Welcome to my guide for the Campaigns!
Day 3 of the Thicket Moon, the 57th year since the Heartwood Massacre. My name is Ernest, and I am a Thistlewood of Ampost, one of the last refuges of the Halflings on Athla. I start this journal on the day that war has found us again. Refugees have washed up on our shores; our village is flooded with scared, war-battered people. Among them is Ham Binger, the legendary Halfling Hero, and the news he has brought will change everything.
New Heartwood is gone. The refugees bring wild tales of rampaging Orcs and Goblins. I cannot imagine what they must have been through. The refugees hoped to find a safe haven with us, but our Ampost colony is deeply divided along old family lines. With no central leadership and with thousands of people extra to shelter, we will be unable to withstand the attack many fear is coming.
Among the refugees is the legendary hero, Ham Binger, of the Order of Keepers. He calls for a council, hoping for a suitable leader to unite us.
The Peacocks, an old family respected for their quiet devotion to the Allfather, were the first to present a leader; the pious Roger Peacock. The Moonflower family, who had made their riches through trade, argued that they had more experience in the way of the world, and put forward the calculating Camille.
I represent our family, the Thistlewoods. We are builders, farmers, and watchmen, and I believe we need more than just an army. We need to change our ways, to stop sipping tea in our gardens while we gossip about the other families. The time has come for a new kind of Halfling: a race of fighters.
With three such conflicting personalities, the council quickly descended into chaos, with arguments and recriminations coming from all sides. Fearing that our squabbling could erupt into civil unrest, Ham Binger proposed a contest: the first family to successfully settle the mounth of the Serpentine River and build a realm large enough to protect our people, shall lead the three united Halfling families.
Players on map:
- Ernest Thistlewood (Halfling Warlord) (Player)
- Camille Moonflower (Halfling Rogue)
- Roger Peacock (Halfling Theocrat)
- Malzua of Shyndra (Draconian Sorcerer)
For research, I'd advise whatever a building Warlord needs, since you have some time and should make best use of it. I recommend War Effort, Training Regimen, and Garrison's Honor to have priority. Casting Points aren't a bad research either, but don't go to deep. You're gonna want Mounted Archer researched soon as well, so that's a nice route to go.
You start in an Outpost with a Stone Wall, and two full stacks, led by Ernest and Allie Thistlewood. There's a Spring of Life nearby, which you should clear turn 1 - if you're lucky, you'll get a Nymph to grow your army for free, but having a Fairy or Unicorn can be a good deal as well - the latter will give you a nice bruiser unit. Clear your surroundings - there's a Eldritch Pit over the bridge to your (north)west. Only exception is the Crypt, which is a nightmare for halflings. Getting a little bit more army will help, and it's honestly not worth losing a unit over.
When you explore around(east first is advised), you'll find a Reflection Pool showing a Heart of the Tropics, a couple of treasure sites you should clear, and you'll meet Malzua. She'll declare hostile intentions, so this is the right moment to capture that fortress. Clear the Spring of Life south of it, but I'd not advise to go further - that area is very open to attack, and you're going to defend a lot this scenario. Having Malzua's old fort is going to attract some attention already, but reinforcements from your throne can arrive in 1 turn, and it shields the rest of your lands sufficiently.
Note the Vault of Knowledge south of your capitol - you're going to want that, so that you can build Focused Vigorous Mount Mounted Archers in your Throne. You can build them at Bronze medal pretty quick, and they're pretty strong, as well as having a very nice 2 bonus, just like the ponies.
I recommend to use your starting settler fast - next(left) to the Lucky Cloverfield is a neat spot. I started every town by building Builders' Hall -> Laboratory -> Observatory, but in this case is could be a good plan to build a Store House first, as this town is the best spot for some Settler production. You're going to want 4 more settlers at the very least, and within 15 turns:
- One between the Crystal Tree and Ancient Ruins south of your Throne. Purpose is to build Enchanted Armor Stylite Phalanx, thought that'll take some time. Be sure to get the Vault of Knowledge in your Throne's domain though.
- One south of there, east of the Flowrock Quarry, in range of the Trading Post(the one over the river - use a Builder to build a bridge). Purpose of this city is Monster Hunters, who have Fireworks as their ranged attack, making them very strong against a large diversity of units.
- One in the Eastern Fortress that starts out owned by Malzua. This is your border town, and if the game goes late, can build Manticore Riders with Vigorous Mount.
- One south of the fairy dwelling, next to the sea. Able to get the Sunken City and build some Sirens. The one is the most optional, and if you choose to forego sea dominance, the one you leave out.
After clearing the east, go south - First there's an animal stack(and maybe a scoundrel stack) guarding an item sack, and a Fey Dwelling. Be sure to check it's south, since there are 2 roamer spawners there. You'll most likely be able to spot Malzua's domain there. Get a builder down south, and building a bridge will enable you to capture her city there.
This is a trick you're going to use a lot more - I advise having 2 builders minimum, research Advanced Logistics, and get some good roads down. You may need to respond quickly to threats, and it's always a good idea to be able to get your armies to the front lines as fast as possible.
