Infernal Medicine: Another Solium Infernum Diary (part 2)

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 of Infernal Medicine to get up to speed. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Six archfiends are vying for control of Hell. Four of them are chronicling their machinations here. Last time, Baleygr had rapidly expanded his territory but feared he could not muster the resources to take advantage of his perks, which strengthen his legions as his own archfiend’s power increases. Anonymoeba spent time growing his own powers, drew his first secret objective, and was racing Baleygr for access to the high-value Place of Power known as the Pit of Tartarus. The Magistrate was biding his time, trying to accumulate as much money as possible. And Codename Duchess had established early military strength, engineered a little war against Beowulf with the hope of eventually claiming a Blood Feud, and given the order to attack.

Here is what happened.

Turn 11:

Codename Duchess:

Victory! My planning worked out perfectly. The double combat card strategy hamstrung Beowulf’s legion, making easy work. Interestingly, it seems Beowulf believed I was bluffing with the combat cards. His legion attacked mine. It is possible to create combat cards that don’t convey bonuses, and theoretically intimidate opponents that way.

Unfortunately, to win the vendetta I also need to kill his other legion. Because Beowulf acted as the aggressor in the first battle it halted my legion’s movement. I can no longer reach Beowulf’s second legion in the required time. I will need to rely on lucky Destruction rolls and use the Infernal Affliction ritual to attempt to incinerate his other legion. I do have the Place of Power that grants a bonus of 2 to these rolls, but my base Destruction power is quite low. I only have enough hellfire to cast 2 such rituals so I attempt one ritual with my first order and demand further tribute with my second.

The Magistrate:

My turn log is full of news of my opponents. Anonymoeba has conceded to Kivah’s demand. Someone has hired the praetor Vassago, who has been replaced in the Bazaar by Bifrons. This is despite the fact that there’s still a tax on all Bazaar purchases, which will expire in two turns. And yet another Conclave token has been drawn, bringing us to 4 out of 15.

These are coming too quickly. I’ve managed to accumulate some money, but I’ve barely earned any Prestige, falling far behind my more militant opponents. Fortunately, I’ve just increased my Wickedness to 2, giving me more powerful Destruction rituals. I decide to aim an Infernal Affliction at the Gates of Hell, a Place of Power that remains neutral. This only costs me 1 hellfire and should net a few Prestige points. And it’s better than aiming at the Pit of Tartarus to the south, as it looks like both Anonymoeba and Baleygr have marched right up to its walls. Hopefully they’ll be distracted by that and won’t notice if the garrison at the Gates of Hell is damaged. I’m also thinking that I should hire the praetor Morax once the tax on the bazaar ends, and train him up with special combat moves so I can start some duels for Prestige. So I spend another order slot to bid on Impenetrable Stance Vol. 1, and my last order for a tribute call. Impenetrable Stance would be awesome for Morax as it would protect him from damage as he hurls unblockable infernal bursts.

Glancing around the map, I also see that Codename Duchess’ Iron Maidens have apparently killed Beowulf’s Chains of Torment. It looks like Codename Duchess has won his vendetta.

Anonymoeba:

My legion has reached the Pit of Tartarus, which shall mark the eastern point of my humble realm. Any attempts to circle northwards and try to enclose the swampy region within my territory would be risky: Baleygr’s legion is standing right on the opposite side of the Pit and can block my advance at will with his initiative advantage. Although securing access to The Magistrate’s border would have been nice in case he needs to be fried out of his comfort zone, the swampy chokepoints and lava flow cantons form a nice, (super)natural barrier. At least this should discourage Baleygr from trying his luck against me and concentrate on The Magistrate instead if he’s thirsting for war.

Next I’ll have to switch my attention towards claiming the Gates of Hell and cooking up some juicy vendettas against my dear neighbours, Kivah and Codename Duchess.

I also notice that my tribute rolls have been really strong and I’ve accumulated over 15 pieces of every resource. With the tax on minimum bids still in effect at the Bazaar, now would be the time to invest in my Charisma attribute. It’s a costly action: the transition from 3 Charisma to 4 costs 9 of every resource and I’ll have to waste an extra order (and wait an extra turn) to consolidate some tribute into one big heap to handle the logistics, but it’s almost certainly worth it, especially since we’re still early in the game.

Baleygr:

I now know that it is The Magistrate who purchased the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. He has displayed it for all to see in his stronghold which I find semi-revealing. Either he has desperate need of ritual slots, indicating low Intelligence, or he is unconcerned about theft due to a natural resistance (like the Paranoia perk). Or he is an idiot (see first possibility).

Anonymoeba is trying to escape my cage but I am blocking him with the Legion of Blood. I am unconcerned that he will take the Pit of Tartarus as he would lose miserably in the attempt at the moment. Once I have blocked his path I plan to march on The Magistrate. He will almost certainly concede to my demands but this will yield Prestige and resources, both useful, and lead to larger and larger demands in the future. Once he has finally refused me, and suffered my wrath, I will march north in a pincer action on Beowulf and pull the same maneuver. It is my hope that by this juncture I will have been able to afford an additional point of Martial Prowess which will improve my legion strength. The Hellfire Ballista could also make my slave legion nigh unstoppable save for strong Destruction (beware Codename Duchess, with his Destruction-boosting Place of Power), combat cards or praetors that make the infernal combat challenge happen before the ranged challenge, or the Wicked Wain artifact which negates ranged damage. It is my intention to eventually purchase a praetor that boosts infernal power to close one of those gaps, and if the Wicked Wain should appear in the bazaar, I will have to purchase it and hide it in my vault it lest it destroy my burgeoning strength.

