Game-related ramblings.

Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 7)

If you are unfamiliar with Solium Infernum, you may wish to read my earlier post about the game. And you should definitely read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 first. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Last time, my archfiend pair Rufus and Big beak were getting desperate. Far behind in Prestige, they were just about to try framing other archfiends for excommunication — making them fair game for open war — when Xaklyth beat them to it. His framing failed, however, and he was excommunicated himself. But with a big army, Xaklyth may be able to win by force of arms anyway. Rufus and Big Beak are hoping that Xaklyth will take out some of the opposition, so they can sneak into the top position with a few last-minute praetor duels against the champions of Pandemonium. It’s a long shot, but maybe they can turn this to their advantage after all.

Here is what happened.

Turn 41:

The first thing in my turn log is the news that my Infernal Affliction ritual has destroyed Xaklyth’s personal guard. Not a huge accomplishment, since they’d been sitting by the wayside with only a single point of health left for most of the game, but it does net me 6 Prestige. Next I’m informed that someone’s Event card has called Xaklyth’s loyalty into question. I assume this would have excommunicated him, but it’s too late, since he already made his move. And he’s wasted no time: he used his Grinning Legion to capture the Mouth of Abbadon, which used to belong to Baleyolfynn. I’m not sure how he managed this, since the Grinning Legion isn’t powerful enough to take on the defensive garrison, but my guess is he attached a combat card before the battle.

Then, I’m informed that Caim has lost his duel against The Butcher, the first champion of Pandemonium. What!? Caim’s Veil of Smoke should have blunted The Butcher’s attacks, letting Caim win easily through Infernal Bursts. I look over the details of the fight, and it takes a while before I realize that I’ve made a terrible mistake. Here is the description of the Veil of Smoke combat move: “Block 1d6 + 1 per Praetor level of damage from opponent during the remaining combat phases in this round. (This includes the same phase that Veil of Smoke is used.)” I assumed this meant it would block damage every phase, but that’s not how it works. It acts like a single-use shield, and once it’s absorbed as much damage as it can take, it’s gone. That can happen in a single phase or over several phases, but the Veil does not get reacharged every phase like I thought. Brutal.

On top of that, I didn’t understand The Butcher’s Crippling Strike move. According to the Solium Infernum wiki, this move costs 1 skull to use. What it doesn’t say is that one can choose to spend up to 7 skulls on it. That changes it from a weak move that cripples to the opponent, to a very powerful attack that also cripples the opponent. If I’d known The Butcher would hit that hard straight off, I would have changed up Caim’s moves a bit. It’s annoying how poorly documented these combat moves are; the manual doesn’t even list their costs at all, and the wiki does so inconsistently. And now Caim is dead, and with him any hope for more praetor duels. In case there was any doubt before, it’s now perfectly clear: Rufus and Big Beak are the worst lanistas. At least they didn’t lose any Prestige for the defeat.

I sullenly look over the rest of the turn log. Nameless ex-autocrat has refused Beowulf, and Baleyolfynn has failed his vendetta against Nameless ex-autocrat (after Nameless ex-autocrat attached the Black Monolith to his Testament of Tyrants last turn, making it immune to capture). I’ve won my bid for the Burning Legion, so at least I have some defense against Xaklyth. I got lucky and it appeared just south of my stronghold, which is exactly where I wanted it to be. The Grotesque Mask and the praetor Gusion have both been purchased from the Bazaar, and the ban on rituals above level 3 is still active. Rufus and Big Beak are Regent this turn, which means they draw two new Event cards and can pick one to keep. The choices are Conclave Manipulation, which will cancel any active Conclave decrees, and False Modesty, which makes a target archfiend appear to have less Prestige than they actually do for a few turns. Neither of these is particularly useful right now, but I choose Conclave Manipulation since it would cancel that ritual ban. Right now it’s useful to keep it active, so my rivals will be hamstrung, but I might want to lift it later.

