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  #1  
Old June 12th, 2007, 02:35 PM

Lazy_Perfectionist Lazy_Perfectionist is offline
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Default Guide to MA Agartha (In prog) - Pretenders

I'll be blatantly stealing the format used by RamsHead- though I'm unfortunately unable to steal his talent.

Table of Contents
0.0 Retractions and Revisions
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Troops of the Golem Cult
2.1 Overview
2.2 Units
2.3 Military Commanders
2.4 Mage-Priests
2.5 Military Review

3.1 National Summons & the Golem Cult

0.0 Retractions & Revisions
Jun.14.2007 Dwarven Hammer does not boost paths for purposes of forging. Passages removed.
Jun.14.2007 Paragraph added on Oracles and Preaching
Jun.14.2007 Various formating.
Jun.14.2007 Added hard details on old age in MagePriest section.

A Guide to MA Agartha, Golem Cult

1.0 Introduction
Agartha is a nation of cave dwellers, a declining civilization. Think Avernum, Ultima Underworld, Arx Fatalis. Agartha is a rather straightforward and simple to use race, without the complexities of many other factions. However, despite this simplicity, they can be challenging to use effectively. With a starting income of 5 earth gems, but few summons until enchantment 3- and some research issues due to old age, they often start equipping commanders (thugs) immediately. All your units have some darkvision, and you have access to amphibious troops.

2.0 Troops of the Golem Cult

2.1 Overview
Quote:

While national troops by and large become obsolete by the late game, having a solid understanding of a nation’s forces is necessary for a strong early game. A powerful early game position will often translate into a powerful late game position.

He said it so well, I had to quote him. Its even more true with Agartha, Golem Cult.

The strength of the Golem Cult lies in its national summons and mages. None of your mundane troops are outstanding.. Unfortunately, you need 200 research points (standard) before you access your first national summon. If you recruited only golem crafters, you would be pushing up against the end of your first year before they were available. Earth Drakes are available earlier, but they have even worse odds at landing a blow than your Ancient Ones.

On top of that, you have little chaff, no archers, and fairly high resource costs. You need to use your available troops well, or your expansion will be stopped dead.

Your options are rather limited, and unexceptional, but qutie solid. Your gold costs aren't that high (thanks to low skill), but your resource costs are very high. At least you're thoroughly equipped. No naked warriors or helmless headwounds here. And just about everybody has a shield.

Your human infantry are pretty much the definition of average. Attack, defense, morale- everything about them is standard. No advantage to be gained by these troops, but no glaring vulnerabilities, either.

All that said, they are pretty durable for their weight class. They don't scale up well, but throw them into the proper situation and they'll do quite well.

Your human troops all have 50% darkvision, shields with good parry values (most basic missile fire isn't a concern, tends to boost protection further), and short swords (you're vulnerable to repels, but with a def of 13/14 its not a concern with most independents).

Your non-human troops are less skilled than the humans, but they have a little more strength and magic resistance, a lot more hitpoints, and less encumbrance than many medium infantry. On top of that, they have 100% dark vision, are amphibious, have a siege bonus, and did I forget to mention they don't need to eat? And, they don't wield short swords, thank god (You're welcome). Unfortunately, they are coldblooded, and have trouble hitting a barn, use rather pathetic shields, and their large size makes them excellent targets for arrows/outnumbering.
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  #2  
Old June 12th, 2007, 03:44 PM

Shovah32 Shovah32 is offline
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Default Re: Guide to MA Agartha (In progress)

Good so far, i can judge it more when you add the missing sections.

ps: nice pintsize avatar
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  #3  
Old June 12th, 2007, 10:39 PM

Lazy_Perfectionist Lazy_Perfectionist is offline
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Default Guide to MA Agartha (National Troops)

Oh, Shovah, excellent taste. I'm a big fan of Hannelore. Think Pintsize needs animated laser eyes? I can do that, though in general I'm limited by a small canvas.

