Monday, July 18, 2011

Maker Of Sorrows

The scenario is called Maker of Sorrows. Now, that is a badass name. I imagine it's something a death metal musician would want to put on his tombstone.

Anyway, let's talk about the scenario.

You start with four heroes (at level 12, no less!) and the artifacts necessary to construct Armageddon's Blade. Dun dun dun. If you guessed that the scenario is incredibly simple and you'll be able to swoop over your enemies like a dark cloud... you'd be correct.

The goal of the scenario is to seek the Grand Forgesmith Khazandar to construct Armageddon's Blade. This mysterious old man lives underground in a little shack, protected by several border guards.

My strategy was to ignore the underground layer and focus on capturing the enemy towns first. There are ten towns total on the overworld. Four of them belong to Eeofol. The others are elemental confluxes. The inferno towns start with Castle Gates. So it's very easy to defend them with a single hero.

To be honest, the AI heroes never even bothered crossing over to the lava terrain to attack my towns. It was a slaughterfest for Xeron from beginning to end. Every time I took over a conflux, I bolstered by army with ranged units. In the conflux, the ranged types are storm elementals and ice elementals.

Once I reached the underworld, I realized that the area is designed solely to waste players' time. There are many paths to take. Most of them lead to a dead end. However the northwestern passage took me to the border guards and a battle against Inteus (a powerful enemy hero).

The game very well could have ended here. But the map designers decided to tack on another subquest to prolong the scenario. When you reach Khazandar, he gives you an Orb of Antimagic to bring to his apprentice. I had to explore more tunnels and defeat a stack of phoenixes to complete the scenario.

Why does Khazandar's apprentice live in a shack that's half a week's journey away? No idea. The ways of the wizards are foreign to me.

The game never delves into Khazandar's history. Did he go underground to hide from Xeron? Is he just a kooky old man who just happens to know how to construct a weapon that will set the world on fire? I guess he's one of those characters introduced solely to enable the bad guys to obtain their MacGuffin weapon.

Instead, the game focuses on developing Xeron's character. I suppose in the grand scheme of things, this is a good trade-off.

Xeron is only half-Kreegan. His mother is a succubus and his father is an Erathian Knight. Interesting. A few weeks into the scenario, Xeron learns that his mother was killed in an ambush. Unlike full-blooded Kreegans with hearts of stone, Xeron feels sadness. I almost feel pity for him before remembering that he's a torturing bastard.

I don't seem to recall if the game ever explores Xeron's relationship with his parents (or even identifies them). However, this is the last scenario in the campaign where you play from Xeron's point of view. So my guess is that the game leaves it up to the player to draw his or her own conclusions.

Personally, I think it would be hilarious if Jon Van Caneghem suddenly came out of retirement and revealed that Gelu and Xeron had the same father. Fans would die of shock and/or laughter.

Perhaps they were both fathered by Gen. Kendal. After all, he is the worst Erathian regent... ever. It would make perfect sense that every terrible thing that ever happens in Antagarich can be traced back to his incompetence.

I imagine that in his younger years, Gen. Kendal threw caution to the wind and traveled around the countryside boning women of every race. Elves, dwarves, demons, you name it. Do you really think it was a coincidence that Kendal found baby Gelu on a battlefield?

I'm sure somewhere in Krewlod, he even has an illegitimate half-orc son. Oh snap, could it be Kilgor?

1 comment:

  1. To be an unfunny ass: more about Khazandar's history is actually revealed in the later maps. Like the idea about Kendal, but I think one of the tavern rumours says otherwise.