There was also another Conclave token drawn this turn, putting us at 14 out of 15. Just one more token to go, which means the game could end at any moment. Is there any way that Rufus and Big Beak could steal a victory? The only possibility I see is if Xaklyth is able to eliminate the Prestige leaders. How I can help him do this? I take a closer look at the map.

Xaklyth is moving east. His Grinning Legion, which just captured the Mouth of Abbadon from Baleyolfynn, is now in Beowulf’s territory. As an excommunicated archfiend, Xaklyth has no need for the Mouth of Abbadon; I suspect he simply attacked it in the hope that the Grinning Legion would emerge on the other side, effectively gaining them an extra movement point this turn. That’s exactly what happened, and now they’re within striking range of Beowulf’s stronghold. Beowulf has a few legions nearby, one of which is toting the Hellfire Ballista, but I’m not sure they’re going to be able to stop Xaklyth. His Grinning Legion may look weak, but I suspect he has the power to strengthen them for a strike. Maybe Xaklyth will eliminate Beowulf for me this turn. And maybe I can help him do it… Rufus and Big Beak could snatch that Hellfire Ballista away before Beowulf can bring it into battle.

Xaklyth’s Darkwing Legion is headed east via a more southerly route. They look to be heading for Pandemonium across the river. That’s bad, because if Xaklyth can capture and hold Pandemonium, he’ll win. But Nameless ex-autocrat is also on the move. He’s placed The Vasdranai Carpet on his personal legion (I guess it wasn’t stolen after all), put the praetor Xaphan in command, and sent them towards Xaklyth’s territory from the southwest. If Nameless ex-autocrat can capture Xaklyth’s stronghold, Xaklyth will be eliminated, even if he has already taken Pandemonium.

It seems my powerful opponents will soon be at each other’s throats, and maybe Rufus and Big Beak can sit by looking weak and harmless before pouncing. I consider whether I can assist in getting everyone else to kill each other. I can steal Beowulf’s Hellfire Ballista, yes, but what else? I could try some Destruction rituals using ritual masking, to take out a legion here and there. But that has a low chance of success, and will get expensive quickly. Instead I decide to put my remaining praetor, Decarabia, in command of the Burning Legion to help bolster my defenses in case Xaklyth comes for me, and put in two calls for tribute.

Turn 42:

Before the turn is processed, some emails go around. Baleyolfynn is absolutely furious at losing his vendetta against Nameless ex-autocrat, hurling an staggering stream of invective at him, and challenging him to another game. He seems convinced Nameless ex-autocrat will win, unaware that Xaklyth’s army could change everything. Nameless ex-autocrat cannot resist gloating, but he is aware of Xaklyth’s threat and says as much.

When I crunch the turn, I see that Xaklyth has indeed struck at Beowulf’s stronghold and eliminated him from the game. To do so, he’s cast the Infernal Juggernaut ritual on his Grinning Legion to make them extremely powerful for a few turns. This ritual requires a Wrath of 6, which means Xaklyth’s Martial Prowess is very high, likely maxed out. I’ve never actually seen it cast before, and its effects are suitably awe-inspiring: the Grinning Legion’s combat stats are now 11 Ranged, 15 Melee, and 10 Infernal (up from its original 3, 6 and zero), and it has four movement points instead of two. It can probably crush anything on the map now, but the effect will only last for a few turns, after which the Grinning Legion will be exhausted with lower stats than normal.

Fortunately I was able to steal Beowulf’s Hellfire Ballista before he was destroyed. That will come in handy, because I’m also greeted with a piece of very bad news: Xaklyth has conquered Pandemonium with his Darkwing Legion. I’m not sure how he managed this. It wasn’t with the Infernal Juggernaut ritual; the Darkwings have their normal stats, although Xaklyth did put the praetor Eligos in command. I do notice that Pandemonium’s combat stats are much lower than usual, however, suggesting that Xaklyth may have used the high-level Destruction ritual Dire Dissipation to permanently damage its combat abilities. If true, it’s frightening. But the real problem is that with Xaklyth in control of Pandemonium, he doesn’t have to kill all of us to win the game, he just has to hold Pandemonium for five turns. There goes my plan to have Xaklyth eliminate my rivals for me. The only way to stop Xaklyth is to either take back Pandemonium, or conquer Xaklyth’s stronghold and eliminate him from the game.

