• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

LWE

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Mini-AAR of this mod (https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=493257789). Apologies for the bad picture quality, I had no idea the compressor will create this "old TV" effect.

This is who we are:


Karga starts with a Red Dragon Nest next to his capital (complete with a hostile dragon), and has Regeneration on his dragons.


The lion mage sent his Ratmen and Goblin Archers to destroy the pillars of Ice Elementals and to scout, as the Red Dragon was pounding on the walls of his capital.


Planestriders from Fiataki massacre the Ratmen, and the Dragon destroyed the Goblin Archers. But the newly-discovered Shadow Bolts and the spells cast by Karga's capital towers pounded the dragon, causing him severe wounds. On the next turn after this screenshot, the dragon was no more.


After robbing a mausoleum for mana in the corresponding event, and completing the quest to build a harbor (they give a small population growth boost in the Renaissance mod), our scouts finally see evidence of another Great Mage being present in the area, who casted a Firestorm on local Wolves and Ice Elementals. It turned out to be Miralbus, the self-proclaimed Head of the Council of Mages, who had taken leadership of another Planestrider nation (as opposed to one up north in Fiataki). Miralbus was somewhat condescending, but quite gracious in teaching Karga some healing spells for gold.


SW of Miralbus' holdings lied the Naga realms of sinister Serpent Queen Zhora. No one, however, is sinister enough for Karga as to not to trade with them.


Another Great Mage, sophisticated and polite, ruled the cold Northern kingdom of Humans.


After Goblin troops, supported by Fireballs (although the reverse would be more accurate) annexed the independent planestrider kingdom of Fiataki, they've found the Water of Death spell after dealing with a Serpent Reef in the nearby water.


The Major-Foreman and his Artels offered their services to Karga, speeding up the process of preparing to build a Dragon Nest on the eggs.


Karga expanded his realm to the west and to the south.



The alliance with Miralbus revealed the underwords of Green Islands and Hellgates. The former sounded much more hospitable than the latter.


Miralbus somehow got hold of Elemental Regeneration, which he was willing to teach Karga for the secrets of the Water of Death.


Meanwhile, Miralbus and Zhora found the ice world of Snowy Wastes.


Karga decided to follow the warlike god Krolm, as news came about Tlalocian's Sylvans to the east to Reginald's Humans.


As Miralbus killed the monsters of the eastern forests, Karga's Fey Serpents looted their lairs.


To the east of the Sylvans there were domains of undead sorceress Circe, engaged in a war with Tlalocian.


Pearl Farms were a major boon to the gold necessary to sustain the Dragon Eggs, while trading with Circe provided Karga with some much-needed mana.


The whole of Ardania was surprised by the sudden generosity of Zhora the Serpent Queen. Maybe she underestimated the Dragonrider, considering him to be unable to make any good from his dragon breeding program.


Then the whole Ardania was horrified by the news of the Svarts' demise under the hand of an unknown enemy.


Circe had some success in fighting the Sylvans.


Karga looked at the first adult Dragon breeded by him (and Zhora's hoard of money, necessary to tame the dragon) with appreciation. Wasn't he a downright beauty?


The dragon running around the South Sea, boosted by the Elemental Regeneration, was a wonder to behold.


The magnificent beast had entered the Green Isles, as Karga met another Naga mage in the sea directly to the east of Zhora's realms.


To be continued...
 
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LWE

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The Major-Foreman easily repelled the spawned Dwemer invaders (the latter are not from the Renaissance mod).


In the Green Isles, the Red Dragon led a crusade against trolling.


The second newly-bred Dragon took a tour of the South Seas again.


While his brother banned trolls from the isles.


Miralbus fought well against Zhora, burning her Nagas to crisp.


But the two Red Dragons (I had three total at the time, with the third in the Isles) were too much for him.



The captured jackalopes were set free.


Despite Miralbus' Charmers trying their best, Miramola was incorporated to Karga's Empire.


But Mishtra, Miralbus' capital, was a tougher nut to crack. Miralbus' spells and Charmers killed one dragon, and reduced the other one to near death (the dragon on the screenshot has ony c. 5 HP remaining).


So Karga signed a truce with Miralbus, swearing to himself to better train his dragons.


And something else attracted his attention in the word of Snowy Wastes...


Gold eggs!
 
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LWE

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A Housecarl sent from Krolm burst into Karga's palace, announcing the message from his god, scaring the whole town.


In order to properly manage his expanding realm, Karga delegated Werewolf Barons as his representatives.