2.2 National Units

Note on Light, normal, and Heavy Infantry
They are all equipped with a short sword. I've mentioned the repel, above, but also worth noting is that the weapon damage is 5. Plus strength, thats a base of 15 + DRN for the damage roll. Given that most heavy infantry has 15 prot or above, your units are somewhat impotent against heavy armor. On the other hand, your mages can resolve that problem very simply, with that +4 strength spell.

Light Infantry (10,10)
Entirely unexceptional, it will be the foundation of your expansion forces. Unlike most light infantry, they don't come with javelins. If you're facing high prot troops, leave them behind. They aren't cheap enough to be chaff. Due to a a parry value of 4, they only a 18% chance of being hit by arrows at the start of a battle. Not bad. It also helps absorb some blows as shield hits.

Throw them up against heavy infantry and cavalary, and you'll hurt bad. But if you bring them up against militia, light infantry, and archers, they can usually fight their fair share with low casualties. The key thing is to keep them in their weight class. Whenever you don't, it'll turn into a bloody slaughter.

Infantry (10,22)

The immediate differences between these and the light infantry are obvious. However, the real thing you're paying for takes a little investigating to discover. The key component here is the Kite Shield. This is one of, if not the best, basic shields available, with a parry value of six. This helps in melee, sure, but before fatigue kicks in, these guys have only a 6% chance of being hit by missiles. That isn't counting all the other factors such as deviation. You may not have archers, but you have a unit that takes only a third the missile hits that most nations do.

So, now you know what you're buying, what will you use these for? Early on, they'll be the core of your expansion force. My first team involves one Captain, 10 Infantry in the center, and a squad of 10 light infantry to each side, slightly behind. Since they don't do any more damage, they function to blunt the enemies fury, and hold the center while your more vulnerable, but plentiful light infantry attacks the flank. They let you take some meaner independents, but no giants or elephants yet. However, their great defense effectively boost their morale, too. Low morale independents might break before you take a single morale roll. It doesn't happen that often, but is rather nice when thirty units takes out 45 without any casualties.

Unlike light infantry, regular infantry can fight against heavy infantry. They will likely come out the worst for wear, but it isn't the suicide it is for LI. You've got a variety of spells that can help tilt a battle in your favor, even with a measly Earth Reader and Alt2.

Heavy Infantry (10,27)

These are an excellent choice for close combat between most human armies.

The difference between I and HI is much less significant than between LI and I. Still, without a productivity bonus, you won't be fielding many of these until later on. With, you may consider using these instead of your regular infantry in the core of your force. Heavy Infantry aren't that much better than medium, but than they don't cost much more, either. They don't gain any additional damage, lose a little speed, are a little easier to hit and tire a little earlier. What they do gain is 3 protection.

They are an excellent choice for close combat... but with only ten hitpoints, do not bring them to bear against strong units like giants. Light and regular are better choices. But against your typical size two humanoids and skelly spam, they have a lot more staying power.

Keep in mind, though, that these units don't have a lot of punch. Don't expect them to kill other high protection troops without a little assistance. They're your best bodyguards. If you can, you should put five on every Golem Crafter who is also leading various golems/statues.

And last, they still only have 10 attack and a short sword. Keep that in mind when you're facing very nimble forces.

Notes on your underground albino giants-
Since they don't need to eat, they aren't a bad choice for defending fortresses. Though that is a bit of a waste. They can do a number while sieging fortresses. And, of course, they go underwater without any penalties. They also have rather puny shields, which combined with their large sizes makes them rather vulnerable targets.

Pale One Soldiers (10,20)

Size three. Size three. Size three. Big disadvantage. As atul said, "it means they get only 2 attacks against a block full of human-sized opponents who attack thrice. With their poor att and def, I think that equals a world of hurt. "

Despite their large size, they only carry a buckler with a parry of two. Instead of 18% or 6%, they'll be hit 46% of the time. On top of all that, they have trouble hitting the broadside of a wounded barn.