Turn 12:

Baleygr:

I believe Codename Duchess is buying the praetor combat moves. Another one has just been purchased. He is the only one with a visible praetor. One other has been purchased, I think, but it is not deployed as far as I can tell. The Conclave tokens are being drawn extraordinarily fast, I intend to ask if this was spun as a short game rather than regular [Nope! Short games reduce the total number of tokens, there’s no change to the rate they’re drawn. –Ed]. 4 tokens in 12 turns!

I have made a demand on The Magistrate; we will see how he responds. He and Beowulf remain my best targets. Kivah is also appealing but difficult to reach. I may try it nonetheless, as taking territory on both sides of Pandemonium would allow me to prevent stupid tactics (deliberate excommunication strategies), though inevitably, everyone will think that is exactly what I am planning.

Codename Duchess:

My ritual has dealt average damage to Beowulf’s personal legion. They now have 5/8 health but also regenerate 1 health a turn, being next to a Place of Power that Beowulf owns. My tribute roll was not as lucky. Without excessive fortune my last ritual won’t be able to destroy his slaves. This is the last turn I have a chance to complete my objective.

The Magistrate:

My Infernal Affliction ritual aimed at the Gates of Hell misses. Drat. I need to get my Wickedness power higher if I plan to earn Prestige that way.

I’ve won my bid for Impenetrable Stance Vol. 1, and it’s been replaced in the Bazaar with Rite of Blood Vol. 3. I already own Vol. 2, so I should snap that up; with all three volumes I could perform the Rite and boost my Wickedness by 2 points, which would help with those Destruction rituals and earn me another order slot.

Baleygr is marching north towards me. I don’t know what he’s up to, but I’m not going to get distracted like I did last game. I’m focusing on money. Along with my bid for Rite of Blood Vol. 2, I put in two calls for tribute. I’m not sure why I’m no longer getting manuscript pieces with my tribute calls… I’ll make one of those calls a “Seek Out Curiosities” order, which encourages my minions to find manuscript pieces.

Anonymoeba:

After allocating my consolidated tribute to boost my Charisma, I’m turning my gaze westwards. Even though taking the Gates of Hell will be the first priority to finally secure a more stable prestige base, I decide it’s about time to finally put my Seer perk into use and find out what I’m up against. I’ll direct my first Augury against Kivah, who stands in the prime spot on my threat list and right after me in the initiative wheel.

Turn 13:

Codename Duchess:

My ritual has failed and the vendetta is over. I’ve lost the 9 Prestige I wagered and am no closer to being able to claim a Blood Feud. I did destroy Beowulf’s purchased legion and praetor Eligos, so perhaps he’s softened enough for a future win?

Both Kivah and Baleygr have demanded tribute from The Magistrate. Kivah is not actually close enough to enter direct conflict so perhaps he is proficient in rituals or has a dueling praetor hidden? A mediocre praetor was actually purchased last turn.

I don’t see any good aggressive options for the time being but there is still a significant amount of empty territory along one border. I can move both of my legions through this territory, thus increasing the prestige I will gain every 10 turns during the Infernal Census and get into position next to Baleygr. This will also bring my legions to the backside of Anonymoeba’s territory, bypassing the mountainous choke point that’s held me back so far.

Anonymoeba:

Finally, my Charisma is up to 4, and yet I only got four 1-value tribute cards and one 2-value card. No matter, the souls must flow! I still have some excess resources, and even though the Bazaar tax should end in one turn, I decide to invest them in boosting my Cunning to 3 – my increased flow of resources should help me to boost it up to 4 for that sweet extra order slot soon enough.

Both Kivah and Baleygr sent a demand against the Magistrate, an escalation of which I approve.

Speaking of Kivah, my loyal Master of Clairvoyance (definitely hunchbacked and voiced by Brother Theodore) has presented me the successful result of my Augury ritual: Kivah’s attributes are quite ordinary, 2 Martial Prowess / 2 Cunning / 3 Charisma. Considering he’s a Duke, he shouldn’t have any perks to speak of, unless he’s also gimped himself with negative ones. Anyway, that shouldn’t be anything I can’t handle.

Baleygr:

I did not get the ichor I needed, damn [damnation reference, classic. –Ed]. I got exclusively darkness and hellfire… perhaps I should reconsider boosting Intellect instead of Martial Prowess. Also, someone bought the Rite of Blood manuscript that was on offer. I suspect Codename Duchess as there seems to be a bent toward Destruction in that one. Also, I note that it was replaced by a volume of the Rite of Flesh Rapture.

I have moved the Legion of Blood to close off Amoeba’s path and put me close to The Magistrate. Interestingly, he was targetted by two demands in the same turn which will make it more difficult to concede to both; we shall see what happens. I have demanded additional resources from my minions, hoping for ichor and souls. If The Magistrate sends resources to me I will use the next turn to make a demand on Beowulf while demanding further resources from my own minions so that the turn after I can upgrade my Martial Prowess or buy the Hellfire Ballista as suits my needs.

