pink swirl (of.. blood, I guess?) and whoosh away. Our dwarf hero just cut down a halfling slinger.

Battles tend to be pretty lopsided, but while you can let the computer simulate the fight, I almost never do; it tends to go poorly for me when there's no reason why it should. One nice thing is that, much like the Total War series, when an enemy is clearly outnumbered they will run the fuck away. Generally they wait too long to do this (like when there's just one troop left) but it's still a nice touch.



Doesn't help that halflings are weak and orcs and shadow elves are badass, mwaha.

After the fight, I finally get an armory built in North Alfheim.


The standard breakdown of fighters + siege equipment, but now we can also build elf troops and elf heroes. The elf troops are expensive, though, so for now I'm just going to train up some fighters to shore up our line.

Taz is manuevering to the east, trying to capture all of Darokin and surround us. We're in an unstable position; time to gather the orcs and the khanate fighters and fight for ground.

NEXT TIME: Where there's a whip, there's a way!

12-01-2008, 06:59 PM
NEXT TIME: Where there's a whip, there's a way!

Are you building a Belmont?

12-01-2008, 08:08 PM
Are you building a Belmont?

No. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdXQJS3Yv0Y)

Updates are a little slow because I've gotten into a knockout dragdown fight with Taz. "Gained 3 territories this turn. Lost 1. Gained 2. Lost 1." And so on. I'll probably post tomorrow with a bunch of stuff.

12-03-2008, 04:38 PM

The towers in northern Darokin were complete, and Chauncy's new clerics were secured away from the frontlines, channelling their magics to him. Slowly but surely the skeletal army was coming together. Oh, his elven champions were dependable enough, and were bringing back some quite valuable treasures now, but it was the orcs and undead that made up the bulk of his army. The fighters from the khanates served as cheaper fodder to take the unprotected territories and shore up the defensive line.

Everybody likes necromancers, but our single cleric just wasn't cutting it. While I was making the initial attacks into Alfheim, I grabbed a territory in Darokin, built a Cleric Tower, and started (slowly - 4 turns per hero, and each tower can only build one at a time!) putting together a priesthood. We have five clerics now, all level 5. I haven't wanted to risk them on higher-difficulty missions or combats just yet.

The battle for Alfheim was actually the easiest part of this. Taz had grabbed the territories with massed halflings, which are cheap (400 per troop) but ridiculously weak. Our orcs and fighters fairly slaughtered the lots, and yea, the forests ran red with the blood of our teeny tiny enemies. Unfortunately, he spread out to Darokin (which basically surrounds Alfheim) and there was a lot of back-and-forth as I'd grab a couple of his unprotected territories, but he'd come in on an unprotected side and grab one of mine.


The current world.

A lot has changed!

The fight with Taz has been pretty brutal. Either he or Theo got ahold of a Rod of Lightning. Lightning is a spell that will strike random buildings in a territory. This gets expensive if it's something like an armory or tower, but is worse if it hits your keep; you just lost 50-100 troops due to attrition, and have to spend money to build another keep. Rods can be used quite a few times before they break, and at one point I was having to build 2-3 keeps every turn, which left no money for troops.

Dark times. =/

Chauncy's mixed forces of khanate fighters and Broken Lands orcs, augmented with skeleton warriors via Animate Dead, have been fighting in the forests of Alfheim and the plains and marshes of Darokin for months. What eventually tipped the balance was building up a force of about 300 orcs, 300 fighters, and ~100 undead, and simply steamrolling through Taz's holdings. He didn't leave much in the way of garrisons, and as long as I kept pressing forward there was no danger of him retaking territory.

The Shire's currently under control of enthralled halflings, but this is actually a problem; halflings are terrible, as evidenced by battles where 200 regular fighters wind up wiping out 500 halflings. Which would be fine if the Shire was landlocked, but it's not, it's a coastal country.

A coastal/island territory connects with all coastal/island territories. If the two territories are close by, the travel time is generally 2 to 3 turns. If it's far, it might be 5 turns or more. This is partly why Theo's been so slow to expand compared to Taz and ourselves; it can take quite awhile for his troops to get from one place to another. It's also going to be an issue when we finally have to start taking him on, but spells like Lightning and Earthquake may help alleviate that (destroy keep, soldiers die off, territory is lost, one less place you have to send troops).

Our border's a little spotty right now, so I'm going to have to spend at least 2-3 turns consolidating the coastal holdings or I'll just lose them to the first attack.

What do we do after that?

1) Land domination. The easiest countries to focus on right now would be Gilantri to the northwest, which specialises in magic users; the Khanates in the north; or the Emirates of Ylarum (eastern desert, clerics). Pick one to focus on immediately, and then start going after the others. Basic strategy here is just to take and hold the continent, sending out heroes to recover magic items and building magic users, clerics, and eventually druids to use in "artillery" attacks on Theo's territories.

2) Grab islands. Whatever's free right now, and then maybe start attacking Theo's territories.