Only build these when you have a reason to.
1). Going underwater
2). Siege- one of these guys is equal to three infantry. 20 gold, 20 resource versus 30 gold, 30 resources (LI). And without eating, you aren't worrying about your supply lines. If you spend the same amount in LI and POS, you get 50% more reduction strength with POS. With medium and heavy infantry, it starts to look even better. Bring forty or eighty of these when taking down the weaker forts and you'll have it down before reinforcements can come.
3). Darkness. It doesn't come around that often, without planning, but it reverses the equation. Arrows aren't a worry any more, and your defense and attack is much more attractive. It can win you battles. Beware other races with darkvision or bunches of undead and death magic.

Ancient Ones (40,19)

EDIT: I forgot to mention a strategic move of 2. Important.

Now we're getting expensive. But we're also getting sacred, with all its blesses. While these benefit greatly from a variety of blesses, they are too rare to build a bless strat around. And they aren't THAT great, either. Don't go out of your way to get a good bless for them, but with all of your mages being priests, take advantage of it when you have it.

Let's take sieging first. One guy has 18 strength. That's 3 siege damage done before you take into account siege bonus (5). Just five of these does 40 points of fortification damage. Five of these? 200 Gold. 40 light infantry? 400 gold. If you've been buying five a turn for eight turns, you can bring 40 to a siege. Bit of an investment? Yes. Scarce? Yes. But 320 points of reduction strength are hard to argue with.

Second, they're size four. That makes them more vulnerable again to massed attacks and archery, but it also protects against size four tramplers. Which are unfortunately very rare in the middle age, excepting Arcosephale, Pangaea, R'lyeh, Vanheim, and elemental summons. On the plus side, with forty hitpoints, they have can survive a trample and have a chance of hitting and panicking an elephant. Though it'll hurt like a *bleep*. That said, don't use these as elephant counters unless you're REALLY desperate.

Third, if you can actually get them in enough numbers, they can ravage water independents.

Fourth, arrows hurt. Bad. If you have to bring them to an arrow heavy environment, put them behind some infantry, please. Certainly, they won't be able to attack from there, but they are hard to replace.

Fifth, don't get high dominion to recruit more of these. Being capital only, even with 10 holy resources, you're not likely to able to recruit more than 5 due to the high resource cost.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 04:27 AM

Shovah32 Shovah32 is offline
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Default Re: Guide to MA Agartha (In progress)

Nice, i think you covered MA Agarthas useless troops pretty well . Now im just waiting for the magic summary(which may be the hardest to do).

OCD FTW!
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  #5  
Old June 13th, 2007, 02:19 PM

Lazy_Perfectionist Lazy_Perfectionist is offline
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Default Guide to MA Agartha (Military Commanders)

Shovah32, would you be interested in QC avatar?
Magic summary may be hard- but I'll mainly be pointing out spells to note, and leaving most of the choices to others. I will be trying to analyze some, though.
National summons are already written about, and the artifacts, those are the fun part, especially the ones that may need a little Pretender juju, but are oh so worth it.

2.3 Military Commanders

All but one of your military (no magic) commanders can be built outside of your capital. They also have a strategic move of two, faster than most of your troops, and certainly faster than your mages. They can also be decked out rather easily and early, thanks to earth gem income, but the value of such a move is debatable.

Format is name, gold, resources, leadership

Scout (20,3,0)
Its a scout. Yay! Good to have, but boring.

Cave Captain (30,22,80)
Basic equipment equal to an infantry, this guy isn't vulnerable to arrows. You'll use him primarily to lead light infantry brigades. He's also an excellent choice for a research nation because at 80 leadership, you can take him further before needing to hire another military leader.

Pale One Captain (30,20,40)
Inferior to your Cave Captain (at least without equipment), you'll only recruit one to lead your Pale One Soldiers in an amphibious assault or if you expect to see darkness conditions. He's fast enough to lead your Ancient Ones, but too vulnerable. On the plus side, he's fast enough to lead sea/amphibious independent recruits who are faster than your Pale Ones. You can easily kit him out with a black steel tower shield and eliminate his number one vulnerability. Other than that, he's not worth kitting when Ancient Lords are around.