The Magistrate:

I’ve received not one, but two demands. One from Baleygr, who asks for three tribute cards, and one from Kivah, who asks for four. They’re ganging up on me! Baleygr is a direct military threat, with his Legion of Blood hovering south of my stronghold, but Kivah is not. He’s across a chasm with no direct access to my territory. Maybe I can refuse him? The refusal would earn me some Prestige, and I’d hopefully have time to buy and train a praetor in case he tries a single combat vendetta. If not, I can blast him from afar with Infernal Afflictions. He could do the same, of course, but I don’t care if my legion is destroyed, I only care about losing territory, of which I have precious little. I also notice that Baleygr and Kivah are the two archfiends on the bottom of my threat list, meaning it will cost extra to throw rituals at them. Sigh.

Alright, it’s decided: I refuse Kivah’s demand, but concede to Baleygr’s. Unfortunately, most of my tribute cards are pretty nice, since I have high Charisma, so I’m loath to give them to him. But my high Charisma also means I’ve got extra manuscripts that I don’t care about, like Infernal Training Vol. 1 and Melee Training Vol. 1, both of which boost legion strength. He can’t even use them unless he finds the second volumes of each, and if I’m lucky, he won’t even notice that I gave him manuscripts since they’ll simply arrive in his vaults unannounced. I’m guessing from his rapid expansion that he hasn’t been trying to collect manuscripts and may not even check for them in his vault. I put both of the manuscripts in my offer and finish it off with a card worth 1 ichor.

Now that that’s over with, I look through the rest of the turn log and see some stunning news: Codename Duchess has failed in his vendetta against Beowulf! How? I’d assumed Codename Duchess had won several turns ago. What were the terms? Was he trying to kill both of Beowulf’s legions? I look at the map and see that Codename Duchess’ Iron Maidens and Beowulf’s personal legion are both damaged, suggesting they’ve been throwing Destruction rituals at each other from afar. I guess Codename Duchess just ran out of time.

What else? I’ve won my bid for the Rite of Blood Vol. 3, which has been replaced by the Rite of Flesh Rapture Vol. 2 (a Rite that boosts Cunning). But I still don’t have any manuscript pieces in my own tribute; all my “Seek Out Curiosities” order got me was some sub-par regular tribute cards.

There are a few things I could do now. Soon I’ll have enough resources to boost my Charisma to 5, which will probably be worth it in the long run, especially if I want to get more manuscripts. But I’ll need to boost my other attributes soon. Since Kivah may claim vendetta on me, I’ll wait on doing that for now. I might need my hellfire for Destruction rituals. And I do want to buy Morax next turn when the Bazaar tax expires, so I’ll need to be sure I have enough ichor for that. So I decide to put in two tribute calls, and bid on the Rite of Flesh Rapture Vol. 2.

Turn 14:

Codename Duchess:

It seems The Magistrate is not perturbed with Kivah’s unknown potential. He paid off Baleygr but not Kivah, I wonder if Kivah will bite. Regardless, it’s time to poke Baleygr and see if I can draw him into conflict. His legions are nowhere near his Place of Power that’s closest to me.

The Magistrate:

My responses to my opponents’ demands have gone through. Since I conceded to Baleygr, he can’t make another demand for 3 turns. Kivah will see my refusal this turn and decide whether or not to claim vendetta. He’s purchased the legion known as The Fallen, although I’m not sure how they could attack me from across the chasm. I notice that they’ve been replaced in the Bazaar with the Legion of Woe, which is notable for having three movement points instead of two. My legions are slothful, with one less movement point, so any legions with extra movement are especially useful. But I care little for legion strength at the moment.

I’ve won the Rite of Flesh Rapture Vol. 2 manuscript, and it’s been replaced by Impale, a single-volume combat move for praetors. I’ve also finally received a manuscript in my own tribute: the Machine of Omens Vol. 1. If I can get all four pieces of that, I can build the Machine and reduce every other archfiend’s Intellect attribute by 2. I’m also regent this turn, which means I draw an event card. This time it’s Infernal Perfidy, which forces all legions to pass a loyalty check or be destroyed. Personal legions have unquestioning loyalty, so it would only affect legions purchased from the Bazaar. In other words, every archfiend except me.

But, now that the tax on the Bazaar is over, I want to hire Morax and buy Impale. I can send him to fight Kivah’s champion if he claims a single combat vendetta. Doing so will clear out my reserves of ichor, however, so I’ll need to put in a tribute call as well. So I’ll wait on playing Infernal Perfidy until next turn.

Anonymoeba:

The bazaar tax has finally ended and I decide to go shopping for my military needs. I put a bid on the Legion of Woe – a light cavalry unit riding on tentacle monsters. It has 3 move points, which is an excellent tactical edge in the vast, flat dust steppes of Hell. Also its combat capabilities are good enough to grab the Gates of Hell with the help of my main legion.

I notice that Kivah, who’s still under my scrutiny, has boosted his Cunning to 3. He’s also bought a new legion, presumably to finally conquer the Wood of Suicides. The Magistrate refused Kivah’s earlier demand and I’m curious to see what he’ll do in response.

Baleygr:

Someone purchased the Rite of Flesh Rapture Vol. 2. I got all of 1 ichor in my tribute. I can now increase my Martial Prowess, but have no reason to. The Magistrate conceded to my demand, so I will demand more next time (4 tribute, then more tribute, then that damn Pseudomonarchia Daemonum that’s granting him an extra order slot) if he doesn’t fight me. If he does fight me, I’ll kill him.

