Readers unfamiliar with Solium Infernum may wish to read my original post about the game, as well as my first, massive Solium Infernum diary, Hell Or High Water, before continuing. And you should definitely read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of Infernal Medicine to get up to speed. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
Things are heating up in Hell. Last time, The Magistrate’s plans to win by being the richest archfiend around hit a snag when Beowulf cursed his praetor Morax, temporarily blocking his special combat moves just before his duel with Anonymoeba’s champion. Anonymoeba began to focus on secret objectives, and opened a dialogue with Codename Duchess to end hostilities so he can direct his aggression at Kivah and The Magistrate. Codename Duchess continued his attempts to win two vendettas against the same archfiend, so he can use his Playing For Keeps perk to claim Blood Feud and eliminate them from the game. So far, he’s managed one win against Anonymoeba. And Baleygr, who has a huge territory but lower income, planned an eventual assault on the Pit of Tartarus, the last remaning unconquered Place of Power on the map. His plan involves some diplomatic action against The Magistrate.
Here is what happened.
Anonymoeba contacts me before the turn begins, as he’s still deciding on his response to my demand. It seems that he is becoming increasingly concerned about the growing power of The Magistrate. He wants more focus turned that way. While The Magistrate has no steady Prestige income from Places of Power, he has accrued a respectable 75 Prestige off of insults, Burnt Offerings and other rituals. These only increase in power and effectiveness as the game progresses. Anonymoeba reasonably thinks that The Magistrate should be everyone’s target if we plan on a Prestige victory. There’s also some grumblings in the Infernal Senate that The Magistrate’s passivity may merely be a prelude to an assault on Pandemonium itself.
Anonymoeba’s proposition is this: we fight a fake vendetta, allowing me to remove my Slaves from his territory and move them towards The Magistrate. Unfortunately for Anonymoeba, he does not suspect that my aim is actually the destruction of his stronghold. I use this lack of knowledge to my benefit in the negotiations.
I know that Anonymoeba has been using Prophecy rituals to view my attributes. Therefore I lose nothing by admitting that my avatar is quite weak; I lack both resources and ritual power. In addition I still have only 2 order slots (while I am not happy about this, in another game I would find it crippling). I explain that I am happy to move against The Magistrate in force but that I cannot accept the Prestige loss from a failed vendetta because I don’t have the means to catch up if I fall behind. Since the point of the ‘fake’ vendetta is to extract my Slaves from within Anonymoeba’s territory, we agree to a vendetta based on capturing cantons.
The cantons I will take will be in the general area of the The Gates of Hell. I explain that while I agree to the pact, I don’t trust Anonymoeba not to backstab me later, so I must claim this territory as a buffer against him. But the real reason is that I need to end the vendetta within striking distance of his stronghold. There are a variety of additional stipulations, such as leaving a path for Anonymoeba to capture the neutral Pit of Tartarus and agreeing to send him some darkness in tribute after the vendetta is over. I hem and haw and pretend to drive a hard bargain, but in the end the only thing that matters is winning this ‘fake’ vendetta. With this win — and my Playing For Keeps perk — I will be able to declare Blood Feud and eliminate Anonymoeba for good.
When the discussions are complete, Anonymoeba refuses my demand and turn 31 begins. I claim a vendetta to capture 5 cantons. The Magistrate loses his duel against Anonymoeba, but I see that The Magistrate used Caim and not Morax. This means he still has Morax for his upcoming duel with Beowulf. The Orb of Oblivion has also been purchased, meaning someone is planning a scorched earth (ha) strategy against a major legion or Place of Power. Perhaps Baleygr against The Magistrate’s Sons of Typhon?
My two legions are already in position to capture the cantons I want when the vendetta officially starts next turn, so I spend this turn demanding more tribute.
I am dangerously close to first place, which would attract everyone’s attention, so I have made my demand on The Magistrate. It may work out for me in several ways: since it costs me some Prestige it will reduce my apparent threat level, while transferring that Prestige to The Magistrate (assuming he refuses the demand) and setting myself up to either aid or betray him at my whim. Earlier I told him I would give him Prestige by sending demands for him to refuse, with the goal of becoming his Blood Vassal. I can still do that, or I can use a refused demand to claim vendetta on him instead.
Someone has purchased the Orb of Oblivion which means that there is a suicide legion running around. This would be a good time to have some real Destruction power. In addition to my demand on The Magistrate, I have demanded resources and purchased a piece of the Rite of Infernal Awe. If I can get all three pieces of that, it will boost my Martial Prowess by 2, greatly strengthening my legions due to my Master Archer and Master of the Sword perks. Next round I would like to use Maneuver Training to enhance my slaves.
I still cannot challenge the Sons of Typhon. Their 15 ranged stat is currently insurmountable. I could overcome it with a strong praetor such as Bifrons or Decarabia, but I currently have none, and need ichor for increasing Martial Prowess rather than praetor purchases. Either one of those praetors would allow me to overcome the ranged strength of the Sons of Typhon, if paired with the Hellfire Ballista, while weathering the melee blow (once) and doing some infernal damage. My ranged damage would be doubled due to the Ballista, but it would still not be enough. I would need to add the Ark of Damnation — which just appeared in the Bazaar, replacing the Orb of Oblivion — to kill them in the first round of battle and survive. This limits me to Bifrons as he offers a level roll bonus to open up a third attachment slot for my legion.
Beowulf has tried, and failed, to steal my new praetor Caim. I’m glad I paid to maintain my Demonic Premonitions ritual, which helps defend against just such theft. But it is troubling, because I added Caim to my vault after Beowulf used his Dark Augury ritual to peek inside and hurl his Curse of Deceit at Morax. It seems that the ritual allows Beowulf to see my vault for an extended period of time. What a jerk.