Ancient Lord (90,21,80)

A sacred giant, basically. Capital only. Have to keep in mind the cold vulnerability, but compares favorably to a Jotun Jarl. The stats aren't all around better, but considering the fact that you have enough gem income to forge him an item every turn from middle spring onward, he's a force to be reckoned with. There are some glaring weaknesses with this guy, notably cold-blooded, and no shield, but these can be reckoned with.

If you recruit one early, aiming for death match championship, your basic starter kit will be either
[Stinger, Black Steel Tower Shield, Black Steel Plate]
or, you'll disregard arrows entirely and go with a prot build of [Two-Handed Sword of Sharpness, Black Steel Full Plate, Black Steel Helmet.] Later on, as he gains experience and you get a more diverse gem income, all sorts of nifty options open up.

You want these guys out fighting, though they're not great at handling crowds. Every att, def bonus these guys get is crucial. If you get one with heroic ability attack bonus (I've seen +5 in year three), treasure him and get him, in order of construction level, a 2h Sword of Sharpness (AP), Hammer of the Mountains (-2 attack, 25 damage), Midget Masher (2 at, 13 damage, double versus smaller), or Gate Cleaver for obscene damage rolls. We're talking damage rolls of 40 and above once we break out of trinkets. DRN+17+9 armor piercing, DRN 17+25, (DRN 17+13) x2, DRN 17+29 Armor negating.

And that's only the tip of the stalagmite. Have fun.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 09:00 PM

Lazy_Perfectionist Lazy_Perfectionist is offline
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Default Guide to MA Agartha (Mage Priests)

2.3 Mage Priests

Your mages, and your golems, are the strength of your nation. Almost every turn you'll be recruiting one.

It's also worth noting that every mage requires a lab and temple to recruit. Add on the cost of a fort, and this gets pricy. If you're focusing on research and have taken strong magic scales, keep an eye out for rare magical indie commanders that require only a lab. If you happen to find a library, even better.

All your mages are sacred, and priests, and the better are suffering old age. And since they're sacred, they're fairly cost efficient, too. And not a single one has precision over 8, though darkvision is a constant.

When you expect the undead, they aren't much of a threat, or at least the lowly hordes (skelly spam), since everyone can cast Banishment. Unfortunately, quite a few undead are stealthy, and won't bother to announce their presence. But you're still better off than most.

All the human mages have one considerable flaw. Ten hitpoints. Even with stoneskin cast, lucky missile fire can pop them like a balloon. Arrow catching infantry are a must, cafeful placement too. For a large crucial battle involving lots of missile fire (crossbows?), it may be worth the encumbrance penalty to equip them with any spare Black Steel Shields for a turn or two. Then move the equipment back to those who can use it better. It depends on your opponents, your luck, and your formation skills. I've won plenty of battles w/o mages w/shields. But I've gone through a few where my two mages die in one hit, after stoneskin.

Leadership scores are (L mundane - undead - magical)
Age is in format recruit age, old age.

Attendant of the Oracle (50,1) (L 10-0-0) H
Age: 33 out of 50
When you read the description of these guys, they come off as bootlickers, attending to every need of the Ancients, even going as far to wipe their asses for them. So, in the rare cases I do recruit these guys, that's what for. Leading 10 Ancient Ones into battle with a bless. But they're in no way superior to your standard independent priest, or your Earth Reader. The only real reason to recruit these is if your lab burns down.

Earth Reader (90,1) (L 40-0-5) EH
Age: 33 out of 50
It's not your best mage, by a longshot. But it is one you know won't die of natural causes. It also has an unusually high leadership. It makes a good, though fragile leader for your slow Infantry and Heavy Infantry. And it can lead a few golems. Given it can lead only five, I'd skip giving them Attentive Statues.