I have made a demand on Beowulf. I want his Place of Power. If he concedes, I’ll get resources; if he denies me, I will increase my legion’s stats with both the Hellfire Ballista and a point of Martial Prowess (thanks to my Master Archer and Master of the Sword perks) and stomp his futile resistance into the ground. I’m apparently grumpy this morning.

Nothing else to report. I demanded tribute as second action. If I get a lot of souls and a few more darkness, I’m going to do a mass boost of my Intellect attribute to get my extra order slot. I’m shy by 4 darkness and 13 souls. The extra order slot will go a long way. It depends on whether or not I’ll be in a vendetta with Beowulf two turns from now.

Turn 15:

Baleygr:

This one took a lot of thought. Codename Duchess made another demand of me. I deeply considered denying his demand and taking him to task but I have a feeling he simply wants to cut a swath through my territory to access those he cannot access right now. If I engage him now, I will lose a Place of Power and my territory will be bisected. On the flip side, he would lose a Place of Power of his own, of which I’m in striking distance, to achieve those goals. The overall Prestige per turn for both of us would have remained exactly equal. On top of that, I would have taken his Destruction bonus. That being said, I would have given him access to all the other players and allowed him to get fat on their carcasses given his starting legion’s high strength and the praetor he is using. I may not have been able to recover from that so I have bought myself several more turns at the cost of giving him 4 hellfire. I will not appease him again however; I will fight him, and win, next time.

I have purchased the Hellfire Ballista and increased my Martial Prowess by one more point, which also strengthens my legions due to my Master Archer and Master of the Sword perks. We will see how Beowulf responds to my demand next turn. If he challenges me I will win and that will push me ahead. If he sends me resources, I will use them to boost my Intelligence while demanding resources and moving into position to take the Pit of Tartarus. I would like to bolster my Legion of Blood with the Banner of the Flayed Apostate artifact and the praetor Gusion. Taken together they would contribute greatly to my power by enhancing the legion’s resistance to rituals, giving it the ability to do infernal damage on a successful melee contest (highly likely, given its high melee stat) and providing me with the opportunity to acquire Curses of Wrath, useful in managing my opponents. It will take many more turns (barring a miracle) to get enough ichor for another point in martial prowess but that is my next target, getting intelligence up along the way.

The Magistrate:

Codename Duchess has demanded Baleygr, which isn’t that surprising. For his part, Baleygr has demanded Beowulf. I notice that Codename Duchess and Baleygr are poised to strike at each other’s tails. I’m guessing Codename Duchess saw a poorly defended Place of Power in Baleygr’s territory, but forgot to watch his own back. We’ll see what happens.

Besides, there’s far more important news: Kivah has declared a single combat vendetta on me. We must each provide a praetor and plan out their combat moves (trying to guess what the other will do) within two turns. Fortunately, I’ve won my bid for Morax, so I can send him into the ring. I’ve also won the manuscript for Impale, a special praetor combat move, so I can train Morax with it. Normally, Morax doesn’t have any attack power at all, instead relying on his infernal bursts to damage enemies, but I happen to have a couple of manuals of attack in my vault, which will grant him some physical attack power and let him use the Impale move. Fortunately I can train him with several manuscripts in a single order, so I have him study my two manuals of attack, the Impale move, and an infernal manual for good measure. With my other two order slots I demand more tribute.

I also need to remember to play my Infernal Perfidy event card, which will destroy hired legions that fail a loyalty check. My opponents all seem to be trying to start vendettas with each other, so I’ll wait until they declare war and then play the event to ruin their plans.

Codename Duchess:

Kivah has declared vendetta on The Magistrate, to be decided by single combat of champions. At the same time the praetor Morax has been purchased. Morax is an excellent duelist focusing on blasting the opposing praetor with infernal power. This is useful because it bypasses the somewhat confusing and more head-game-based attack and defense stats that praetors have. I wonder if Kivah purchased it with forethought or if The Magistrate anticipated Kivah’s plan.

As for my own affairs, while Baleygr must consider the demand I made against him, he has sent his own demand against Beowulf. It’s a shame it appears I’ve softened Beowulf up for someone else. Anonymoeba has purchased a second legion, making it seem that his initial dormancy is now over. His new legion also has 3 base movement, which is rare. There isn’t much open territory for it to use but I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever go after him. I will use my orders to take up some more neutral territory and get closer to Baleygr.

Anonymoeba:

Kivah and The Magistrate will resolve their dispute with a good, old-fashioned Duel of Champions. Apart from providing bread and circuses to prevent the infernal population from eating each other out of boredom, this event shall also be useful for finding out which praetors Kivah might have available in future vendettas.

I’ll move my freshly hired tentacle-powered cavalry to grab a free lava flow canton in my northeast border. They’ll be in a position to do a coordinated assault with my main legion against the Gates of Hell next turn.