It doesn’t make that much difference, of course, because I sent Caim to his doom after withdrawing the crippled Morax from his duel against Anonymoeba’s champion. I’m shown the outcome this turn: Caim lost, but did some decent damage to Vassago. He might have emerged triumphant, if Anonymoeba hadn’t played his In Dreadful Deeds Fearless event card, which permanently boosted all of Vassago’s stats. Beowulf’s curse, and Anonymoeba’s claim of a single combat vendetta just before boosting his praetor — they are clearly conspiring against me. And I probably drove them to it, when I publicly aired my suspicions that Beowulf might be planning to conquer Pandemonium instead of playing by the rules. But at least Morax is still alive, and the curse should end next turn, just before my single combat vendetta against Beowulf takes place. Then I shall have my revenge. Provided Beowulf doesn’t manage to steal Morax first. Have I mentioned that Beowulf is a jerk?
In other news, my tribute haul is incredible due to the Demand of Supplication ritual I cast last turn. I get a slew of manuscripts, including two pieces of the Machine of Vengeance, and two pieces of Vile Oath of Consumption, a powerful combat move for praetors. In fact, Morax would be especially good with it, since it deals 1-4 damage for each of the praetor’s infernal orbs, and Morax currently has a whopping eighteen of those. That’s instant death to the recipient. As I store the manuscripts in my vault, I look over my massive collection and smile. The Magistrate may take the throne yet.
Since I cannot ask for tribute on the turn after my Demand of Supplication, I must use my orders for other things. I’ll cast Burnt Offerings for some Prestige, and bid on the Machine of Despair Vol. 3 from the Bazaar. I’ll also bid on the Bottle of Whispers, to work towards my secret objective of holding 6 Unholy Relics. What else? I also have a secret objective to insult every opponent. My next target will be Baleygr, to the south. Long ago he talked his way out of a vendetta by promising to transfer Prestige to me via demands that I could refuse, but he hasn’t done so. I suspected it was an empty promise, but didn’t particularly care; besides, he hasn’t taken any further aggressive actions against me, which suits my purposes. I don’t want to anger him, but I have to hurl the insult to satisfy my objective. If he accepts an insult from me it will have the same effect as his original proposal: a transfer of Prestige to me. So I accompany my insult with a courier message explaining that I was tired of waiting for his promised demands and decided to execute the transfer of Prestige myself. I’m hoping this won’t rile him too much, but I also march my Sons of Typhon one canton northwest in case Baleygr hatches some crazy plan to sneak around them and attack me.
Vassago was barely victorious: The Magistrate’s champion, Caim, took him down from 16 HP to 4 HP with 3 infernal bursts. Anyway, it’s a good start, especially since The Magistrate is also facing a new single combat vendetta against Beowulf and his main praetor Morax should still be cursed.
The choice of a new secret objective presented to me is either to control 5 legions at the end of the game, capture the Black Altar of Despair or build a Machine… of Despair. As I’d prefer not to despair, I’ll pick the first one, even though controlling 5 legions will require at least 4 Wrath skill (expensive, since I’m currently at 1) or some special trinkets from the marketplace (none of which are currently available). It’s a crappy choice but it’ll have to do for now.
On the diplomatic front I continue my schemes with Codename Duchess. We agreed that he’ll free his main legion by capturing the southern bridge with his Dark Stalkers. We also agreed that Codename Duchess will pay 6 Darkness (or how much was it?) as a formal token of good faith. Other than that he’ll have to forfeit the vendetta, a fact over which he expressed his dissatisfaction. In theory I’ve lots of vacant land west from the Gates of Hell I could let him grab, but I don’t want to feed him any more Prestige. We’ll see if he gets greedy and tries anything stupid because of this. I decide to buy a new legion, the Abyssal Striders, just to add some muscle to enforce my position.
I read through my turn log as usual. My insult against Baleygr has been acknolwedged, and Anonymoeba gets 3 Prestige from it since he has his Infernal Negotiations ritual on. I really should consider casting that myself. And… Kivah’s Darkwing Legion has captured Pandemonium!? What? I quickly check the map, and realize that he didn’t capture Pandemonium, he destroyed Pandemonium using the Orb of Oblivion! Oh my.
Last game, the same player asked me what would happen if he destroyed Pandemonium with the Orb. At the time, I thought it would stall the game, and told him so. It was only afterward, when we discussed the game with all the players, that I learned I was wrong. If Pandemonium is destroyed, the Infernal Conclave survives, and the attacker is excommunicated. The game goes on, but without Pandemonium, no one may voluntarily excommunicate themselves (by attacking Pandemonium) or try to win by conquering the city. I no longer need to fear a usurper. Ha!
This was essentially a suicide move by Kivah, because he’s now excommunicated and we may all wage open war upon him. I guess he’s bored with the game; he sends an email complaining that none of us were engaging in backroom dealing, and that he’s taken it upon himself to prevent anyone from winning as a usurper. It looks likely that Anonymoeba will swoop in to take Kivah’s holdings, but Codename Duchess just declared vendetta on Anonymoeba, so maybe he’ll be distracted by that, giving Baleygr a chance to take some of Kivah’s land as well. Sadly, I’m in no position to take anything myself, but at least I’m no longer required to insult Kivah for my secret objective. Only Beowulf and Codename Duchess require my verbal barbs now.
Speaking of my own affairs, the Curse of Deceit that Beowulf cast on Morax has expired, and Morax has his special combat moves back. Just in time to head into the ring against Beowulf’s champion. This will be ridiculous: he’s opening with Rain of Brimstone, which may kill Beowulf’s fighter straight off. But just in case, he’s following it up with Sinew Slice, Impale, a guarded attack, and two infernal bursts. Nothing will survive. I’m also regent this turn and draw the event card Evil Sleeps, which stops Prestige generated by Places of Power for 4-10 turns. This is perfect, since I don’t have any Places of Power myself. My rivals will stop earning Prestige, but I can still gain it via rituals and insults. I play the event card, and cast a Demand of Supplication followed by three tribute calls to fill my coffers.
