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Old January 30th, 2012, 04:23 AM
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Default CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

This is the start of a new AAR to provide a glimpse into the game and some aspects of it that are new compared to CoE2. However, I do not play one of the new classes, instead we shall explore the game from the point of view of a Necromancer who must discover the new powers he is facing and overcome them.

Here is the beginning and backstory for this AAR, but I will probably only manage one or two posts before I must leave for work and will continue the AAR tomorrow morning. Onward!

****

I am Barras, a Necromancer. Perhaps the last of my kind in Elysium. I shall write this chronicle so that even should the unthinkable happen, I shall not be forgotten.

It is the time of the Interregnum. The Empire has fallen. Battlefields and ruins of the empire litter the lands. Few cities and villages remain. Human lands are in chaos, and bandits roam the countryside. Even worse, great acts of evil have been performed in the capital, which has turned into a stronghold of undead creatures and unspeakable horrors. Only a powerful leader will be able to rebuild the empire.

The fall of the Empire has been a boon to me. When the Empire was at the height of its power, the practicioners of my art were hounded and persecuted by the Imperial priesthood and there were few places indeed in all of Elysium where we could safely hide.

Now, thanks to the feuds and squabbling among the Senators that Bellania incited and her further machinations, the Empire is no more. Little did they know that she serves that upstart god Baal, whose cult only appeared toward the later days of the Empire. It was also genius on her part to entice my former acquaintance Calthus to think he could seize power and become Emperor.

Fools the Senators may have been, but even they would not have countenanced a Demonologist on the throne of the Empire. It is amazing really how far that blundering idiot got, that he wasn’t devoured by the things he called. Or perhaps he learned discipline later, little that it matters. *snicker* Poor Calthus, abandoned by his staunch ally, Bellania, right on the edge of victory. Of course, it was then that he turned to desperate measures and all his bad habits caught up to him. Tried to summon an Arch Devil, but of course he skimped on the offerings, what with the Imperial army bearing down on him and fighting all over the streets of the Capitol.

The former Capitol, I should say, since he failed to control the creature and it destroyed him and then proceeded to slaughter the entire Imperial military and anything else that got in its way. Nobody knows exactly what happened, but the rumors from the vicinity of that place tell that anyone who goes too near disappears and is never heard from again. All I know from what the spirits of the Netherworld tell me is that there were more than demons roaming the streets of the Capitol at the Time of the Fall. Creatures rarely glimpsed, beings made of the stuff of nightmares that devoured and tortured mortal and demon alike. Whether they are gone is unknown, but I would surmise they are not. However, it is at best an academic concern, since I do not intend to find out.

The upheaval since the Fall has left everything unsettled and nobody knows what state the land is in now, other than chaos, of course. It is left for those with the means and the ruthlessness to pick up the pieces and build something new.

I have found an ally in a servant of the Old Powers, a Witch who is as glad as I am to see the Empire gone and who has little love for Bellania. We have pooled our efforts and shall seek to claim a position of power from where it will be impossible to dislodge us. She seeks to return Elysium to where it was before the coming of man. I seek immortality. Once I have achieved that, our goals are not incompatible at all.

I know that Bellania did not survive the unexpected results her machinations brought about, but her cultists have found a new leader named Hephzibah and allied with other newcomers, the barbaric, backward people of a Priest King from somewhere called Mictlan whose names are quite unpronounceable. These savages worship something called the God of the Four Faces, with human sacrifices, I hear. How predictable. I have no use for gods of any sort, so it is imperative to stamp these cults out.

Other spies have managed to find out some preliminary information on the other factions powerful enough to be contenders for the rule of Elysium. There is another Old Power at play, a member of the tree worshiping Druidic Order, who has allied himself with the Moutain Folk. It may sound like a strange alliance at first, but the Druid is only interested in seeing wilderness reclaim the cultivated lands and the dwarves want nothing more than to be left alone under their mountains to mine what they discover underground.