Turn 16:

Baleygr:

OK, this one is a bit scary. I’d like to make a demand of Anonymoeba and get some victories for my Legion of Blood so it can hopefully level up and become a bit more resistant to Deceit. I also would like to make a demand of The Magistrate next turn. That being said, in two turns Codename Duchess can make another demand (or is it three? I don’t understand the rules for this and I have spent 2 hours trying to get an AI to consent to a 1 tribute card demand in a single player game to test it without success; I have to assume two turns for safety purposes). I cannot grant the demand when it comes given that he will be able to 1) demand anything he likes and 2) declare vendetta even if I acquiesce. That means he will almost certainly make the demand on the turn after next, it will be delivered the turn after that and I will decline, the following turn he can declare vendetta and the turn after that he can attack. That means on turn 21, he’s coming for me. I think, if I don’t engage, he will take the Black Altar of Despair and a bridge across my map-spanning territory to enable interactions with other players. At the same time I can, should I choose (and provided I am positioned correctly), take at least the Summit of Mount Erebus if not the Garden of Infernal Delights during his attempt. This will even out the Prestige math. I am also considering taking the still-neutral Pit of Tartarus. It will dramatically accelerate my Prestige gains, at the cost of making me target number 1. But the well positioned strong point (plus the opportunity to level up my legion) is extremely appealing.

I will understand wait periods better next turn. It will be turn 17, three turns since I received news of The Magistrate’s concession to my demand. Given that he is a Duke and I am a Marquis, there was a three turn waiting period. Whether those three turns include the notification turn (turn 14) or not will be clear, as I can check if I’m allowed to make another demand yet or not.

For now, I have decided to make a demand of Anonymoeba. If he concedes, I will crush one or more of his legions with my Legion of Blood. I am bringing my slave legion up for support. I will also make a demand as soon as possible on The Magistrate, as a refusal would allow either of my legions to kill his one weak legion, and a concession would allow me to demand more in the future and bring me one step closer to vendetta by appeasement. My first demand will go out next turn. I will receive a response on the following turn (turn 18). I’ll either get to attack or roll in tribute from Anonymoeba. I will then have three turns to complete my business in the region and prepare for Codename Duchess’ onslaught. The following turn or the one after will bring a response from The Magistrate which will hopefully allow me to get another victory in. We shall see.

Anonymoeba:

Although it seems strange to march on The Gates of Hell this early in the game, it’s time to conquer my first Place of Power. I order my personal legion into position to offer battle support, and then give the Legion of Woe the order to attack.

Codename Duchess:

Well, it seems Hell will stay relatively quiet. Beowulf conceded tribute to Baleygr, and Baleygr to me. Another good dueling praetor, Haagneti (focused on physical combat) has been purchased. It will be interesting to see how the duel between The Magistrate and Kivah turns out. Baleygr seems very focused on getting vendettas on his terms, perhaps I should continue moving north towards Anonymoeba. I ask for some tribute from my minions and demand more from Anonymoeba.

The Magistrate:

Morax’s training is complete. He now has 8 attack skulls, 7 defensive shields, and a whopping 18 infernal orbs, as well as the special move Impale. That’s some serious clout! But he still only has 8 health, so I’ll have to be careful. An enemy praetor could still take Morax out with a couple of lucky hits.

It’s time to choose Morax’s moves for the fight. There are four basic combat moves: attack (1-5 skulls), block (1-5 shields), guarded attack (1-4 skulls and 1-4 shields), and infernal burst (3 infernal orbs). A combat round has six phases, and I must choose a move for each phase (or leave it blank), distributing Morax’s skulls, shields, and infernal orbs accordingly. Skulls deal damage if they outnumber the opponent’s shields in the same phase (the damage is the difference, so 3 skulls vs. 2 shields deals 1 damage), so I have to anticipate when my opponent will choose to attack and block. Infernal bursts are different; they deal 1-6 damage to the enemy and can’t be blocked. But they leave Morax vulnerable to attack, because he can’t block at the same time.

But Morax has a trick up his sleeve: the special move Impale. This move can take 1-4 skulls and 1-6 shields, so it’s like a souped-up guarded attack, but it has an extra advantage: if it hits — meaning the opponent’s assigned shields are less than the skulls I assigned to Impale — then the shields I assigned to Impale also deal damage, if they outnumber my opponent’s assigned skulls. It’s basically a hedged bet. If my opponent attacks that phase, I’ll block it and still deal some damage of my own. If my opponent blocks instead, they might stop me, but only if they use a lot of shields; otherwise I’ll hit them even harder. And if my opponent tries an infernal burst, then I’ll deal an absurd amount of damage: all of the skulls and shields assigned to Impale will hit for a maximum of 10 damage. That’s enough to kill some praetors straight off.

Unfortunately, I don’t know which praetor(s) Kivah has. It could be Barbatos, Eligos, Vassago, or Haagenti, who was just purchased this turn. But they’re not that different in terms of dueling stats. Most of them are focused on attacking and blocking; only Eligos has enough infernal orbs for an infernal burst. My general strategy against any of them would be the same: try to use Impale and guarded attacks when I think they might attack Morax, and hit them with infernal bursts at all other times. After some deliberation, I decide to use Impale straight off, and assign it the maximum of 4 skulls and 6 shields. That leaves Morax with 4 skulls and 1 shield left over, so I put those into a guarded attack in phase three (which is just a guess). The rest of the phases I fill up with infernal bursts, which still leaves Morax with six infernal orbs left over. I should get him some infernal-based special moves to fully take advantage of his massive infernal power.

I still have to decide what to do with my order slots this turn. I got Ranged Training Vol. 2 in my tribute this turn, and the first volume is available for sale in the Bazaar. That would let me improve a legion, and if I buy it it will be replaced by another manuscript that may be useful too. Looking through my vault, I see I have enough resources stockpiled that I could boost my Charisma to 5, to rake in even more money. I’ll have to consolidate some tribute to do it, so I spend an order on that, bid on Ranged Training Vol. 1, and make a tribute call.