Kivah blew up Pandemonium with the Orb of Oblivion. I think the player is tired of the game? In any event I shall take his holdings as fast as I can. I have upgraded my legion’s movement speed, demanded tribute, and accepted the insult that The Magistrate hurled at me even as I tried to concede Prestige to him through a false demand. I have also bid on volume three of the Rite of Infernal Awe. Someone bought a Machine manuscript; I need Beowulf’s Place of Power that protects against Machines…
Someone is buying up Relics and manuscripts (I’m guessing The Magistrate). But something else this turn is much more interesting. It seems Kivah purchased the Orb of Oblivion and used it… to destroy Pandemonium. This causes his excommunication and means he can only win by eliminating every other fiend. As a side note, this does not eliminate the possibility for a Prestige victory, as you might think since Hell’s bureaucracy is theoretically destroyed. Instead the government becomes rogue and unassailable, meaning that no one can win by usurpation. It seems all the paranoia caused by me winning in just this way last game has paid off big. Kivah sends a message to us all explaining that he was concerned about any number of us trying to take Pandemonium and decided to throw a grenade in the pot. I guess he was so bloodied by Anonymoeba he didn’t see a path to victory for himself. Kivah is likely to fall to Anonymoeba soon.
Concerningly, Anonymoeba has just purchased a legion with 3 move points. Meaning he could quite easily disrupt my canton capturing vendetta. I am wholly banking on the fact that he does not see me as much of a threat long term and really wants my help against The Magistrate.
With my 2 orders I take the first 2 cantons. I decide to take the canton near Anonymoeba’s stronghold first, in case he tries to get tricky and block this spot later.
Wait, what? Kivah surprised us all and went out in a blaze of glory, suicide bombing Pandemonium with the Orb of Oblivion attached to his Darkwing Legion. Unless I’ve been completely oblivious of some sort of a grand conspiracy, that’s a rather strategically questionable move on his part.
Then again, who am I to complain? All of his holdings are within a stone’s throw from my territory. I should easily be able to claim both his stronghold and the Wood of Suicides with my main legion and gain a significant windfall of Prestige. Also, because Pandemonium is no more, no usurping or other warfare in open violation of Conclave law is possible. Since I was going for a Prestige win anyway, this should just strengthen my position.
Anyway, as I’m about to gain lots of Prestige, I figure I’ll soften the deal with Codename Duchess and agree on him getting to win the vendetta by capturing 3 cantons (2 west of the Gates of Hell, as well as a single canton far northwest by the Summit of Mount Erebus, which is entirely surrounded by Codename Duchess’ territory anyway). This way I won’t get too far ahead in Prestige since I still plan to maintain a low profile and be sneaky with secret objectives.
Speaking of secret objectives, I’ll start boosting my Martial Prowess to gain enough Wrath skill to command those damned 5 legions.
I have moved toward Kivah’s holdings and requested tribute. I want his Stronghold, and the levels my legion can gain through combat.
No grand conspiracy from Kivah has surfaced. My main legion easily crossed the mountains, took out Kivah’s sole legion, and have a first strike this turn to capture his stronghold. Also they’ll have a 3/4 chance to end up close to the Wood of Suicides next turn, securing it.
Codename Duchess, honoring his part of the bargain, claimed the bridge as well as a canton west of the Gates of Hell. He should be able to end the vendetta next turn. I’ve also drawn the Infernal Promotion event card, which I’m going to play on my freshly recruited Abyssal Striders, turning them into a 3 move point super-legion and securing my eastern flank.
Someone has played the event that nullifies all Prestige generated from Places of Power for 7 turns. A minor setback for sure, but yet I sit on my throne, complacent and laughing at the ease with which everything is coming together.
My Evil Sleeps event card has stopped Places of Power from generating Prestige for 7 turns. This will give me some time to catch up in the Prestige game. Also, Beowulf tried and failed to steal Morax from me, just before Morax entered the ring against Beowulf’s Eligos. Good thing I have this Demonic Premonitions ritual on; I should be sure to keep paying for it. Having failed to prevent the fight, Beowulf was forced to watch as Morax killed Eligos in only two moves: his Rain of Brimstone hit for 8 damage, and his Impale blocked Eligos’ feeble attack and knocked off his remaining 5 health. Morax was unhurt. While I am pleased, I think that losing my earlier duel against Anonymoeba and having my Prestige drained from Beowulf’s Curse of Deceit mean I’ve come out worse for the whole affair. I do get to give Morax a level up bonus, however: a choice of +3 defensive shields, +3 infernal orbs, or +1 health. Morax is weak on defense, so I opt for the shields.
In other news, the race for Kivah’s territory is on. Anonymoeba marched his personal legion west to kill Kivah’s personal legion, and is poised to strike at Kivah’s stronghold next turn, eliminating him from the game. But Kivah’s still owns the Wood of Suicides, and Baleygr may try to capture it.
My tribute haul is incredible once again, and this time I’ve hit the jackpot with the manuscript offerings. I’ve located the final pieces of the Machine of Despair and the Machine of Omens. These four-part manuscripts will lower other archfiends’ Cunning (used for Deceit) and Intellect (used for Prophecy) attributes by 2 points each. Except for Beowulf, who is immune due to the special ability of his Pillars of Malebolge Place of Power. Constructing these will make everyone else angry and may well galvanize them against me, but it’s worth it as it will net me a chunk of Prestige and hamper my opponents all at once.