While one earth seems boring, these can kick up the power scales quite quickly. One earth gem allows them to cast Earth Power, turn into E2 mages. They can spend some more gems to cast E3. Earth Boots are too expensive to equip on every one, but given a lab, you can move them around to where they're needed and enable your ERs to cast all the way up to E4.

You'll recruit these when you're saving money. If you're pinching pennies for another fortress, or have several up already, you'll hire these. If your capital is surrounded by tough independents, with few spare resources, you'll hire these and spend the change on mercenaries. If, for some crazy reason, you're under a heavy death dominion (yours or the enemies'), you'll recruit these because they won't die in the winter.

Golem Crafter (200,2) (L 40-0-15) FWEEH
Age: 52 out of 48
This guy starts old. Give him a few death scales and he'll die young. Give a few growth, and who knows how long he'll last. At 0 growth-death, you usually can get your money's worth. If your expansion is growing well, your national troops are sufficent, and your budget is okay, you'll be recruiting one of these nearly every turn.

They can cast Rust Mist (WEE) and Magma Bolts (FE) without any assistance. They'll be doing that quite often. They'll be forging more than a few useful artifacts. They'll be summoning most of your golems. And leading them, too. They'll be doing most of your research. With some gem assist, they can boost into hire paths of fire and water magic (underwater only) during combat. And you'll probably be sending quite a few of them around searching sites for fire and water, unfortunately.

Oracle of the Ancients (400, 1) (L 80-30-15) DEEEHHH? Random 10% pick in water, earth, fire, or death
Age: 440 out of 400. But maximum lifespan is better, also.

Sacred. Capital only. Meaty (38 HP). Amphibious. Slow (map move 1). Level 3 priest.

At 400 gold, and no extra research, you'll buy only the ones you need. You'll use them to scry for death sites (until you find the right independent), summon and lead your undead nationals, forge dwarven hammers, and summon your best national golems. And Blighting your opponent's provinces for a mere 5 earth gems as early as Alteration four. You'll also bring them along with your armies to preach.

Did I just say you'd have a 400 gold unit preach? Yes. Once you have your national golems up and about, this is perhaps the most important thing they can do, even with a strong pretender dominion. Your level one priest can only raise dominion to 2, 4 if you have a temple there. An Oracle of the Ancients can raise dominion as high as six, eight if there's a temple, and ten if there's a temple and he's a prophet. The base chance of success for a priest is 30%, for an Oracle 90%. Add in a temple and that goes to 120%. These guys make it much easier to take AND HOLD hostile territory, since every point of dominion gives your golems +10% hitpoints.

Their random pick is too rare, but when it kicks in, it usually offers some nice benefits. Don't underestimate this. Since you can't depend upon it, I'll only offer a couple examples. Earth and Earth Boots opens up three global earth spells. Death allows you to Summon Spectre (Spectral Mage) and Mound Fiend, via a Skull Staff.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:46 PM

Lazy_Perfectionist Lazy_Perfectionist is offline
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Default Re: Guide to MA Agartha (Question)

Oh... I've been reading the LA Ermor guide and I've been wondering about the length of my guide. I've already cut out some stuff from my draft. If you think the stuff I've posted so far needs less information, Private Message me and point out an example. If its too long I'll carve it to the bone. It's been a long day, so it might just seem too long to me. I won't worry about for tonight, though, I've got a MP game to start.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:12 AM

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Default Re: Guide to MA Agartha (Question)

I don't think the Dwarven Hammer works like you think it does. It doesn't give you access to any items you couldn't forge otherwise. It just makes them cheaper.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:41 AM

mivayan mivayan is offline
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Default Re: Guide to MA Agartha (Question)

Quote:
llamabeast said:
I don't think the Dwarven Hammer works like you think it does. It doesn't give you access to any items you couldn't forge otherwise. It just makes them cheaper.
Right - only the forge of the ancients spell does that.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:56 AM

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Default Re: Guide to MA Agartha (Question)

I actually love the length and depth of this article. It gives us other newbies a look at things to consider which is important for us to understand the nuts and bolts of creating a strategy.
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