Hell Or High Water: A Solium Infernum Diary (part 2)

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

Six archfiends are vying for the throne of Hell. In part 1, I described designing my archfiend(s), Rufus and Big Beak, who will focus on winning Prestige through praetor duels in the Arena. I took stock of my opponents, and decided that my top priority was to purchase the praetor Morax. Since I didn’t have enough resources, I used both of my order slots to demand more. Here is what happened.

Turn 2:

The first thing that greets me when loading a new turn is the turn log, which gives me a summary of events. I’m informed that Nameless ex-autocrat has conquered the Theater of Sloth, one of the neutral Places of Power. Baleyolfynn has conquered the Black Altar of Despair. Also, someone (I don’t know who) has purchased Temeluchas. Oh well; I could have bought him last turn, but my sights are set on Morax.

The turn log won’t tell me everything that happened, though, so I also need to look over the map. I close the turn log, and… oh.

Xaklyth didn’t go after any of the nearby Places of Power, instead marching his legion north, right up to my border. Also, Baleyolfynn’s monster legion, fresh from its victory over the Black Altar of Despair, is frighteningly close to my territory to the northwest. But these actions may not be as aggressive as they seem; Baleyolfynn’s legion emerged from battle on a random canton (hex) next to the Place of Power he conquered, which just so happened to be close to me. And Xaklyth is likely just cutting off my access to his territory, so he can set about capturing Places of Power without my interference. Still, it’s a little unnerving.

I’ve also received a courier message from Inquis. “Lucky you,” it says. “Far from where all the action’s going to take place.” Clearly, he sent this before two archfiends marched legions towards my borders. I suppose I should reply, and I decide to do so as Rufus. “Big Beak expressed a similar sentiment,” I write. “I will tell you what I told him: it depends on what you mean by ‘action’. –Rufus”.

Nothing else too important seems to have happened, so I look over the Infernal Bazaar again. Temeluchas has been replaced by Astarte, who is not a particularly strong duelist, so I’m not interested. There is still that manuscript teaching the Piercing Lunge combat move… is the archfiend who hired Temeluchas planning on doing some single combat duels? If so, they might try to buy this. So maybe I should bid on it? As a duke, my bids would break ties against my Marquis opponents. But I am trying to save up for Morax, so it might be best to hoard my resources.

Speaking of which, I take a look at my tribute haul. Unfortunately, while I get plenty of souls and darkness, I only get a single unit of ichor, which means I still can’t afford Morax. Also, most of my ichor is in single-value cards. Since I can’t use more than 8 cards for a single purchase, I may need to consolidate some of my ichor into a higher-value card, which will take up one of my order slots.

I guess that decides it. I put in another demand for tribute, and use my second order slot to consolidate some ichor into a 5-ichor card. Then I wait for my opponents’ turns.

Turn 3:

Once again, I’m greeted with the turn log. It informs me that my tribute consolidation is complete, and also brings another courier message from Inqius. It reads, “Seems like you are going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place with Baleyolfynn breathing down your back.” Yeah, thanks, guy. But then I remember that it takes a turn for courier messages to go through, so he actually hasn’t read mine yet, he simply sent another one straight away when he saw legions converging on my position. Perhaps Inquis is sending feelers out to see if we might jointly conspire against Baleyolfynn? I have no reason to trust Inquis, especially since I fear he’s got some scary perks I don’t know about, but I shouldn’t dismiss this out of hand. He’s reading Rufus’ flippant response now, so I decide to write back as Big Beak, who I’ve decided is more open to an alliance than Rufus is. I’ll see what Inquis says to that.

Continuing with my turn log, I’m greeted with some big news. Boewulf has hired the Gorgons! To afford such a powerful legion, he must have built up a lot of resources. Fortunately, his territory is far from mine. It looks like he will use the Gorgons to capture some tough Places of Power that are nearby. Still, anyone who controls such a legion is dangerous, so I will have to keep a close eye on him.

I also look at my tribute haul, and am pleased to see I got the last bit of ichor I needed. Excellent.