What else to do? I still have to insult Codename Duchess and Beowulf to satisfy my secret objective, but those will net me more Prestige if I have an Infernal Negotiations ritual active, so I decide to turn that on. Then I’ll build the two Machines, boost my own Cunning attribute, and cast Burnt Offerings for even more Prestige. That pretty much clears out all my resources, however, so next turn I won’t have much to do except another Demand of Supplication to refill my vaults.
Morax has indeed prevailed against the once reincarnated Eligos, and The Magistrate is the victor over Beowulf. Another manuscript has been purchased. And Anonymoeba’s slaves are within striking distance of Kivah’s stronghold; the end is nigh for him.
With my 2 orders I take 2 more cantons. One south of his stronghold and one north, near the Summit of Mount Erebus, over which we previously fought.
The Magistrate has blasted us all with two Machines. I desperately need tribute so I can recover from this. Anonymoeba has taken Kivah’s stronghold over the mountains with his mountainwalking legion, and played an event card that awarded his Abyssal Striders the Order of the Black Ring, making them much more powerful. I may be able to take The Wood of Suicides before he does, which would be at least one victory. I have sought out curiosities, instead of a standard tribute call, in hopes of a manuscript for my legion and barring that the souls to boost my Intellect and recover my recently gained third order slot, lost now due to the Machine of Omens.
I have decided The Magistrate must die.
Kivah has been banished to the Abyss and I’ve gained his stronghold as a new, profitable +3 Prestige/turn Place of Power. But that’s the only good news.
The Magistrate has finally decided to start playing his manuscripts, unleashing TWO machines with a -2 malus to both our Cunning and Intellect attributes. Those are the exact attributes I had at level 4, so going back to 2 means I lost 2 order slots; half of my capacity to operate. Ouch. He has also finally surpassed me in Prestige by casting another Burnt Offerings.
I’ve also apparently neglected the fact that Baleygr’s main legion has 3 move points! This means that they’ve moved into a striking distance from Kivah’s old Wood of Suicides and have good odds of securing it before my legion has a chance to move. That’s really annoying, but luckily I can use my recently buffed Abyssal Striders to finally grab the Pit of Tartarus to the east to compensate.
Codename Duchess has claimed the 3 cantons we agreed on, but the vendetta is still going. He told me there was a misunderstanding earlier and he actually has to capture 5 to satisfy the vendetta. Suspicious, but I fail to see what he could gain here by being sneaky, so I’ll let it pass.
At least now everybody should feel the pinch of risk The Magistrate poses. I need to quickly gain back at least one order slot, so I’ll start buffing my Intellect attribute, which is more affordable because of the +1 Prophecy Relic in my possession.
Someone has tried a Sowing Confusion ritual on my legions, which would stop them from moving. I was able to resist but I was also unable to detect the perpetrator. Is Anonymoeba in fact attempting to prevent my success in this vendetta?
Kivah is dead and Anonymoeba has awarded his 3 movement legion a promotion making them a formidable threat. If I weren’t planning on murdering him shortly, I would be quite concerned.
The Magistrate has constructed 2 machines, lowering my Intellect and Cunning 2 points each, from 1…to 0. Not a great loss but sure to infuriate everyone else.
With my 2 orders I take the last 2 cantons. I decide it’s perhaps suspicious if I don’t backstab Anonymoeba somewhere obvious, so I do cut him off from the Pit of Tartarus. If he makes too much of a fuss I’ll point out that with Kivah’s stronghold under his control and the Wood of Suicides close by, it’s unlikely he’ll be hurting for Prestige, and I do have an obligation to my own Prestige investors.
Some might say that constructing two Infernal Machines on the same turn is overdoing it, but not The Magistrate. I’ve earned 10 Prestige for each one, plus another 10 from my Burnt Offerings ritual, and my opponents are finding they are suddenly less powerful. Most excellent.
But there’s also some very bad news. Someone — almost certainly Beowulf — has stolen Morax from me. They even managed to overpower my Demonic Premonitions ritual. This is bad, because I need a strong praetor as a deterrent when I hurl my insults at my opponents, so they don’t think they can just respond with a single combat vendetta. But two can play at the praetor stealing game. With another boost to my Cunning I’ll have enough power to steal Morax back, but only if I can locate him first. I have to spy on Beowulf’s vault with a Dark Augury ritual for that, but right now I’m completely out of resources. So this turn will be a Demand of Supplication followed by four tribute calls, and next turn I can start the process to get Morax back.
I might also consider stealing Anonymoeba’s Vassago, who has extra high combat stats since Anonymoeba played the In Dreadful Deeds Fearless event card on him. And he’s still commanding Anonymoeba’s personal legion and is therefore a valid target for theft, without any spying required. That legion, by the way, just conquered Kivah’s stronghold, eliminating him from the game. The stronghold will earn Anonymoeba a lot of Prestige eventually, but for now my event is still blocking Prestige from Places of Power, giving me some breathing room. Still, with a Conclave token drawn last turn and another this turn, putting us at 9 out of 15, I don’t have much time left to get into the lead.
Codename Duchess has finally finished the vendetta, capturing the spare northern canton as well as one east of the Gates of Hell, blocking my access to the Pit of Tartarus! His answer to my inquisitive inquiry was that he wasn’t actually aware of our agreement that he should only take the cantons to the west of the Gates of Hell. What is this facetious travesty and what does he have to gain by sabotaging the deal? If he is in conspiracy with Baleygr or The Magistrate, then those are some strange bedfellows. I’ve no idea what his motives are. To confuse me even more, he expressed his willingness to keep up with the deal and confirm the non-aggression pact between us.
Luckily there’s some solace in the form of good news from the western front. Baleygr’s main legion was decimated in the fight against the Wood of Suicides. It could have been by outside intervention but most likely just by plain bad luck. Well that’s just too bad, since now the place belongs to me (unless the mysterious saboteur somehow manages to cripple my powerful main legion before their assault this turn).