3) Something else? Put on your strategemerical thinkin' hats +1.

Ample Vigour
12-03-2008, 04:51 PM
1) Land domination. The easiest countries to focus on right now would be Gilantri to the northwest, which specialises in magic users; the Khanates in the north; or the Emirates of Ylarum (eastern desert, clerics). Pick one to focus on immediately, and then start going after the others. Basic strategy here is just to take and hold the continent, sending out heroes to recover magic items and building magic users, clerics, and eventually druids to use in "artillery" attacks on Theo's territories.

Chauncy hungers for the lands of the Khanate.

12-03-2008, 05:49 PM
Are there movement penalties through the mountains there? I'd also favor crushing the Khanates (Spock must be avenged), but if the desert can be seized without extending your vulnerable border, why not?

12-03-2008, 09:18 PM
I vote for conquering the northwest, then sidling northeast, so we'll have almost the entire continent.

We can then move south and put pressure on Taz, either breaking him or forcing him to drive Theo back into the ocean from whence he came (at which point we would then proceed to drive Taz himself into the ocean as well, of course).

12-03-2008, 09:28 PM
I say go north and add a few magic users to your arsenal. Having some... artillery help on your side should help you when you press south and take out Taz and Theo.

12-16-2008, 09:28 PM
It's over! This game is a poor Let's Play candidate; it is not condusive to screenshotting, as the only action happens in a tiny window in battles, which typically last no more than 10-20 seconds (!!). It could probably work if I sunk a lot of time into some kind of java web app thingy that made it easy for me to update the map with troop stats et cetera.. but I'm no coder, and I didn't think of that ahead of time, when I might've been able to con someone else into doing it.

Also, the fighting was MERCILESS. My enthusiasm got pretty-well shitkicked more than once. Your choices of Taz and Theodosis were apparently (spitefully) well-chosen.

Here's the map at the end of the game.


Aside from the north-western kingdom of Glantri, and the north-central kingdom of the Khanates, NONE of that was conquered just for the hell of it. Every inch was fought over.

How did it get to this?

The tattered remnants of Taz Marzak's bid for power were holed up along the southern coast, hemmed in by Theodosis' holdings. Chauncy smiled as he felt the whispers of his plains fighters tightening their grip on the castles of the Shire halflings. The orcs had quelled all elfish resistance within Alfheim, and his first wizards' tower had been built in Glantri. The Darokin clerics continued to feed him information via their True Seeing spells, storing away power for the coming Earthquakes.

And then this morning, the cries for truce! Both Taz and Theo had sent small ransoms of gold; small, but gold nevertheless. He knew neither of them would break their word, and Chauncy needed time to secure the lands he'd taken from the warrior. A truce, then. A truce whilst he conquered the northern territories and prepared for the future.

At this point the gold was coming in steadily. I built three armories in my Glantri province (you can see it in the previous map; it's the northwestern-most territory, there in the mountains on the western edge of the Khanates) along with a couple of wizard towers, and proceeded to build batches of 180 fighters a turn. This let me move around up there steadily and cheaply (I could've used orcs but they're more expensive).

I did a similar thing in the Khanates, building out to the northern fjord edges.

Unfortunatelly, Taz still had his Lightning Rod. Every 2-3 turns he'd take shots at my wizard tower territory, and my orcs in the south. It'd take out a tower or an armory, wasting money and time, and was pretty irritating. The trouble with magic is that there's no way to know who is ACTUALLY casting it, and almost no way to defend against it (aside from a few high-powered relics).

I'm glad that Glantri was suggested! I'd earlier thought that Animate Dead was a cleric spell; it's actually both a cleric and wizard spell in most editions of D&D, but it's available earlier for clerics than wizards. Once I realised this, I filled out three Glantri territories with two towers each, and proceeded to amass a force of ~10 low-level magic users. I sent them on some basic quests to boost their level a bit and then let 'em sit there and accumulate magic power for Animate Dead and Death spells.

While this was all going on in the back-country, I made sure to garrison all the coastal territories, and anything inland on the south and east that might run into trouble. Sure enough, Taz made a push back; at low levels, the AI isn't particularly good about securing territory, and tends to leave stuff unguarded. Taz managed to take a bunch of stuff from Theo.. but he was too in the hole, production wise, to do anything about it when I sent a mass of elite fighters and undead in from Darokin (the lands surrounding the forests of Alfheim). Shortly thereafter, Taz was finished.

Where in the hells was Theodosius getting his resources?! The man was clearly insane - his spies brought back... troubling reports - and yet there were castles EVERYWHERE. Oh, his island holdings were not strongly guarded, but the coastline was a mess of walls and doors. They seemed to spring up by magic; Chauncy mused over the thousands of troops that had been lost over the last few weeks as he pushed his forces out further and further without bothering to secure proper supply lines. They'd run smack into a castle that simply had not been there the day before. With nowhere to retreat to, they were either hunted down in the wilds or simply deserted.