Looking over the rest of the map, I see that Nameless ex-autocrat’s personal legion is no longer sneaking up on Xaklyth’s stronghold. Instead, he’s transferred the Vasdranai Carpet to his legion known as They Hunger, which is sitting across a chasm from Pandemonium. His personal legion hasn’t moved; it’s wounded, presumably from a Destruction ritual, but it’s still alive. Was it just a feint? If so, I’m impressed: now They Hunger can fly across the chasm and either try to conquer Pandemonium, or kill Xaklyth’s Darkwing legion which is holding position outside its gates. Nameless ex-autocrat has also moved his Black Monolith onto his stronghold, preventing Xaklyth from conquering it and eliminating him. Well played, Nameless ex-autocrat, well played.

Baleyolfynn is blocked off from the fighting, with his military strength mustered at his border with Nameless ex-autocrat, far from his border with Xaklyth. But, my turn log informs me that Inquis has directed a Destruction ritual at Pandemonium, excommunicating himself. This must have taken place before Xaklyth conquered the city. I’m not sure why Inquis would want to excommunicate himself, but, like Rufus and Big Beak, he is far behind in Prestige, so perhaps he simply decided to go out in a blaze of glory. His most recent feud was with Beowulf, but Beowulf is already dead, so I suspect he’ll go after Baleyolfynn, as they clashed often in the early stages of the game. Maybe he can mount a strike on Baleyolfynn’s stronghold while Baleyolfynn is distracted.

So, what should Rufus and Big Beak do? I’m tempted to steal Nameless ex-autocrat’s Black Monolith. My best bet at getting rid of him is to have Xaklyth kill him, but that will never happen with that monolith attached to his stronghold. Between the two of them, I have a better chance of striking at Xaklyth, since his stronghold is nearby. The Deceit ritual to steal the monolith will take nearly all of my darkness, however, limiting what else I can do. I decide to throw some Destruction rituals at the legions guarding Xaklyth’s stronghold, to try and thin out the defensive line in case I need to attack. I also consider playing my Event to end the ritual ban, but I also need more tribute, so I don’t have enough order slots for that now.

The next day, while I’m waiting for turns to come in, I start to doubt myself. Because Xaklyth is excommunicated, he can never be Regent, which means that I will always act before him due to my position in the turn order. If I marched my Burning Legion south, and gave them the Hellfire Ballista, they would be in position to strike Xaklyth’s stronghold, and would get to act first, so he’d have no chance to do anything about it. His defensive legions wouldn’t help, or matter. So I don’t need to destroy them. But, if I move into position now, I’ll kill Xaklyth before he kills Nameless ex-autocrat, and Nameless ex-autocrat will win the game.

So, I’ll hold off on attacking but I’ll also cancel those Destruction rituals, and just use all my order slots to ask for tribute. I consider contacting Xaklyth to tell him of my plan to steal Nameless ex-autocrat’s Black Monolith, but decide against it; I don’t want to draw any attention to myself.

Turn 43:

Before the turn is processed, Baleyolfynn complains over email about being unable to cast rituals. Hmm. Maybe I should have canceled the ritual ban with my Event card, so the others could pester Xaklyth with magic. Oh well, too late now; it will expire on its own after this turn.

When I crunch the turn and read the turn log, I really wish I’d decided to stop that ritual ban several turns ago. Xaklyth has hit me with a Planar Lock ritual. This high-level Destruction ritual reduces an opponent’s available order slots, so Rufus and Big Beak are now back down to two, like they were at the start of the game. This will seriously hamstring their attempts to strike back at Xaklyth, and Xaklyth can maintain the Planar Lock every turn as long as he has the resources to pay for it. To make matters even worse, is seems that Inquis’ excommunication has invalidated his emissary to me, so I get nothing. And I’ve failed to steal Nameless ex-autocrat’s Black Monolith, wasting all the resources I spent on the attempt.