I also have enough resources to boost my Prophecy to 4, gaining me back the much needed third order slot.
What to do with Codename Duchess, though? Is he taking me for a fool or was it indeed just a case of miscommunication? In the end I decide to play along. My two powerful legions surround his forces in the bulge around the Gates of Hell, so if he’s up to something it has to be really clever. Maybe he somehow wants to transfer the ownership of the cantons at the middle of my territory to him, cutting my realm in half and causing another headache for the Flat Hell Society? We shall see.
Of course, I’ll have to put the heads of the whole House Anonymoeba Diplomacy and Correspondence Office on spikes, just in case.
I’ve succeeded in my vendetta. While annoyed, Anonymoeba doesn’t seem to be go-back-on-our-deal furious. I hope this will also keep him from suspecting something more under the surface. I check my diplomacy options and indeed I am able to declare a Blood Feud. Success! However, looking at the Diplomacy screen I see that I won’t have initiative advantage against him for some turns. I must time my strike so he cannot react.
In the meantime I check the bazaar and I can in fact purchase the Crown of Fire. This grants a bonus on destruction rituals (nice when combined with The Summit of Mount Erebus which does the same) and +1 Prestige per turn. I purchase this with my first order and with my second demand tribute. I message Anonymoeba, let him know we’re a go on ganging up on The Magistrate and that I’ll work on gathering the darkness I owe him.
Codename Duchess has succeeded in his vendetta against Anonymoeba. It doesn’t look like he did much, except capture a few cantons to free his legion. Was he just trying to take territory? Looking around the rest of the map, I see that Beowulf’s Hell Blades have a combat card assigned, and his Adamantium guard marched southeast and has the praetor Raum in command. Is he getting ready to attack me? It also looks like Baleygr tried to capture the Wood of Suicides — which Kivah used to own before he was eliminated — but lost. That means there’s nothing to stop Anonymoeba from taking it and getting even more Prestige.
Another huge tribute haul, including the second half of the Impenetrable Stance combat move, and the last piece of the Machine of Gluttony. If my opponents were upset about my Machines last turn, it’s nothing compared to the outrage they’ll feel next turn when my Machine of Gluttony lowers their Charisma attribute by two points. Since Charisma governs the quality of one’s tribute, and the only way to raise it again is to pay a lot of resources, such a loss can be especially crippling. So of course I’m going to construct it.
I’m also going to increase my Cunning to 4, which will give me enough Deceit power to steal praetors. Like Morax, my champion duelist who has run off to work for Beowulf. But he’s hiding in Beowulf’s vault, so I need to cast a Dark Augury ritual to peek in there. I consider marching my Sons of Typhon into my stronghold, which should make them emerge on a random adjacent canton, as a means of moving them north to help defend against Beowulf, but decide against it. Instead I’ll attach my recently acquired Bottle of Whispers to my ritual chamber, which might help me earn some Curses of Deceit of my own, and hurl an insult at Codename Duchess. Hopefully he does not realize that I no longer have Morax in my employ.
Well, due to the combat roll bonus, I lost my legion when it attacked the Wood of Suicides. I have no resources, no legions, and I’ve been hit by Machines. I think I’m toast. I will wait for the end. Like last game I am unlikely to have any meaningful impact on the outcome. I can’t even move enemy legions with Deceit like I could last time. As I noted at the outset, this was an extremely poor avatar design and the lack of resources has handicapped me throughout the game. I would very much like to be able to participate but without resources or order slots, there isn’t much that can be done.
Even if I had wanted to try to save up resources and get back in the game, I’ve been hit by another Machine, taking my Charisma attribute from 3 to 1 for a -1 tribute roll. With no legions, no resources, and no extra order slots, I’m out. I will engage in suicide feuds with others so I don’t hold up turns. The game will come down to The Magistrate and Beowulf, I think, given that Beowulf can’t be hurt by Machines. I’m mildly excited to see Beowulf march his now considerable army over to The Magistrate and wipe the floor with him. We’ll see. Fun game, excited for the next one.
I’ve built the Machine of Gluttony, which means everyone else is going to be really angry at me. But they’ll now be struggling for resources while I’m rolling in them, and it earned me 10 more Prestige at a time when no one else is earning Prestige from their Places of Power due to my ongoing Evil Sleeps event. I’m now essentially tied for second place with Baleygr, but still trail Codename Duchess by about 30 Prestige. That puts me past Anonymoeba in the standings, but he’ll start earning a lot from Places of Power when my event expires. This turn he captured the Wood of Suicides as well, so he’s got quite the collection.
Beowulf has demanded me, but only for one tribute card. Unfortunately my Dark Augury ritual showed me his ritual chamber rather than his vault, which is useless to me. My maximum level Prophecy power means that a Dark Augury can reveal a bunch of different things, and is therefore — annoyingly — less likely to tell me the specific thing I want to know. I’ll be waiting forever if I want to steal Morax back this way. For now I’ll have to concede to his demand, but I’ll punish him later. I send him the Melee Training Vol. 1 manuscript, which should be useless unless he’s been collecting manuscripts of his own.
In fact, with my Cunning now at 4, I can try to steal Anonymoeba’s Vassago instead. He doesn’t know any special moves, but he has high stats, and I’ve been collecting manuscripts I could use to train him. My new Cunning level means I’m now at the maximum of six order slots, so I’d still have room for a Demand of Supplication and four tribute calls. Perfect! Except… I don’t have enough free ritual slots for both a Pilfer, Coerce and Bribe ritual and a Demand of Supplication ritual. Curses! Maybe I shouldn’t have put the Bottle of Whisphers in my ritual chamber after all.