Turn 17:

Baleygr:

All right, so the three waiting turns included the notification turn, and I have brought another demand before The Magistrate. I have also moved my personal legion closer the the Pit of Tartarus. Someone bought the Ranged Training manuscript; I wish I had gotten it. I’m being hamstrung by my lack of additional order slots. I need to take a break and boost my Intellect following this round of demands.

There is a Maneuver Training manuscript on the market that I am interested in acquiring, in addition to the Infernal Training manuscript. First though I will go for Intellect, use the extra order slot to get ichor and then continue my push for martial prowess. Not much more to report.

The Magistrate:

Morax wins! But only barely. In fact, it literally came down to luck. A praetor’s luck stat can confer a small bonus in each combat phase (indicated by a golden clover), and Kivah’s champion Haagenti got lucky in the first phase with his block. He only assigned three shields but got two luck, bringing his defense to 5. This is enough to block Morax’s Impale attack. But, since Haagenti only actually assigned three shields, and Morax assigned four skulls, the special Impale ability still triggers, and all six of Morax’s shields deal damage.

In phase two, Morax’s infernal burst hits for 5 damage, which is pretty good. But Haagenti chose a guarded attack that phase, and Morax has no defense when hurling infernal bursts. And Haagenti got lucky again, his four skulls augmented by two luck for a total of 6 damage to Morax. Morax is down to 2 health, and Haagenti is down to 3 health. The next phase is decisive: both praetors choose guarded attacks, but this time Haagenti doesn’t get any luck bonus, and Morax does. The single point of luck brings Morax’s defense value to 2, which means Haagenti only deals 1 damage to Morax and Morax survives. That same point of luck boosts Morax’s attack value to 5, enough to overwhelm Haagenti’s two shields and deal 3 damage, just enough to kill him. I breathe a sigh of relief; that could easily have gone much worse. Morax levels up after his victory, and I can choose to increase his shields by one, his infernal orbs by two, or his health by one. I choose the health, since he’s still alarmingly fragile.

I look over my turn log to see what else happened. My opponents have been busy: Codename Duchess and Baleygr have both demanded Anonymoeba, who has just conquered the Gates of Hell. And Kivah has finally captured the Wood of Suicides, which he’s been trying to do for a while. The Pit of Tartarus is now the only neutral Place of Power left. My plan to gain Prestige from blasting neutral garrisons with rituals is probably not going to work out. I’ll have to get more aggressive with my neighbors if I want to earn Prestige.

But I shouldn’t lose my focus on getting rich. I’ve consolidated the tribute I need to raise my Charisma to 5, so I’ll do that this turn. I should also demand more tribute, taking advantage of the new boost. That leaves one order left. I could try buying another manuscript, but I don’t have enough ichor left, so I decide to demand Baleygr instead. If he refuses, I can send Morax into the ring again for some Prestige.

Anonymoeba:

Kivah’s champion, Haagenti, was defeated in the Grand Arena by Morax, representing The Magistrate. Hmm.. The Magistrate and Morax, is that deja vu? Must be one of those extradimensional anomalies my great-great-grandfather, Grandmagister Amoebus (nowadays bathing in the purifying hellfire), kept going on about during his fits of blathering insanity.

Anyway, the Gates of Hell are mine, but I’m presented with a much more curious development: Both Codename Duchess and Baleygr have made demands against me. Looking at the map, Baleygr is in a bad position to strike against me, so I’m assuming he’s either just testing the waters in between putting pressure to the Magistrate, or he actually has some kind of a dirty trick up his sleeve I can’t fathom. Codename Duchess has managed to build up a monster of a legion though, which I’m sure he’s more than confident to send against me since I’ve nothing that could face it in a straight fight. But who’s speaking about a straight fight? My two legions have great mobility: my main legion can cross mountains with its mountain walk perk, and my cavalry has 3 movement points. I have access to Codename Duchess’ territory from both north and south, and with the right positioning I can counter-attack against him from a direction where his slow, brute-force legion can’t respond.

Kivah has finally conquered the Wood of Suicides. I’d like to take it from him, but it will have to wait — I’ll refuse Codename Duchess’ demand and see how it goes. I’ll also cast an Augury ritual on him to minimize the chance of any nasty surprises.

At first I thought about refusing Baleygr’s demand as well, but decide to play it safe in the end and muster up the 3 tribute cards he asked for. I’d rather avoid an escalation with him, maybe this way he’ll concentrate his war effort against my presumed arch-nemesis, The Magistrate.

Turn 18:

Codename Duchess:

Well, it seems I will get another shot at glory. Anonymoeba conceded to Baleygr but not to me. I’m not sure if I should be offended…. I have also been the target of a Dark Augury ritual. This can reveal the contents of my vault, any relics I control, my stats or secret powers. This is concerning because I very much want to keep my Playing For Keeps perk (which lets me declare a Blood Feud after two vendettas instead of three) a secret. There’s no way for me to know what was learned and I even failed to determine who it was that might know. I suspect either Anonymoeba due to our impending vendetta or The Magistrate in his Ivory Tower.

While legion to legion I am not at all concerned about Anonymoeba, several combat bonus artifacts have been purchased recently. Luckily I won one myself this turn. The Rod of Haruspex will shore up the weak infernal stat of my legions and deals permanent health damage to any legion or PoP I attack. This could make future victories that much easier.