The third enemy alliance is one of chaos and destruction. A barbarian horde has gathered and it has allied itself with a strange breed of goblin-like creatures that has emerged from a mountain citadel somewhere in the land. These beings have not been seen before and it is speculated that they have come to Elysium from some strange hitherto unknown netherworld, not to be confused with the Realm of the Dead. They are far better organized than goblins and have spread like a plague, but fortunately each band seems to be on its own. These things call themselves the Bakemono and it is known now that when they are led by a shaman or witch doctor, they practice human sacrifices to call more powerful allied beings, like unto demons but different. Rumor says that a powerful Bakemono Sorcerer has emerged and unified the heartlands of the Bakemono to his banner.

I do not like so many unknowns. The Druid and the Dwarves are predictable and the barbarians may call spirits of their ancestors if they find shamans powerful enough. Everything else is a question mark. Baal cultists seem to have an affinity for spiders, but aside from that, there is no telling what my ally and I will face. I suspect that her swamp monsters and Androphags are going to have their work cut out for them. I myself must gather enough Hands of Glory to summon something more than weakling longdead and soulless...
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Old January 30th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

So, during game setup, which you could already see here, I chose an Enormous map (72x50 squares), Interregnum society and allied play. I did NOT include Common Cause or Clustered Start, since the story here requires that each player survive on his own even if they work toward (at least somewhat) common goals.

I set all AI at Knight level (4/10) to provide some challenge and to increase their chances of surviving the early game.



So these are the classes and teams.


Next, we shall take a look at the Player Overview screen provided by F2 once game has started:



This lists the player names and controller (human or AI), but nothing else so as to not give away too much. Of course, in this instance we know what classes each of them are, but in a random game, we would not. The names can give some clues, though.

*****

Greetings! I am Barras, a Necromancer lately of some renown.




It is time to begin my bid for immortality. I had managed to squirrel away enough gold and other resources to hire a workers to construct a citadel when the time is ripe. Built out of black granite, it offers a commanding view over the countryside.

(The Dark Citadel has the Vision attribute, which allows the player to see 2 squares in all directions instead of the standard 1 square, but only if there are troops in the square.)



Directly to the west there is a farm that has been taken over by a rabble of bandits and poachers and a little to the north is a village guarded by more substantial troops.

The village must be my first priority, because in settlements of that size there are always enough altercations and mayhem going on that one can reliably expect at least one person to be hanged for murder each month. And the left hands of hanged murders can be turned into Hands of Glory, which is precisely what I need for my rituals.

To the southeast there is a gallows, which serves as the common execution site for miles around and provides me with more hands of glory. Of course, since the place is under my control, any rabble that strays into my territory without invitation is liable to be hanged for murder. They are ALL guilty of it anyway, or would be, sooner or later, so this makes things expedient. And if a person has been hung for murder, their hands can be used since the requirements of the netherworld spirits are fulfilled.

Now, I should start making plans for conquering the village, but several problems present themselves (as if I didn't have enough already!):

- The bandit and slinger at the farm are certainly not going to stay there. They are liable to wander, so they must be eliminated at once. Otherwise I might find uninvited guests at my citadel, which would be intolerable. Equally intolerable would be if they went and vandalized my gallows.

- The lookout at the top of the citadel reported that to the south there is a sounder of Great Boars and that a bear has been spotted in the forest. They pose a hazard and should be eliminated, but all of them are powerful beasts and can easily maim many of my men. So I must let them be. For now.

I think I shall send my apprentice to the Gallows to reanimate what longdead and soulless he can coax out of the boot hill next to it, though that is likely to exhaust the dead. And it's slim pickings anyway, not like a proper graveyard or battlefield.

Oh, and here is my apprentice, Arnulf:



He is rather a weakling and knows little, but he can summon a longdead in battle and scare away the more easily frightened creatures. As long as he has some troops to prevent enemies from getting into close contact with him, he should do adequately.