I’ll run out of resources quickly if I don’t do the Demand of Supplication, so stealing Vassago will have to wait. I cast the Demand followed by five tribute calls. Show me the maximum amount of money!
I’ve integrated the Wood of Suicides to my realm, boosting my Prestige gain to whopping +8/turn! Well, that’s when that damn Prestige generation nullifying event finally runs out, at least. The Conclave tokens have been piling up quite quickly and we’re already at 10 out of 15. That should make it around 10 or so turns left to play, so it’s going to be a rush.
The Magistrate has played another painful Machine, this time reducing everyone’s Charisma by 2. Even though I’ve decent amount of savings, going back from 4 to 2 Diabolism will really hurt my tribute income, so I’ll have to be careful with how I invest them.
I’ve won the Crown of Fire which is a nice boon. I let Anonymoeba know I still don’t have his darkness (since he knows I have terrible Charisma this is nicely believable). The Magistrate has constructed another Machine, dropping everyone’s Charisma 2 points; mine’s gone from 3 to 1. That actually hurts as I am unlikely to be able to boost it back up. Someone has performed another Dark Augury against me, it was successful and I did not learn who it was. The Magistrate insulted me. I eat the Prestige; we’ll see who’s insulting who when Anonymoeba lies at the bottom of the Pit.
I assign the crown to my one ritual slot to gain the Prestige bonus [Actually, Relics only generate Prestige when attached to strongholds or Places of Power. –Ed]. This means I have 0 slots left to actually cast my buffed Destruction rituals, but with my 1 Charisma I’m unlikely to have the tribute to accomplish that anyway. With my second order I create a combat card on my slaves (-3 enemy ranged stat). I need all the assurance in the world that I win my surprise strike, and Anonymoeba’s stronghold is supported by two of his legions.
I decided to stop paying for my Demonic Premonitions ritual last turn so I can get another free ritual slot. Without Morax to protect from theft, there’s not much point to it. But I kept my Infernal Negotiations ritual going, which was a good choice, because I’ve just been awarded 3 Prestige as Baleygr demands Codename Duchess, and another 3 Prestige as Beowulf insults Baleygr. Codename Duchess has also accepted my earlier insult, so I only have Beowulf left to insult in order to satisfy my secret objective. Also, all of this Prestige shuffling means I’m now the Prestige leader! But only by one point, behind Codename Duchess. When my Evil Sleeps event ends on Turn 39, he’ll start earning Prestige a lot faster.
Speaking of events, I’m regent his turn so I draw two more and get to pick one. My choices are Blackest Insurrection, which makes a random Place of Power return to its neutral state, or Angelic Host, which summons an absurdly powerful heavenly legion to invade Hell and fly around the map, striking at each archfiend’s legions in turn. The thing is, I think my Sons of Typhon might actually survive their assault, and they’d take out everyone else’s legions for me. So I decide to keep Angelic Host.
Beowulf is still massing for an invasion. His Adamantium Guard now has a combat card attached in addition to Raum in command. If I march my Sons of Typhon into my stronghold, there’s a decent chance they’ll pop out to the north to defend my borders. What else should I do? Well, my friends, I must take a moment to emphasize just how incredibly rich I am now. My five tribute calls, boosted by a Demand of Supplication, have yielded a wealth of tribute cards, each overflowing with resources. I think back to my humble beginnings and laugh. There was a time when I had to spend an order consolidating tribute cards together in order to afford things. Now, I am constantly overpaying for everything because my tribute cards are too good. My vaults are bursting, and it’s time to spend some money.
First, I’m going to try to steal Vassago from Anonymoeba. If I’m successful I can use all the manuscripts I’ve been collecting to train him into a new powerhouse duelist. Since money is basically no object I’m also going to boost my Cunning to 5, which will allow me to use Ritual Masking to frame other archfiends for my rituals and cast them at times that’s not usually allowed. Most notably, I’ll be able to cast Destruction rituals without being in a vendetta, which is very useful. I’ll also take my Bottle of Whispers out of my ritual chamber so I can use its slot to cast rituals, and bid on the Reliquary of False Prophets to help satisfy my secret objective to own six Unholy Relics. Lastly I’ll cast Burnt Offerings for 10 more Prestige.
It’s good to be rich.
The Magistrate has finally became the leading archfiend in Prestige at 168 points, surpassing Codename Duchess by 1. I’m at base 136 + 40 from my completed secret Objectives. I still have to kill 1 more legion to gain another 20 Prestige, and acquire 2 more legions for an extra 15. The problem is that if I don’t fulfill a Secret Objective, the Prestige award will actually be subtracted from my score. I might have to forfeit the first objective, since I’m not sure I’ll have another chance for legion combat (pff, I should have just killed Codename Duchess’ weaker legion when he started stalling the vendetta). I should still be able to easily achieve the latter by boosting my Wrath to 4 and buying a pair of cheap legions, of which there are plenty for sale, but that’ll still add up to just 35 extra Prestige (40-20+15). Killing that one extra legion might be crucial, damn it [damnation reference, classic. –Ed]. Even though Codename Duchess is yet to pay that darkness we agreed on (blaming bad tribute rolls), he seems to be otherwise holding up his end of the bargain. Should I turn against him? Sadly, I might not have enough time to escalate another vendetta.
Apart from boosting my Wrath I also decide to activate the Infernal Negotiations ritual to gain some extra Prestige from the bump of diplomatic activity between the other archfiends. I’m also eagerly waiting to be the regent next turn, since the event cards I’ll draw might be crucial in determining my strategy for the rest of the game.
Nothing to report except that I got a canton from The Magistrate via an event card. Still no legions or resources. I demanded Anonymoeba, and refused Beowulf’s insult and claimed vendetta on him. I raised my martial skill to 4.
