Saturday, June 18, 2011

For King And Country

Finally, we arrive at the final last scenario of the Song For The Father campaign. The necromancers have revealed that King Gryphonheart was poisoned by Lord Haart, one of his trusted knights. Queen Catherine requests that Lord Haart be kept alive so that he can face justice.

You might be wondering who Lord Haart is, considered there was no mention of him thus far in the Restoration of Erathia storyline. Lord Haart was one of Lord Ironfist's knights in the original Heroes of Might and Magic game. He made a short cameo in the sequel assisting Roland Ironfist in the good campaign. His betrayal comes out of left field. However, it does set up a lot of the later plot threads in the expansion.

Well, here's Catherine. The final scenario gives me the opportunity to control the queen directly. Unfortunately, her presence is more of a liability than a benefit. Compared to the rest of my heroes, Catherine is supremely underpowered. Also, if she loses any battle, the game instantly ends.

Throughout the scenario, I put her to sleep in the lower-left corner of the map near the starting castle.

Here's Lord Haart, the traitor. Interestingly enough, his bio mentions dubious ties with the necromancers. Like Catherine, Lord Haart is a major liability. Due to Catherine's thirst for justice, we have to keep Lord Haart alive. This means putting him far away from enemies.

Thankfully, the map contains a few sanctuaries near the necromancer garrisons. As long as a hero is resting in a sanctuary, he or she cannot be attacked. It's one way to guarantee that enemy heroes won't sneak into your territory and kill the underpowered VIPs.

The design of the map greatly favors your heroes. For starters, you have three almost-fully-built castles compared to the necromancers' two necropoleis. Secondly, the necromancer territory is filled with cursed ground, giving you the ability to win battles using might over magic. Necropolis troops are naturally weak, requiring a lot of tricky spellcasting to survive. Since the enemy won't be able to cast spells, you can smash them with tough units like cavaliers and paladins.

The necromancers' territory is divided into two halves. The western half contains creature dwellings and not much else. For some reason, the enemy heroes liked to hang around this area. The eastern half contains the two necropoleis that must be captured.

Thanks to the previous scenario, my heroes started with dimension door and town portal spells. This allowed me to very quickly explore the map and ferry units to a few key heroes. Mephala led the bulk of my rampart units. Tyris led my tower units. Good ol' reliable Christian led my castle units.

The abundance of cursed ground made it difficult to utilize these spells from within the necromancers' territory. However, they allowed me to very quickly surprise the enemy and capture their towns before they could be properly fortified.

My first order of business was to capture Stonecastle. It was barely defended.

As I explored the necromancers' territory, I noticed that the upper right corner of this map is laid out the same as the first scenario of the necromancer campaign. The main difference is that Stonecastle has been converted from a castle to a necropolis. Supposedly, Lich King Gryphonheart was commanding his troops from his throne room in Stonecastle. Since I captured it, the scenario should have ended in victory, right? Not so.

The final necropolis was in the upper right corner of the map, a few days travel from Stonecastle. It was defended by a few ghost dragons and power liches.

Oddly enough, neither necropolis had defending heroes.

Since the overworld was cleared, I assumed the remaining heroes were in the tunnels. I sent my army underground to hunt down the remaining heroes. I wasn't sure if the necromancers had built a new necropolis underground and was pleasantly surprised when I received a message telling me that purple had been vanquished.

In hindsight, I probably could have just stayed by the necropoleis and kept clicking the end turn button seven times. All in all, it was an anti-climactic finish to an awesome campaign.

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