Ah well. A lesson learned, and there'd be bones aplenty when next he needed troops in those territories. Now it was time for battering rams, and catapults, and magic.

Theo's a fucking ass. I'm not even kidding about the castles. I'd use True Seeing on a turn, send in 400-500 troops, they'd run smack into a castle wall and I'd be unable to retreat. To add insult to injury there were typically only 40-100 elves guarding the territory. Keep in mind that since we're working on a 20:1 scale, that means that in the battle, you see 2-5 elves, versus 20-25 human fighters or orcs. Rage!

So I just started building battering rams. Oh, and I put together a force of fighters, orcs, undead, and a magic user, to be my vanguard.



This is why magic users are ridiculous.

Their "attack" is a 3x3 fireball which destroys.. well.. pretty much anything. Castle walls and siege weapons are nothing. The trouble is that this is oldschool fireball damage; it doesn't care who it hits, everything gets damaged equally. This makes them a poor choice for direct enemy conflict, because your troops are going to get in the way.

This happened!

But it's Chauncy's army, so he didn't worry about it too much in the end.

Having to rely on battering rams really slowed me down. They take 2 turns to build, and for some reason, siege weapons ALWAYS are lost in attrition. I don't know what it is; I suspect it's because the game sees them as regular units, instead of heroes, and since they're always in 1s and 2s, it seems them as "weak" parts of the territory and culls them first. This means you have to continually build new siege weapons as your troops travel, either in their new territory, or have them sent along your line. Slowed things down tremendously.

After Taz' defeat, Theo began to push northward along the east coast. I sent dwarves and fighters to secure the desert, and we skirmished a bit. Meanwhile, I had two forces of ~1000 troops each (one with a magic user hero, one with a couple of elven heroes and battering rams) move along the coast. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in the territory that's on the very southwest coast - a happy little swampmarsh - I could build orcs! That meant orcs and battering rams could be sent to his islands.

That's a nice summary, but understand this took place over 50+ turns. There was a lot of back and forth with Theo. I chased him up into the fjords while the bulk of my forces dealt with his southern holdings, and ran into this.


Wh! 1000 elves? That's almost 34,000 gold right there. I was pulling in about 50k a turn, but I also was controlling half the world; Theo had no way to build that back up quickly. And this is to say nothing of however many elves were lost in attrition, because nothing up there builds elves, it's all fighters and siege weapons.

But.. ah! Theo does not understand the game mechanics.

We do!


The Death bangs his scythe on the shield, and it makes a very satisfying BONG.

Oh, and then there's the screaming.



See, FE works on some kind of percentage deal. If you have no troops in a territory, and only a keep, I can cast Lightning at that territory all day long and there is virtually no chance of anything happening. If he had 40 troops and I cast Death, maybe, maybe 1 would die.

But he had ~1200, so the results were.. more dramatic.

Then Theo got weird.

Over the course of a couple of turns, I polished off his extended northern troops, and took control of the fjords.

Then he sent reinforcements. From everywhere, all at once, but not all together.

For the next 5 turns, EVERY turn, I'd have 3-4 battles in a row. These battles consisted of 60 or so elves throwing themselves against 200 fighters, some undead, and a ballista. I never lost any troops due to how damage is dealt with. The only thing I can figure is that he had single-armory island territories building elf units. Elf troops take 2 turns to build, though, and cost 2000 gold each, and then there's seafaring travel time (2-5 turns). I think after I cast Death he wanted to re-amass an elf force up there, but I took control of those territories before they reached it. He must've spent every last gold piece on this, because afterwards it was just mop-up.

Wave after wave of elf, breaking upon the shores of mighty Chauncy!

I like to think that mad Theodosis had found something up there in the north, buried under the tundra, and it consumed his every waking thought. He put the elves on ships and sent them into the ice; to find it? to guard it? Were they hunting? And Chauncy realised this. And when the bodies were frozen, picked clean by the crows, well.. then he'd channel the arcane magics, and animate their bones, and he would set them to dig in the cold.


12-16-2008, 09:29 PM
And in the end - the long end, as it took quite a bit of time to get troops and siege weapons to all the island castles - we were victorious.


Unfortunately I didn't get a video of the end. The Dungeon Master pops up, delivering a little speech depending on how well you did. You'll have to settle for a static image of his mastery.


And here's Chauncy after his first campaign.


The bit about being untrue? Well, technically I kept more treaties than I broke. Taz and Theo each sent gold and basically begged for 4- and 5-turn peace treaties several times in a row, each. I broke a treaty with Taz early in the game, and one with Theo later, but it was a calculus-of-alignment in the end. Poor Chauncy's reputation as a mad skeleton-king is off to a rocky start.

Ample Vigour
12-17-2008, 01:53 AM
Poor Chauncy's reputation as a mad skeleton-king is off to a rocky start.

I am throwing up the horns this hard to celebrate Chauncy's victory.

12-17-2008, 10:51 AM
That was pretty fun. I'll have to check this game out for myself.