Insults and demands have begun to fly. Baelygr makes a demand against me. It’s not clear to me what threat he poses and I need my tribute for combat cards so I refuse his demand. I let Anonymoeba know I almost have his darkness.
I create a second combat card on my slaves (-3 enemy melee) and demand some more tribute as my preparations are almost complete.
Baleygr has brought a demand against me, which would have been great news if my praetor, Vassago, hadn’t also been stolen this very turn! Since Baleygr has no legions to enforce his demand and he’s already involved in 2 vendettas, I doubt he’ll give me a chance to snatch that legion kill I so crave. Yet, I can’t afford to pay 4 tribute cards, so I’m going to refuse.
Sadly, the 2 event cards I drew as the Regent are completely useless in my situation. Another Conclave Token was drawn and I decide it’s about time to put some kind of pressure on The Magistrate. It’s not quite the conditions I’d hoped, but should he refuse my demand, I can take the long march east over the mountains with my main legion, or maybe try to destroy his weak personal legion with Destruction rituals.
Apart from that I proceed to boost my Martial Skill for more Wrath. I’ll be up to 4 next turn and will start investing on filling that legion quota. Also my Places of Power should finally start producing that sweet flow of Prestige next turn.
I have successfully stolen Vassago from Anonymoeba! Yes! And Beowulf has insulted me, giving me the chance to claim a vendetta of my choice on him. I’m fairly certain he’s the one who stole Morax from me, which means he has a formidable duelist, and the combination of my sluggish legions and his large army means I should not attempt direct military action. Even though he’s redirected his Hell Blades to Baleygr’s border, since Baleygr has refused his insult and claimed vendetta, I would still be outclassed in a straight fight. Especially because my attempt to march my Sons of Typhon into my stronghold so they’d pop out on the other side failed. The marching order was simply canceled. I’m not sure if this is a rule change from when I played long ago, or if it’s something to do with them only having a single movement point.
But, I have Vassago now and I have a vault full of manuscripts that teach special moves for duels. Vassago has high stats since he was awarded the Crimson Skull, and with the right moves he might be able to beat Morax, who is weak on defense. If I refuse Beowulf’s insult now and claim single combat vendetta, the fight won’t take place for another two turns (this is to give players a chance to buy a praetor if they don’t have one). So I could train Vassago this turn or even next turn, and he’d be ready for the fight. I could teach him Impenetrable Stance, a powerful defensive move, as well as Crippling Strike and some boosts to his infernal and defense stats. And if I do another Demand of Supplication this turn, I might get even more manuscripts to train him with. That’s probably a good idea, since I went on a spending spree with all my riches last turn. I’m particularly short on darkness.
All right then, I’ll do another Demand of Supplication followed by five tribute calls. Keep on buying my way to the top.
I raise my Charisma to 2 and refuse Codename Duchess’ demand, claiming vendetta against him. I’m still going all out on vendettas as I have no hope of winning anymore.
The time has come. I let Anonymoeba know his supplication is coming from me this turn and to expect the darkness it brings. Baleygr is mulling over his options after my refusal to concede to his demand, but by the time he makes a decision I will have destroyed Anonymoeba.
With my actions I declare Blood Feud against Anonymoeba and assign my praetor Abraxas to command my Slaves in battle.
WHAT!? Codename Duchess has the Playing for Keeps perk and has claimed a Blood Feud on me? His main legion is standing right next to my stronghold, armed to the teeth with combat cards (how did I fail to notice this?). I’ve no chance to respond since Codename Duchess acts first this turn. Dead, dead and dead.
How did this happen? I thought I had full intel on Codename Duchess’ perks through Dark Augury rituals and couldn’t in million years see this coming. Or can Dark Augury just reveal incomplete information? Some perks, but not all? Whatever it is, heads will roll for this, starting with my Master of Clairvoyance, the hunchbacked one voiced by Brother Theodore.
Oh my. Codename Duchess has claimed Blood Feud on Anonymoeba! How did he pull that off? Usually it requires winning no less than three vendettas against the same archfiend, unless… I check my notes, and see that Codename Duchess has only won two vendettas against Anonymoeba, which means he must have the Playing For Keeps perk. And that means he’s likely been planning just such a move for the whole game.
He’s got a legion in position to strike at Anonymoeba’s stronghold immediately, which will banish Anonymoeba to the Abyss. Then Codename Duchess can move in and take all of Anonymoeba’s old Places of Power. That’s not good, as it will mean lots of Prestige for Codename Duchess, and we’re already close. As a small consolation prize, Anonymoeba just demanded me, and I can refuse it with impunity since he’s about to die. Also Baleygr has just declared vendetta on Codename Duchess, so maybe he’ll move in even as Codename Duchess is destroying Anonymoeba. Hell has gone completely crazy.
In fact, Baleygr is already in a vendetta with Beowulf, who has just marched to steal a bridge from Baleygr and cut his territory in half. And I still have my own single combat vendetta with Beowulf to prepare for. Fortunately my new tribute haul has completed some more manuscripts. I’ve collected the third and final piece of Oath of Retribution, a powerful combat move, and the Rite of Flesh Rapture, which will boost my Cunning by two points (maxing it out at 6). So I’ll definitely cast that. I’d also like to steal Beowulf’s Grotesque Mask, both because I need to collect Unholy Relics to satisfy my secret objective, and because I’d like to get some Curses of Deceit of my own. Since I can use Ritual Masking now, I’m going to throw an Infernal Affliction ritual at Codename Duchess’ personal legion, since he’s about to take the lead. If successful, his legion will be damaged and I’ll earn a few Prestige points. I’ll also cast a Burnt Offerings ritual for more Prestige, and bid on the Bowl of Abject Darkness from the Bazaar so I’ll have another Relic on hand.