Also, you'll want to build bridges - your enemies have ships, and as long as you're crossing by bridge, all they can do is look and spam your trespassing log. Counting bridges as connections, the (largest part of the) map can be divided into no more than 3 land masses.
Around this time, You'll meet Camille, to your south, and Roger, to your north. Both will give a bit of dialogue, and continue on their merry way.
You'll also encounter a new Hero, Clarissa Forges-Smythe, who's awesome. She's also got 2 Party Golems, which are Tier 3 units that are slightly stronger then the current Golem, and they also have Fireworks and Nourishing Meal. However, only Clarissa can repair them, so keep them with her.
At turn 25, Roger will betray you and Camille - he declares war on you, and Camille's Throne is razed. Her other cities go independent, and she'll cede to you, joining you as a hero. As a Rogue, she can learn Poison Knowledge, which works miracles with Focused Mounted Archers.
Allie will leave you, taking away her current items. It's strongly recommended you outfit her the best you can, since it's all a bonus for the next level. It's also advised to make sure she's level 6 (maximum hero level this scenario). You can have Camille take her stack, or just redesign your stacks.
Assert your defenses - make sure your Throne is defended, preferably by a unit or 6 and at least 4 adventurers, and the same base requirements for Malzua's old fort. You're going to need to reinforce it soon, since this most likely won't be able to defend here post turn 30, but your Throne should be building Focus Mounted Archers at a rate of 1 per turn now - If it's only 1 medal, so be it - you'll be needing them. The other cities can generally hide in the shade of those two. If you haven't captured Malzua's city in the south-west cornder of the map yet, do so ASAP - you need space to continue growing.
I'd advise to build at least one more settler right now - a couple of bridges will give you a very short route to Camille's old capitol, and it's always a good plan to have another city. It's got a Flowrock Quarry, so if you're ignoring my advice and going the sea dominance route(it can work, but it's not optimal in my opinion), This allows for a small HP boost to ships. Otherwise, it's an economical town.
The real war is starting now, and Roger and Malzua will get an alliance attacking you. Roger's forces mostly consist of more ships than you want to fight, along with some Shrines and random halflings - a mix of Crusaders, Evangelists and racials. Plan is to have him take himself out on the walls of your cities, which is most likely going to end up Malzua's Fort. There's also a big chance of some Naga attacking your Throne, but even a small garrison should be able to defend it - Halfling Adventurers have Monster Slayer, which makes them stronger than most 3-shot archers in this case. You're also likely to have some Mounted Archers close by, so use them.
When you feel confident that your garrisons can manage, research Freeze Water, and cross the river north. This will put you close to Roger's throne, which is most likely heavily garrisoned, but nothing 2 or 3 hero stacks with the aid of some Mounted Archers can't do. His leader is most likely close, or he might have just suicided on your city walls. Regardless, kill him so you can focus on the more dangerous enemy.
Malzua is likely to have gotten the Sage Empire quest - she starts large, and is a Sorcerer. If you're lucky, she gets some useless spells, but I've seen her get Summon Blight Elemental, which is a nightmare to every halfling. Should something similar happen, make sure you scout, and use a combination of Monster Hunters (Perferably Mercenary versions) and Mounted Archers to take them down. Furthermore, she'll be using quite some Apprentices and Elders with Inflict Stun, mostly supported by some Node Serpents and Draconian Flyers. Use Mounted Archers for the first, and your Phalanx for the second.
The offensive against Malzua is generally slow - she's much more mobile then you are, so you have to be careful she doesn't take her cities back from behind you. You can get a bit more speed by taking some builders with you to pave the way as you go it and build some bridges. As for the armies, apart from your hero stacks, a composition of Phalanx and Mounted Archers works like a charm. Some Warbreed aren't bad either. Eventually, she'll declare you've basically won, and she'll surrender to you, winning you the map.
The Path of the Serpent
With Roger and his Nagas defeated and Camille's concession, I have become the ruler of the Halflings of Ampost, but I have little time to celebrate my victory. Ham and my sister have traveled southeast along the Serpentine River to investigate troubling rumors that Karl Hushwick, another member of the Order of Keepers, is attempting to unlock the Seals of Power.
I'd heard tales of the Seals before of course, all Halfling children had. Mysterious structures constructed by Merlin to hold back a great and terrible evil. They turned up in so many children's stories, that everyone had thought that's what they were: stories. That they could be real, could actually exist and be on this Isle? It is unthinkable, but think on it I must.
Could the old rumor have been true? The Heartwood Massacre all these years ago, were they really looking for the Seals? Was my entire race brought to the brink of extinction for a fairy tale?
I will know the truth of this. I will raise an army, and move to offer support. The Halflings have stood isolated for long enough, it is time for us to take back our place in the world, before one of our own plunges it into chaos.
- First level of the Golden Realms Campaign.
- Next level: Into the Heart of Darkness
- Max Hero level: 6 (800 Experience)