Now Arnulf has reached the Gallows and is preparing to reanimate the dead. He can feel the presence of the dead, which means there are about a dozen to twenty dead here. Hopefully he manages to reanimate the lot, since I cannot spare him any human troops.



Fortunately, he seems to have gotten the hang of it:



Six longdead and five soulless should be enough to let him keep the situation at home under control while I shall go and inform the villagers who their master is. Arnulf can deal with the bandit and his stone-slinging coward of a companion next month, though he must do it without the soulless. Those are needed to guard the gallows. Hopefully the bear goes elsewhere in search of food. The poor thing might get food poisoning from eating rotten meat if it tries to snack on the soulless.

Now, in order to attack a village guarded by six spearmen, I would ordinarily need more troops than just ten spearmen of my own and three crossbowmen. Fortunately magic will tip the odds in my favor. As you can see earlier, I have memorized Summon Longdead, Banefire and Dark Power.

I did not memorize Decay, because it kills over time and is best used in long battles with much more participants. Summoning longdead is always good, because if the enemy uses its efforts on summoned things, my own troops will be spared. However, that is the weakest of my spells.

This is what Banefire does:



The star icon indicates that Banefire does magical damage. It is almost guaranteed to kill any spearman it hits. Their shields are no protection either and if they should survive, they are likely to rot to death in the space of minutes. Dark Power is similar, but does not cause decay. It hits three random targets and drains their life force, bestowing it on me to heal damage or augment my health beyond what I could normally experience.

Now, it is time for my first conquest.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

Aaaaand

*fanfare*

Next update breaks savegames, so this AAR is going to have to be rebooted rather soon. I'll keep the same premise to preserve the writing, but the rest of it will change to reflect the new circumstances when the time comes.

In any case, Barras conquered the village with the loss of just one spearman and you can see the banefire spell in action here:

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Old January 30th, 2012, 09:22 AM

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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

Great work.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

Thanks for the AAR.

I like the fact that the combat report the shield use, it helps seeing how effective they are (or not). In dom3, I know that theyr are very useful, especially against ranged attacks, but sometimes it's good to just see the numbers.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:20 AM

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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

Great AAR, so far. The necromancer is probably the first character I'll try out, when the game is released, so I'm extra interested in this AAR.

I have to say, though, that I'm quite disappointed by the missing descriptions. From looking a the banefire picture, it seems very informative, but lacks flavour and theme. I need those things! Hopefully, they'll make it into the game, at a later date.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

The CID (Combat Information Display) shows who hits who and how much damage they do and also some other things. It will indicate when special abilities like Ethereal or Awe negate an attack (prevent it from hitting).

While we're discussing shields, there are two varieties: Shield and Large Shield. Both reduce damage by 4 and they have 20% and 30% chance respectively to do so unless an attack is armor negating or shield negating.

Since version 2.94 came out today, I will reboot this AAR tomorrow morning. This evening if you guys get lucky, but don't count on it. Only one name needs to be changed in the OP and the second post can stay there, since all of the stuff in it is useful info and I'll just work it into the rebooted AAR, won't be a problem.

NOTE: All of the screenshots are resized or otherwise doctored to reduce image size and dimensions. For example, the CID is located at the lower left corner of the screen in battle, not below the army, and the summoning of longdead and soulless has been clipped from the battlefield and pasted inside the CID. The main screen also shows just one structure popup at a time at the place where the farm info is.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

It doesn't look like the necromancers in your report have a sanity value. Does it only appear when they start to lose it, or did they make reanimation free? If there is no more insanity, what are the differences between becoming a vampire or a lich?
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Old January 30th, 2012, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

The apprentice screenshot was taken before reanimation. Each reanimation hits you with 6 points of insanity. Icon for it is the same as in Dom3.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: CoE3 AAR: A Chronicle of the Interregnum

What are the effects of insanity ? % chance of random action like in dom 3 ? If so how does it handle stacks with several commanders ?
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