Lastly, I’ll train Vassago for his upcoming duel. My new Oath of Retribution move is awesome: if my opponent’s move does damage in the same phase that Oath of Retribution is used, the move is reflected back at him for triple damage. Timed correctly, it can devastate an enemy praetor. Plus I can add Impenetrable Stance, Crippling Strike, a Manual of Defense and an Infernal Manual. Vassago is going to be absurdly strong.
Anonymoeba sends a message to us all admitting his likely defeat and bringing my treachery to light. Baleygr has indeed claimed vendetta against me, we’ll see where that goes once Anonymoeba is cleaned up.
My legion’s final stats are as follows: HP = 9, level roll = 9, ranged = 9, melee = 7 and infernal = 3. Anonymoeba’s strongholds stats — taking into account bonuses from his supporting legions and penalties from my combat cards — are as follows: HP = 9, level roll = 3, ranged = 3, melee = 4 and infernal = 8. If I win the level roll bonus or if Anonymoeba wins the level roll bonus and it’s applied to infernal, I will kill him in round 1 of the combat. I don’t think there’s a scenario where I don’t kill him in round 2.
My legion has reformed. I march it into the bridge to be obstructive… we’ll see how it does against Beowulf’s Hell Blades who are defending the bridge. I equipped the Hellfire Ballista for funsies. Oh, and I claimed vendetta on Anonymoeba.
I stand on my ramparts, watching Codename Duchess’ army approach. My own legions will arrive too late to save me. My only solace is in the screams of my former Master of Clairvoyance on the torture rack, screams that will provide a small comfort as I am cast into the Abyss…
Victory! I won the level roll and defeated Anonymoeba’s stronghold in round 1 of the combat. Interestingly, Anonymoeba’s last orders did process and his legion actually took the stronghold back. Unfortunately for him I had already dismissed him to the Abyss and these efforts were futile. I now have exceptional opportunity for expansion. The are great swaths of empty territory and 5 Places of Power, including 2 strongholds (Kivah’s and Anonymoeba’s) ripe for the taking. For the moment The magistrate is actually in the lead by Prestige, but with all of these Places of Power available I have no worries about my future. I have never seen a game with so many deaths that eventually stabilized back to a Prestige race, but with the destruction of Pandemonium this is the only option for anyone (ignoring Power Behind the Throne and Kingmaker perks) [These perks, for readers who do not know, allow players to pick another player; if that player wins by Prestige, the player with the perk wins instead. –Ed]
With my 2 orders I aim to recapture Anonymoeba’s former stronghold and expand into the empty territory.
As expected, Codename Duchess has captured Anonymoeba’s stronghold, making Anonymoeba the second archfiend to be banished to the Abyss. Anonymoeba retakes it afterwards, but it’s too late to save himself from banishment. It’s down to just four of us now, and Codename Duchess is the number one threat.
But that’s not stopping Beowulf from being a pain in my demonic backside. He’s just cast a Curse of Deceit on my Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, which not only drains my Prestige for three turns, but also blocks its special ability during that time. So it no longer grants me an extra order slot, and I’m down to five orders per turn for the next three turns. What a jerk! To add insult to injury, I’ve failed to steal his Grotesque Mask, so he can keep earning those Curses of Deceit.
But my single combat duel against Beowulf will happen this turn, and Vassago is ready. He now has 15 attack skulls, 14 defensive shields, 7 infernal orbs, and 18 HP, along with the Oath of Retribution, Impenetrable Stance, and Crippling Strike special moves. Time to send him into the ring! I know that Beowulf will send in Morax, and I know which moves Morax has, since he used to work for me. Naturally, he’ll open with Rain of Brimstone, since it does three six-sided dice worth of unblockable damage. So Vassago will open with Oath of Retribution, which will reflect that back at Morax for triple damage. If Morax somehow doesn’t use Rain of Brimstone in the first phase and is therefore still alive, Vassago will throw up his Impenetrable Stance which creates a 12-damage “shield” for the rest of the round. Then he’ll hit with Crippling Strike, an Infernal Burst, and two guarded attacks. Morax is all offense and no defense, so he should crumple.
Now, normally I’d refill my coffers this turn with a Demand of Supplication and a bunch of tribute calls, but I’m not sure I can afford to be so inactive. I really want to steal Beowulf’s Grotesque Mask, and I should attach my new Bowl of Abject Darkness to my stronghold so it starts earning me Prestige every turn. Also the Bowl has been replaced in the Bazaar by the Key of Solomon, which grants +1 Diabolism. I currently have 6 Charisma and therefore 6 Diabolism, giving me absurdly good tribute, but the Key would boost that to 7 and let me keep an extra tribute card from every tribute call. So I would get even richer and have one more Unholy Relic to count towards my secret objective of owning six. I should bid on that this turn before someone else snaps it up.
That leaves me with only two order slots left (thanks for that Curse, Beowulf!), which means a Demand of Supplication isn’t worth it. I’ll just do two regular tribute calls, and hope to bring in better tribute next turn. And hope for some sweet revenge on that traitor, Morax…
I did kill Beowulf’s legion. Wasn’t expecting that. With so many vendettas how am I still alive? Speaking of vendettas, the one I claimed against Anonymoeba has been cancelled, because… hmm, what? Anonymoeba’s been banished to the Abyss? That means the Wood of Suicides and Kivah’s stronghold are up for grabs again. Maybe it’s worth another march east…
Next time: With Anonymoeba gone, how will the balance of power in Hell shift? What will happen when two highly skilled praetors — The Magistrate’s Vassago and Beowulf’s Morax — meet in the ring? And will Baleygr’s second chance to conquer the Wood of Suicides give him new hope? Stay tuned to find out!
EDIT: Read part 5 here.
Solium Infernum is available directly from developers Cryptic Comet.