The Great Mage Council of this game. It's fun imaging all these characters at one table, although this was not the most funny combination of opponent mages I've seen in my games.

The Dragons, scouting the no-mans-land next to the underworld portals, spotted some lost artefacts.


The Snowy Wastes were inhospitable. Cold land and hot fire from its dragons made this land resistant to colonization.


At last, Grum-Gog's Champions were destroyed for Krolm's glory.


Of an even larger significance was the secret of Meta-Teleportation, found in an unassuming turtle creek in Green Isles.


While Reginald was showing Tlalocian the power of Firestorm...


the Gnome Settlers felt the far more benevolent power of Meta-Teleporting to the tropical paradise.


Karga was so focused on tropical colonization, he was willing to humour Zhora a little.


This, however, did not prevent the treacherous Serpent Queen from declaring war.


Drastic measures needed to be taken in order to repel her. Karga had to learn Krolm's runes from Reginald in order to defend his realm.

 
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LWE

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More dragons bred in the capital immediately fly to the front.


After some Naga battalions were burned to a crisp, the remaining nagas fled the theater.


Zhora, secretly furious at the failure of her troops, was forced to sign a white peace.


As Karga was equipping his dragons' claws with frost magic, the first dragon he trained on Ardania was still in the Isles, siphoning mana from Turtle Creeks and Oases of Life.


The second and the third dragons Karga trained meet in the air in the view of Zhora's Naga Youngs.


Miralbus' secrets of Mana Spring helped Karga to prepare enough mana for the Wastes expedition.


But even more important were the gem mines of Bearling, the new city in the Isles.


Still fuming at her loss, Zhora issued extravagant demands, which Karga felt forced to accept. It was not the time for another war with Nagas. The Snowy Wastes, strange as it may have sounded without context, were far more important.


Mana was so important to Karga, he sold Miralbus' Mana Spring secret to all other Great Mages willing to pay.


Finally, the three Dragons surrounded the portal to Snowy Wastes, as Karga was already preparing to cast a Rune of Wrath. Who knows what they might find there?

 
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LWE

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The Red Dragons of Snowy Wastes had no Great Mage to enchant their claws and cast runes, ensuring the superiority of Karga's beasts.


The local Golden Dragons, however, were more dangerous. One of the three Red Dragons sent by Karga was savagely killed by the gold-scaled beast.


Still, Krolm's Runes helped Karga to finally defeat the golden creature.


Knowing that Karga is busy with her dragons in the snow, Zhora made more and more arrogant demands, to which Karga reluctantly agreed. The operation to lay hand on some Gold Dragon eggs was too important to be interrupted by war with Nagas (which would require bringing the dragons back in order to defend).



While raiding a Giant Hall, the Dragons unexpectedly freed a Svart refugee who once served the Rune Witch, later wandering Ardania and the underworlds before being imprisoned by Ice Giants.


Karga welcomed Maksim Leithoff into his army, granting him the Clever Hat found earlier. Most likely fashioned by Miralbus himself, it now assisted the Svart in his mission to help his new lion master.

 
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LWE

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As Zhora and Miralbus also enter the snowy world, Karga's goal is finally reached: Gnome Settlers are duly teleported to Wolfdell, the City of Dragon Eggs.


Tlalocian was seemingly the only Great Mage to be alarmed at Karga's actions, sending his hordes of Koatls to Orcgate. This only resulted in the local Goblins adding a new dish - Roasted Koatl Scales - to theirtraditional repertoire.


Zhora and Rhin-ga-rook were more concerned with their stalemate of a war for the title of Naga High Chanter.


Snowy wastes. Polar giants. Runes. Dragons. Skyrim: the TBS.


Zhora finally attacked, capturing Geludurum.


But now the dragons could afford to be teleported back to Ardania.


Even the mighty Naga Gorgons were forced to retreat before Karga's dragons.


Meanwhile, Karga took opportunity of Rhin-ga-rook exploring the Elven underworld of Galathriel to summon a flying Serpent there. As the local Elves were singing sad songs of beauty and sorrow, the Serpents, supported by Karga's spells, proceeded to loot the underworld's treasures. As you can see, the Timestone was used to enhance the Rune spell (while the Stuff of Demons was given to Maksim the Svart).


With the help of mighty Talos Krolm, the Nagas were finally driven away from Geludrum.


However, it was not the time to relax, as Zhora, seeing that her attempts to dominate Ardania by mundane means failed, had started to cast the Spell of Unity.

 
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LWE

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Zhora's capital of Dro-go-rog was located south of Geludurum. On the land, it was guarded by ex-Great Mage Nicholas Frost.