Enough. I won’t be able to take out Nameless ex-autocrat, but I certainly don’t intend to let Xaklyth win. It’s time to set up my strike. I check the map and see that Xaklyth hasn’t moved his defensive legions, so I still have a clear path to his stronghold. Nameless ex-autocrat has flown They Hunger over the chasm to kill Xaklyth’s Darkwing Legion rather than strike at Pandemonium itself, but Xaklyth hit back with powerful rituals. All of They Hunger’s attachments, including the Vasdranai Carpet, are gone, its combat stats have been reduced to pitiful levels, and it’s taken heavy damage. There’s no way it can attack Pandemonium now, so it’s up to me to kill Xaklyth.

I only need two order slots to set up my killing blow. With the first I attach the Hellfire Ballista to my Burning Legion, and with the second I march it into position, so it can attack Xaklyth’s stronghold next turn before he has a chance to react. If he’s lucky and has enough resources, he can attack Rufus and Big Beak’s stronghold on the same turn, but he can’t prevent his own demise.

Except… oh no. Xaklyth has placed a combat card on his stronghold. Given his terrifyingly high Martial Prowess, it’s probably a massive defensive bonus that will stop my legion cold. But I don’t see what else I can do. A combat card like that can only be removed by the Pain and Punishment ritual, and the ritual ban prevents anyone from casting it. Rufus and Big Beak don’t have enough Destruction power anyway, after Xaklyth built the Machine of Agony a few turns back. So I guess I have to attack and hope for the best.

Or do I? I read the text for the ritual ban more closely, and see that it prevents all rituals above level 3. Pain and Punishment is a level 3 ritual, so it should still be allowed. I get back on email with the other archfiends and ask if any of them can cast this to strip off the combat card. If so, I can still kill Xaklyth. Unfortunately, none of them have enough Destruction power. I’m also worried that Baleyolfynn won’t want to help, since he’s still upset about his last vendetta against Nameless ex-autocrat, so I email him separately and assure him that I don’t intend to let Nameless ex-autocrat win. This is true, although my tenuous plan is simply to try framing him for excommunication once Xaklyth has been dealt with. I don’t tell Baleyolfynn that part.

I could boost Rufus and Big Beak’s Wickedness to give them enough Destruction power for Pain and Punishment next turn, but with Planar Lock on I may not be able to pull it off. I need to attach the Hellfire Ballista, march the Burning Legion into position, and remove the combat card from Xaklyth’s stronghold if my attack is going to work.

Eventually I decide there’s nothing else for it. I have to try. I boost Rufus and Big Beak’s Wickedness and ask for tribute. Maybe the Planar Lock will expire next turn.

Turn 44:

The Planar Lock is still on. Also, someone has played an Event that returns one praetor from the Abyss to every archfiend. Rufus and Big Beak have gotten Morax back. I nearly laugh out loud. It feels like another era, when Rufus and Big Beak were counting on Morax to lead them to glory in the Arena. It’s far too late for that now; he’s completely useless to me.

The next item in my turn log is a simple notification that Xaklyth has destroyed my Burning Legion with an Infernal Affliction ritual. Well then. There goes that plan. At least the ritual ban is finally over.

Elsewhere, it seems Xaklyth has simply had his Grinning Legion juggernaut march through Pandemonium to kill Nameless ex-autocrat’s They Hunger. But Nameless ex-autocrat purchased the Hounds of Hell last turn, and he emails us asking if anyone can use Deceit to stop Xaklyth’s juggernaut from marching again. Nameless ex-autocrat figures he can take Pandemonium back with his new Hounds, but not if Xaklyth’s juggernaut kills them first. I’m skeptical, but I don’t have much choice; if I don’t help Nameless ex-autocrat, I won’t be able to stop Xaklyth. Nameless ex-autocrat is fairly certain that Xaklyth’s Infernal Juggernaut ritual will expire this turn, rendering the Grinning Legion immobile and harmless. But we’d still have to recapture Pandemonium, and it seems Xaklyth has put a combat card on it that we’d have to remove.