Scanning the map, it seems Baleyolfynn is now marching north, away from me. That’s not surprising; I figured his plan was to march around taking as many Places of Power as he can with his huge legion. Xaklyth, to the south, has also retreated; it seems he was indeed just trying to cut me off. I am feeling cramped though. What if Baleyolfynn heads for that Place of Power north of my stronghold? I’d soon be hemmed in. Perhaps I should march my legion to capture a few buffer cantons and make sure I have a way out?

I decide to march my legion to the northwest, and bid on Morax in the bazaar.

Turn 4:

Morax is mine! Now I can begin my glorious career as an arena master, as Morax crushes any and all opponents. This guy’s going to take me places:

Unfortunately, these other archfiends are being annoying. Xaklyth has demanded three tribute cards from me. Demands are the most common diplomatic action in Solium Infernum: an archfiend spends some Prestige to demand resources from an opponent. If that opponent concedes, then the archfiend has his Prestige refunded, and of course gains some resources. If the opponent refuses, then the archfiend loses the prestige but earns the right to claim vendetta. This is often the point of a demand. Vendettas are usually small-scale wars that last a few turns and have very specific parameters, like capturing a Place of Power from the opponent, destroying a certain number of the opponent’s legions, or capturing a certain number of his cantons. Vendettas can also be settled through single combat between praetors in the arena, instead of warfare; that’s how I hope to earn Prestige.

I’m not sure what Xaklyth wants from his demand. I have no Places of Power for him to capture. His legion outclasses mine, so he could defeat it in open battle, but he has just marched away from my border. Hmm. Inquis is also confusing. He’s just purchased another legion, The Sisters of the Flame. What does he want with more legions, when all his legions have reduced movement from his Slothful perk? And it looks like he’s actually been marching his personal guard around too, one canton per turn. He can’t seriously be considering military actions when his legions can barely move, can he?

Beowulf is making sense, at least. He’s marched his Gorgons northeast, poised to capture the Wood of the Suicides. Unfortunately, this will bring his Gorgons closer to my territory.

I have a bit of a problem now. What I’d like to do is make some demands of my own, so I can try to arrange a single combat vendetta, and have Morax melt an opponent’s face in the arena. But I need more Prestige in order to do this. It costs 7 prestige just to make the demand (I only have 10), and if my opponent refuses, then I’ll have to wager more Prestige on the arena duel. This is only worth it if I can wager a big chunk of Prestige, so I need to get more in the bank. Without any Places of Power, I have no regular source of Prestige, so I need other ways to earn it. My plan is to use another diplomatic action: the insult. Insulting another archfiend costs some Prestige, but if they accept the insult, then I’ll double the Prestige I spent. I’m hoping this can earn me enough Prestige to start arranging some praetor duels.

If the archfiend refuses my insult, then they are required to claim vendetta on me. The problem is that this means they can set the terms of the vendetta. So I can’t insult anyone who’s close enough to attack me directly, as they could crush my pitiful legion. I need someone farther away, who will either let the insult slide, or try claiming a single combat vendetta, which I will gladly accept as it will give Morax a chance to shine. There’s another problem though: if an archfiend has raised their Wickedness attribute to at least 1, they will be able to cast Destruction rituals that directly damage my legion, and they can win a vendetta that way.

So who to insult? I need to find an archfiend who’s out of military range but is unlikely to have Destruction powers. Xaklyth has just demanded tribute from me, and he’s got access to my border, so he’s out, and Baleyolfynn and Beowulf both have powerful legions nearby. The only ones really out of range are Inquis and Nameless ex-autocrat. Nameless hasn’t done much so far, just taken a single Place of Power near his stronghold, but I’m suspicious he may have some Destruction power. Inquis seems a safer bet.

Setting this up is going to require my focus, so I won’t have time for whatever shenanigans Xaklyth is up to. I concede to his demand, offering him a smattering of ichor and hellfire. I use my first order slot to insult Inquis, and my second to demand more tribute, since my coffers are a bit low after hiring Morax.

I’m happy with this plan. Soon, I’ll be able to throw Morax’s weight around and start winning some duels. What could possibly go wrong?

In part 3, find out what could possibly go wrong.

Solium Infernum is available directly from developers Cryptic Comet.

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