Fortunately, selling spells to Great Mages and looting the melancholy elves of Galathriel finally allowed Karga to attract enough gold for a Golden Dragon.


On Ardania, a Red Dragon arrived just in time to stop an Elder Gorgon troop capturing Rar-o-Van.


But Zhora still had the will to fight. As her Naga hordes recaptured Geludurum, Karga understood that he needs to teleport Maksim himself away from Skyrim.


As the undead city was recaptured again, Nicholas Frost understood too late that his decision to join Zhora was a mistake.


Karga, who once had disdained the art of healing, had to learn it in order to defeat Zhora.


Miralbus, jealous of his formal position as Head of the Great Mage Council not amounting to much, joined the ranks of wannabe United Ones.


Geludurum was finally securely in Karga's hands.


Tremble, o the Great Mages of Ardania, for the Gold Dragons have arrived.


The Red Dragons have to retreat for a while from Zhora's capital. But the Gold one shrugs off the Naga queen's spells.


The result was inavoidable:


Circe had also had began her own rituals to reach Unity.


It didn't matter much. It now was Miralbus' turn to see what the Gold Dragons are capable of.


Miralbus' Charmers fight valiantly, killing off the two Red Dragons. But they couldn't kill the Golden one, helped by Maksim and Karga's healing.


On the way to Cerce's domains lay Tlalocian's Sylvans, who also needed to be exterminated. But Tlalocian's Koatl Hunters did the unthinkable: their poisoned darts killed the Golden Dragon just as he was finishing destroying Baronfell's fortifications. Than they went further, slaying Maksim himself, ending his adventurous life.


But even this was only a minor setback. Karga had enough gold by this point to train a new Golden Dragon, who finished the job with surprising ease.


In order to defeat Circee, Karga had to teleport Trolls, purchase the secrets of Fire Enchanting from Reginald to help the Dragon, and use the secrets of Nagas from the conquered capital of Zhora. Still, the lion mage was triumphant again. The undead queen was only halfway in her attempt to Unite when her capital was captured.



Amberon followed soon. Rhin-ga-rook was given the privilege of being destroyed with two Golden Dragons.


And then, it was turn to betray Reginald. His Stubborn Knights fought stubbornly, but even they had to eventually yield.


A final look at the underworlds. The Green Isles and the Snowy Wastes were expremely important for Karga's victory, while Galathriel played a secondary role as a source of loot.


And finally...



Thoughts:

The game felt a touch easier than vanilla Warlock games with my AI mod - the ability to have Red Dragon Eggs at your capital is quite powerful. I won somewhat earlier than I usually do. On the other hand, I got lucky in that out of 8 in-game AI's, I started next to two most peaceful of the lot. From my previous Renaissance game, I know that starting right next to Zhora would play out very differently.

Besides this, the underworlds were vital for my victory - Red Dragons alone were enough to conquer the worlds, but not to defeat the Great Mages. Had I started with no perks at all, or with weak perks, I probably would have lost to a Unity spell.

I wonder what would happen if I toggled the monster spawn rate to 2x. I've recently played some games in this setting, and they do feel quite harder, especially since the boosted AI doesn't suffer from it as much as it used to.

AI's prefers building the new fort-like temples to Krolm, giving them a mild tendency to move "up" in the religious tree.

Spell trading works in human's favor. Even when AI doesn't suffer from annoying "endlessly casting the same spell without finishing it" bug (although it was seemingly less present in this mod, it's quite intriguing why) the human can make better use of spells and resources traded to it by the AI than vice versa (definitely not asking anyone to remove spell trading, just an observation).
 
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Moridin997

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Pretty cool AAR. Thank you for sharing your experience :)


It's a shame this game has been left to gather dust :(

Maybe Warlock 3 (if it ever happens) will have a good enough AI to hook people and allow the genre to thrive...
 

davidwalsh

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Yeah, a pity that they didn't fix the AI bugs. Still, with my AI mod (this Renaissance mod uses the same method to buff the AI) not every Warlock game is automatically a win for me.
Hello LWE
Can you link to your AI mod
Thanks
 

Shidan

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I love it. Though I've still yet to finish a match with it on, that's more due to not being very interested in playing Warlock 2 lately. I'll be back though, it's how I've always been with Warlock. :)

But I think Chumley did a REALLY good job with it. He really went above and beyond with almost every detail in the mod. And managed to breathe a little life into this dying community.
I can only imagine what he would have come up with if he wasn't held back by the many restrictions of Warlock 2.
 
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