The emails are going back and forth fast now, while I think about what I can do. I could buy the legion known as the Dark Stalkers from the Bazaar, and then bolster their 4 ranged stat with the Hellfire Ballista. But Xaklyth would probably just destroy them before I could attack him; he still has that combat card on his stronghold. Also, Xaklyth’s personal guard has reformed, weaker than before, but they’re still providing some extra ranged combat support to his stronghold. They need to be removed. I ask the others if anyone can blast them with Destruction.

I could try using the Strategic Deception ritual to hide all my legions from view, which would prevent Xaklyth from targeting them. Actually, I should have done that earlier. Except I couldn’t, because of the ritual ban. I definitely should have used my Event to stop that ban and then hid my legions with Strategic Deception. That was a stupid mistake. Using Strategic Deception now would also be a good idea, but I don’t have enough darkness to do that and stop Xaklyth’s juggernaut from marching.

The Sowing Confusion ritual is a low-level Deceit ritual that stops a legion from moving, but at higher Deceit power it can target several legions at a time. Nameless ex-autocrat emails back and tells me to target Xaklyth’s juggernaut Grinning Legion multiple times with it. I did not realize that this ritual could target the same legion multiple times. This might actually work!

I decide to cast Sowing Confusion with my first order slot and bid on the Dark Stalkers with my second, in case we need a backup attack against Xaklyth. Here goes nothing.

Turn 45:

The Planar Lock is still on, but my Sowing Confusion ritual was successful, so Xaklyth was unable to move his Grinning Legion juggernaut. I’ve also won the Dark Stalkers, and they’ve spawned south of my stronghold just like I wanted them to. I could move them into position this turn.

I check the map and see that Nameless ex-autocrat is heading for Xaklyth’s stronghold, but Xaklyth has turned both his personal legion and the Creeping Doom into juggernauts. He’s sending the Creeping Doom towards Nameless ex-autocrat and his personal legion towards me, but not the way I expected. They’re heading south, taking advantage of the cyclic nature of the map to come at my stronghold from the north. They’ll be within striking distance at the start of the next turn, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s no way that Rufus and Big Beak can survive now. All they can hope for is to take Xaklyth with them. The one good thing about this development is that Xaklyth’s legions are no longer providing combat support to his stronghold, so if I can get that combat card removed, my Dark Stalkers can take it down with the Hellfire Ballista.

I’ll see if Nameless ex-autocrat can do anything to help, otherwise I’ll set up my attack. Stupid Planar Lock… with more order slots I could remove the combat card from Xaklyth’s stronghold, attach the Hellfire Ballista, and march the Dark Stalkers into position all on my own. Instead, I can only do two of those things, which will give Xaklyth a chance to stop me.

Nameless ex-autocrat sends an email to us, this time excluding Inquis, claiming that he thinks Inquis is feeding information about our plans to Xaklyth. Apparently someone used the Secret Manipulation ritual to move Nameless ex-autocrat’s Hounds of Hell last turn. He suspects Inquis, with his high Deceit power. Inquis has been acting oddly; he hasn’t gone after Baleyolfynn like I thought he would, and he’s conquered a Place of Power this turn even though he’s excommunicated and no longer has any use for Prestige. Maybe he’s just messing with us at this point. We exclude him from our planning from this point forward, and discuss what to do. It seems more sensible to set up Nameless ex-autocrat to attack, with me removing the combat card on Xaklyth’s stronghold. Incidentally, Nameless ex-autocrat used a Prophecy ritual to spy on that combat card, learning that it applies a whopping -7 drain to all of an attacker’s combat stats. We’ll have no chance if we can’t remove it. The plan is to have me remove the combat card this turn, then use Sowing Confusion to stop Xaklyth’s juggernauts next turn. Here’s hoping.