Baleygr continues to look for a Vendetta of his own. He has again demanded The Magistrate.

Anonymoeba:

Well this is interesting: my Augury has revealed Codename Duchess’ perks and the only one he has is Obscure, which lowers his tribute quality but gives him more points to spend elsewhere during avatar creation. His starting legion’s strength implies decent starting attributes, but this would mean that he did most likely start with a 4 in one attribute.

Codename Duchess started moving his legions towards the bridge to my south, so he seems to be aiming for the Gates of Hell. This is excellent, since it leaves his two juicy Places of Power to the north completely open for taking, so I’m going to march my main legion to the mountains, where they’ll be in a striking distance against Codename Duchess’ Summit of Mount Erebus next turn, right when the vendetta should start. Codename Duchess shouldn’t have a chance to respond because of my initiative advantage, unless he sees it coming. The Legion of Woe shall remain in reserve near my stronghold for now, healing and getting ready to respond to anything unexpected. I might use it later to either defend the Gates of Hell or move northwards through the mountain pass, whichever shall make more tactical sense.

Also as a stroke of good fortune to my dawning war effort, my usually worthless but occasionally useful minions have brought me the first half of a manuscript of Infernal Training as tribute. The second half happens to be on sale in the bazaar, which I’m going to acquire along with an inexpensive artifact that should synergize well with infernal-wielding legion: the Banner of the Flayed Apostate.

Baleygr:

I’ve chosen to spend my orders this turn gathering resources and boosting my Intellect from 0 to 1. Next round I’ll get a reply to my demand on the Magistrate, either 2 concessions in a row or what I hope is an easy fight. Anonymoeba conceded to my demand. We’ll see what happens next round.

The Magistrate:

That accursed Baleygr has demanded me, just before I demanded him; his took precedence and mine has been canceled. He’s asked for four tribute cards. I’m inclined to refuse him, and gain the 7 Prestige he spent on the demand. Besides, if I keep conceding, he’ll just get to ask for more and more each time, and eventually get to claim vendetta on me anyway. The problem is that his legions clearly outclass my pathetic personal guard. One thing I could do is buy the Orb of Oblivion and put it on my guard, turning them into a suicide bomber. But I think Baleygr could still win a vendetta even if I take his legion out this way. Another option is to hire the Sons of Typhon, a powerful but slow legion that’s been on offer for the whole game. Since all of my legions are slow, it won’t really be a problem. The only issue will be the fact that the Sons of Typhon demand 2 hellfire every turn, or they return to the Bazaar. But I’m The Magistrate; I’m overflowing with cash. Especially now that my Charisma is up to 5.

Except, my minions only brought me 1 ichor in their offering this turn, so I don’t have enough to hire the Sons of Typhon yet. Hmm. OK, how about this: since my Charisma is 5, I can now cast the Demand of Supplication ritual, which greatly increases the quality of tribute I get from any tribute calls that turn. But on the following turn, I won’t be able to demand any tribute. I think that’s OK; next turn Baleygr will receive my refusal of his demand, and I can hire the Sons of Typhon and move my personal legion north, out of the way. My third order could be a Wickedness boost, so I can hurl more powerful Destruction rituals at Baleygr. Or no, wait! My third order should be to play my Event! The Infernal Inquisition has a chance to destroy any legion that was hired from the Bazaar, so it may eliminate Baleygr’s Legion of Blood that’s threatening my border.

All right, that’s decided. This turn I cast Demand of Supplication and make two tribute calls. Next turn, things will go down.

Turn 19:

Codename Duchess:

Lucky Baleygr? The Magistrate has refused to concede tribute. I am concerned for Baleygr at this point as I fully expect his legion to be annihilated from afar. While I don’t have much sympathy, it means there won’t be a legion for me to kill later. Although his Places of Power might be even more poorly defended.

I have been the target of another Dark Augury. This time I resist its effects and detect that it was Beowulf. Perhaps he is attempting to discern if I would be a good target for his aggression? Unfortunately it is also possible that someone with high Deceit power could have framed him…

With my praetor and the Rod of Haruspex, I am confident in my Slaves’ conquering power. They have 9 ranged, 9 melee, and 7 infernal. As well as a +6 level roll for a random combat bonus. However I have completely ignored Anonymoeba’s ability to walk over the mountains along his northern border and capture my Place of Power that grants a bonus to Destruction rituals. It seems a trade is in order. While the Place of Power that I stand to gain is worth one more Prestige per turn, I will be giving Anonymoeba — an unknown quantity — more Destruction-based power.

Anonymoeba:

The vendetta is on and apparently Codename Duchess didn’t expect my counterattack. I should be able to easily conquer his Summit of Mount Erebus this turn, unless some other archfiend interferes.

Also, The Magistrate has refused a demand Baleygr made last turn, which could lead to a real clash between the two. Finally!

Baleygr:

Well, things took an unexpected turn. The Magistrate refused my demand and I have claimed vendetta. This has, however, left me in an awkward position, as he will go first next turn. He’s been sitting quietly for the entire game and may have several nasty tricks up his sleeve. I have 4 turns to satisfy my vendetta so I have chosen to maneuver out of his range for the next turn after which I will know what he had planned and I will be able to go first for the rest of the vendetta.

