This is a continuation of a recent, epic game of Solium Infernum played with a few of the RPS writers and miscillaneous other chaps. You can get the RPS coverage here, and one of the other guy’s views here. My first part is here.
This is how things stand. I’m in the middle, except I’m not, because Solium Infernum’s map wraps itself around, which is why you can see Scrofula on both sides. Kudos to Kieron for putting this together.
That presumptuous bastard! Ada Lovelace, aka Kieron Gillen, has made a demand of me completely out of the blue! Can’t he see I’m trying to set up a contest of champions here? I’ve got Gates of Hell to thieve and conquer, and he’s trying to browbeat me into submission, or just nab a few tribute cards. Well, frankly, he can naff off. We share a border, but he’s not got any sort of military might, and at the very least if he claims his own contest of champions then I’ll be able to dominate him with my toad man. On top of that he just missed a chance to use whatever Praetor he might have had against Speedo Demon, and so at the most it’s a land war he wants. And a land war he can’t win, because my boys are back from the crusade, with a set of shiny badges that make them that much tougher. So yeah, fuck off Kieron.
This is the turn I get Scrofula’s reply to my insult back, and as expected he’s claimed a contest of champions, because he wants to milk those Gates for a little more prestige. Playing right into my hand, you might say, and that’s exactly how I want it to work. Man, I’m really getting the hang of this thinking-one-step-ahead thing. Not usually my forte, but really, you have to think on your feet in this sort of situation. Except Solium Infernum really isn’t at all representative of an RTS game. I mean, despite the fact it’s turn based, the fact it’s tied up wonderfully in the rules and bureaucracy of it all means that it’s about as far from the build-a-base-then-an-army-then-conquer formula that’s dominated the genre for as long as I’ve been alive as it could be. So I guess now that it’s actually engaging me a little, I’m enjoying it enough to actually get to grips with how it works.
Also, I’ve got this event card. It means that everyone above Baron (not me) gets one less tribute card to pick from, and everyone below (only me) gets one extra. After the recent Hellmouth closing epidemic, this is a real bastard event to play, because everyone is going to be farming tribute like crazy. So, like a real bastard, I’m going to play it. Because I like extra tribute, and I like everyone not having extra tribute.
Scrofula is taking his sweet time picking a Champion for the fight, and so Orias is just waiting in the Colosseum wings cracking his knuckles and eating fist sized flies with his huge elastic tongue. At least that’s how I like to imagine him. Really he’s probably sitting in a bath of swamp water farting and wafting his hand lackadaisically. Whatever gets him ready, I sez. Because, like I said in the last piece, if I lose this fight I’m gone, out of the running.
Lesser Entitlement is played, and while I can’t hear them, I get to imagine the sweet curses aimlessly floating down into the depths, knowing that they’re indirectly aimed at me. Except, what’s this? Oh bollocks, turns out Marquis is better than Baron after all, and I’m getting one less tribute card too. While this isn’t a disaster, as I’ve got a perk that gives me an extra tribute card, it is a little frustrating. Oh well, at least everyone else is suffering too. That’s what’s important. Can’t think just of myself.
Kieron’s chickened out, as I thought, and it’s just feeding my ego. I’ve got land power and Praetor power, and this is all that matters, right? Well, not exactly, because there’s a bunch of rituals that can be cast that could nullify both of those things, and so really, I should be levelling up my wickedness. So I do, given that I’ve still got an abhorrently large amount of tribute.
This is it, the big one. Next turn I get to find out whether Orias is the lean, mean, overweight, wart-ridden, slimey killing machine I always knew he could be. Or he’s just going to be roadkill under the heel of whoever Scrofula is going to send against him. Either way, this is a pivotal moment for my game. The mechanics of champion fights are drastically different from that of legions, where it’s purely a top trumps-like situation where the person with the highest stats/hp wins the fight. With champions it’s more like the most complex game of rock, paper, scissors you could think of, where you’ve got four possible attacks (depending on where your skills lie), and six slots to fill with orders. So you do a melee attack in the first slot, but then you don’t know if they put a block there, so maybe you should go melee attack second, but then if they think the same thing, then you need to block.. and so on and so forth. Throw into that mix the possibility of learning special moves and Praetor fights can keep you up at night.
So yeah, do me proud you great big ugly wondertoad.
Oh boy. I like to think that Orias was just playing with him, that he let him do so much damage because he knew he’d win out in the end, but man, that was close. Scrofula’s champion was Zuul, a crazy woman with mediocre stats, but I really played the game wrong, not that it was particularly my fault. Things just seemed geared against my champion, to the extent where he was down to one health before the start of the second round. That he managed to pull it out of whatever orifice huge toadmen have is a miracle, really. But what matters is that Scrofula’s biggest Praetor is just so much toad chow, and now I can really start playing with him. He can’t make demands of me because he can’t attack me with a Praetor or a legion; I beat him on both. I’m now in the situation I wanted to be in, and it’s such a relief.
I can make a demand of him next turn, and if he’s crazy, or stupid, or just tired of me throwing insults and demands, he’ll refuse and I’ll beat him up some more. I’ve got him on the back foot, and that’s just great; I often feel like Solium Infernum is a game that’s all about wearing down your opponents, rather than actually outwitting them; tire them out enough and they’ll slip up. It’s just making sure that you’ve got the resources and stamina to see it through.
Man Quinns is slimy. I mean, I appreciate the compliment, but when you recieve a message that says:
‘Thought some congratulations might be in order for showing Scrofula’s champion the way to the abyss. You’re certainly giving him something to think about other than me. If you ever need a favour, please don’t hesitate to ask.’
It’s hardly going to look like you’re not working some angle. Maybe he’s just terrified of my champion, and my land armies, and so he doesn’t want me to start seeing him as a target. I’m not sure that’s the case, because his main legion is pretty damned beefy, and could easily decimate my main unit if they ever got into a fight. Maybe Orias really is that scary. God I hope so. All I need to focus on right now is finishing off Scrofula; he’s sitting on some pretty nice Places of Power, and with them I can really start to mobilise on the rest of those crafty archfiends. I mean, if they don’t notice I’m picking them off one by one and decide to take me out as a result. Hmm… might need to rethink this plan.
There’s nothing quite like salt to make a wound sting that much more. It’s time to get arrogant, and vindictive, and all those things that makes an archfiend grow up to be big and strong and make his daddy and mummy demon’s so proud. So instead of using Scrofula’s refusal of my demands to take his places of power from him, I think I’m going to send Orias in for another round. With his strongest Praetor out of the way, whatever he’s got left should be a cakewalk. Added to that, Orias gets even meatier after another victory, and I get some precious prestige points that’ll make attacking him all the easier. So yeah, that’s the plan.
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK! I’m not sure I could’ve planned for this, but FUCK! You remember that event Quinns played early on that made his main legion almost unstoppable? Well it turns out there’s an equivalent, for fucking Praetors. And Scrofula had it. And Scrofula played it. And now Scrofula has a guy with the Infernal Order of the Crimson Skull, which means that at the very least he can go toe to toe with Orias. And after last contest’s close call, I can’t risk that. I’m back to fucking square one.
Except I’ve been engaging in negotiations. Me and Quinns are trading resources, so I can hopefully use him a little. Except I’ve got a better offer. Zah’lak has recently grown in his decietful powers, enough to steal an enemy praetor right from under the archfiend’s nose. And Scrofula has stupidly attached his recently promoted Praetor to a unit. I think I could just about pull this off.. if I coordinate it completely perfectly. Man I hope Zah’lak likes the idea of a beefy praetor…