Then Nameless ex-autocrat emails us back to let us know that he can’t actually attack, because Baleyolfynn’s territory is in the way. Since we’re still law-abiding archfiends, we can’t just indiscriminately march through each other’s land. It will take too long to go around, so I’ll have to make the attack. Nameless ex-autocrat says he can use Deceit to lower one of the combat stats on Xaklyth’s stronghold to zero. We pick melee, as this might let my Dark Stalkers conquer it without the Hellfire Ballista; I would simply strip the combat card and move the Dark Stalkers into position this turn, and then attack next turn. Provided we can get rid of that pesky Legion of the Maw that’s providing combat support. Nameless ex-autocrat says he’ll try a Secret Manipulation ritual to move this last defensive legion out of the way.

Our latest emails have only been to each other. I’m worried that maybe it wasn’t Inquis who was telling Xaklyth our plans. Baleyolfynn may still be holding a grudge against Nameless ex-autocrat.

I give orders to march the Dark Stalkers into position and cast Pain and Punishment to strip off that pesky combat card. We’re going to need all of our rituals to work if we hope to succeed. Here we go.

Turn 46:

I’m greeted with this:

How!? My marching order was in my first order slot, so whoever this was must have acted before me in the turn order. I check, and the only archfiends who got to act before me this turn were Nameless ex-autocrat and…


I should have known. He was livid when he lost his vendetta against Nameless ex-autocrat, and apparently he’d do anything to stop him from winning. Including helping Xaklyth take the throne. But I didn’t suspect him until it was too late. He already knew too much about our plans. His Secret Manipulation moved my Dark Stalkers north of my stronghold, where they were utterly crushed by Xaklyth’s juggernaut personal legion.

Ironically, this stopped Xaklyth’s advance, and spared Rufus and Big Beak’s stronghold from capture this turn. But they are powerless to do anything now, and can only watch as Xaklyth comes for them. Oh, and their attempt to remove Xaklyth’s combat card failed anyway, so their fate was sealed.

Nameless ex-autocrat’s Hounds of Hell are gone, I assume they died from Destruction rituals. And there’s now a second combat card on Xaklyth’s stronghold, presumably because Baleyolfynn warned him of our intentions. But Nameless ex-autocrat’s Secret Manipulation ritual worked, moving the Legion of the Maw away. It’s little consolation, since there’s no way to stop Xaklyth from winning now. But maybe I can save Rufus and Big Beak from banishment to the Abyss. Xaklyth’s Infernal Juggernaut ritual has made his personal legion absurdly strong, but the one thing it didn’t boost is their health. They still have only 6 points of health, and I still get to act before Xaklyth does. If I can destroy his legion with a single Infernal Affliction ritual, before it’s able to march, I might just survive.

I can also try to frame Baleyolfynn for excommunication out of spite. Except, actually I can’t. To do that I’d need to direct an Infernal Affliction ritual at the Infernal Conclave, and then frame Baleyolfynn for the ritual. But the Conclave no longer control Pandemonium, Xaklyth does. Blasting the city is not considered an act of treason as long as he’s in power. Oh well. I throw two more Infernal Affliction rituals at Xaklyth’s other legions, using up all my ritual slots. With my final order slot, I decide to have my personal legion march on my own stronghold. They’ve been useless all game, so there’s something fitting about a pathetic suicide charge to try and take back my stronghold from Xaklyth, even though it will already be too late.

Turn 47:

When I load the turn, I don’t see my turn log as usual. Instead, I see this:

Having held the capital city of Pandemonium by force of arms for five turns, Xaklyth was crowned as the ruler of Hell. It’s all over. Well played, Xaklyth.

You’ll notice that Rufus and Big Beak aren’t shown in the final standings. That’s because their last, desperate Infernal Affliction ritual missed, and Xaklyth’s juggernaut crashed through their stronghold walls. They were cast into the Abyss, leaving only Inquis, Baleyolfynn, and Nameless ex-autocrat to serve under Xaklyth’s new regime.

That’s really the only notable thing that happened on the final turn of the game. Although I do notice that Inquis was headed towards Baleyolfynn’s stronghold with his Orb of Oblivion. If he’d moved just a single turn sooner, his suicide bomber could have taken Baleyolfynn out.


After the game, we discuss our strategies over email. We learn that Xaklyth was planning to excommunicate himself and conquer Hell by force from the start. His early demands and vendettas were just to throw us off his scent; this worked on me, as I didn’t suspect him until it was too late. Baleyolfynn tells us how he felt helpless for much of the game, with his strong legion blocked by Beowulf and Nameless ex-autocrat in turn, unable to capture enough Places of Power to keep him competitive. Inquis had tried an unusual archfiend, pushing his Cunning to 4 from the start (and therefore starting the game with three order slots), balanced out with his Slothful perk and a measly 1 Charisma. He was thinking that he could simply use Deceit to steal any resources he needed, but found out the hard way that even trying to steal resources requires resources, so he was stuck with too little for most of the game. But this didn’t stop him from wheeling and dealing and confusing us.

Mostly, however, we discuss all the mistakes we made. For example, I didn’t realize how well Deceit rituals scale in power. When Xaklyth conquered Pandemonium, he used a low-level Deceit ritual to lower its combat stats. If Xaklyth were weak in Deceit, it would have only lasted for the same turn he attacked, but since he was powerful, the effect lasted several turns, making me think he’d permanently weakened Pandemonium’s garrison. Not to mention the revelation that Sowing Confusion can target the same legion multiple times, vastly increasing its chances of success.

Early in the game I was impressed with Nameless ex-autocrat’s combat strategies, carefully boosting his weak legion so it could win critical battles. Turns out that was all wrong; I was forgetting to take into account his legion’s Flame Aura ability, which adds some Infernal damage and means it wasn’t too weak for those battles at all. In fact, my congratulatory message to Nameless ex-autocrat after one of his victories got him suspicious, wondering if I might have the Kingmaker perk, so that if he won the game by Prestige, I would win instead. Since I’d horribly misplayed my Arena combat strategy, my opponents couldn’t figure out what I was up to, and suspected devious treachery. In fact, it was Nameless ex-autocrat who hit me with all those Looting the Vaults rituals, hoping that at least one of them would implicate him and rile me up, but alas Rufus and Big Beak were unable to identify the archfiend responsible. Six times in a row.

I also reflected on some of the mistakes I made with my strategy for praetor duels, some of which I mentioned during this account. I let myself get distracted by vendettas and bickering too easily, instead of focusing on getting a praetor and training him with combat moves. I worried too much about Prestige early in the game and got into a duel I wasn’t ready for. Mostly, however, I should have boosted my Charisma in order to start collecting manuscripts for combat moves. That way I could train a powerful duelist who could pick on my opponents and eventually take out the champions of Pandemonium for a huge Prestige boost at the end of the game.

In fact, I might have been better served by skipping the Arena Gambler perk and going for perks that improve tribute hauls instead. I’d get less Prestige from duels, but could use all those resources to jockey for position in other ways. This line of thinking gave me an idea for our next game…

But that is another story.

Hell Or High Water has come to an end! I hope you enjoyed this massive account. I tried to capture the thinking process that went into each turn, and I think I succeeded, but the result is an enormously long and detail-filled diary. If any of it has piqued your interest, just let me know, as I’m always happy to host a game. You can purchase Solium Infernum directly from developers Cryptic Comet.


Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 6)


The Complete Hell Or High Water


  1. Cool AAR.

    I would read another one. I never found someone who played an arena focused strategy. Would like to see you try to refine it.

    How goes the review of spartacuĀ“s board game?

    • Glad you enjoyed it! I take it you have played Solium Infernum yourself? What’s your favorite strategy?

      I’ve finally taken some photos of a game of Spartacus, so I can write that post now. But it’s lined up after a few other posts I need to write first. Sorry for the long wait!

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