Meanwhile, Anonymoeba’s mountain walkers have tried to blockade me from pushing through back to my original territory, so I have taken the opportunity to head that attempt off at the pass (excuse the wordplay). Someone bought the Infernal Training manuscript that I wanted, an unfortunate turn of events. I suspect The Magistrate. The Banner of the Flayed Apostate was also purchased which could make for nasty battles when paired with a high infernal stat. Meanwhile I have the Hellfire Ballista up my sleeve, which I have not deployed for prying eyes to see yet. I chose not to deploy it this turn as I would have given away the advantage of surprise while not being able to act first. I will stay out of range next turn and deploy my weapon. If I can win, get a level and then defend for a bit while I boost my Intellect to 4, it would be a great stroke. Also, I’ve managed to take 4 additional cantons with my maneuvering this turn so I anticipate an exceptional windfall of territory-based Prestige on the next turn from the Infernal Census.

The Magistrate:

Oh my. That Demand of Supplication sure worked. My tribute is absurdly good: cards with all four resources on them, cards with really high values… even some manuscripts related to praetor combat moves: Sinew Slice Vol. 1 and Rain of Brimstone Vol. 3. Rain of Brimstone would be great for Morax, but unfortunately I’ve gotten the same piece that’s already on sale in the Bazaar. At least I didn’t have to pay for it. But other archfiends have been buying manuscripts. Infernal Training Vol. 1 was snapped up this turn. I suspect Baleygr, since I gave him the other piece a while back when I conceded to his demand. It’s been replaced in the Bazaar by Demonic Trance Vol. 3, so there’s now two pieces of that combat move available for sale.

I can’t buy them this turn though; I have to stick to my plan. I play my Infernal Perfidy Event, which will hopefully clear out everyone else’s hired legions. Then I march my personal guard north (just one canton, due to their slothfulness) and place a bid on the Sons of Typhon. I also check the map and see that Codename Duchess has attached the Rod of Haruspex to his personal legion and is ready to attack Anonymoeba from the south. But Anonymoeba is moving across the mountains to the north to strike at Codename Duchess from behind. Since those are both personal legions and therefore immune to the Infernal Inquisition, it will be interesting to see how that fight unfolds.

Turn 20:

Anonymoeba:

Rats, the Infernal Inquisition! My cavalry, the Legion of Woe, has been deemed disloyal and banished to the Abyss. This is a major setback, since I had lots of nice plans in store for those guys. On the bright side, Codename Duchess’ secondary legion also got banished, leaving his main legion in an interesting situation: since it has moved deep into my territory, it hasn’t actually captured any cantons from me. Presumably his second legion was supposed to bring up the rear on the bridge, in order to connect the occupied cantons to his territory and therefore claim them as his own. Instead, his main legion is now in my domain. If it conquers the Gates of Hell and ends the vendetta, it will remain trapped inside my territory. Indeed, nobody expects the Infernal Inquisition.

Since I’m unsure how the situation will resolve, I decide to relax and let Codename Duchess make the next move, since it’s he who’s fighting against the clock. I doubt he’ll conquer the Gates since that’ll just end up with him finishing the vendetta by trading a stronger place of power for a weaker one and paralyzing his powerhouse legion in the process, but we’ll see. To put some pressure on him, I’ll start slowly moving my main legion towards my ultimate prize, the Garden of Infernal Delights to the west.

Also lots of tribute has been piling up in my coffers again, and I’ve actually accumulated enough to finally boost my Cunning up to 4, gaining me a fourth order slot next turn.

Codename Duchess:

A busy day in Hell! And not a great one for me. Another Dark Augury was performed against me. I resisted again and again the perpetrator appears to be Beowulf. How persistent! The Sons of Typhon, a massively powerful but slow legion has been purchased by The Magistrate. It is likely this is just defense against the barrage of demands he’s received. However it does illuminate a continuing concern. The Sons of Typhon require daily tribute or they return to the Bazaar. If The Magistrate is purchasing them for anything beyond the short term, it means he has even more tribute stockpiled than I imagined.

Worst of all, my second legion was destroyed by the Infernal Inquisition. This means I’ve failed to capture any of Anonymoeba’s cantons in my advance, and if I attack and conquer his Gates of Hell, my legion will be trapped inside his territory. I’ve lost my Place of Power with the Destruction bonus to Anonymoeba, but it only provides 1 Prestige per turn, versus 2 from the Gates of Hell. He cannot reach my other Place of Power and I am now next door to his. I figure it’s worth attacking even if I get trapped, rather than let Anonymoeba take anything else. Assuming no further surprises I will get out of this without too much pain.

The Magistrate:

The Infernal Inquisition has swept through Hell. I take a look at the map, and… well, well. It seems that none of the hired legions survived. Everyone is down to their personal legions now. Unfortunately for me, Baleygr’s personal legion wasn’t that far behind his now-banished Legion of Blood, and can still threaten me from the south. And he’s declared vendetta on me. Fortunately for me, I’ve won the bid for the Sons of Typhon, who now stand southeast of my stronghold, looking intimidating. They’ve been replaced in the Bazaar by the Darkwing Legion, who have the ability to fly a distance of three cantons. Their flying range is not affected by my slothful perk, which makes them very attractive, but having just hired the Sons of Typhon I may hold off for now.

I have to march the Sons of Typhon south to hassle Baleygr. I’d also like to boost my Wickedness for better Destruction rituals, and aim an Infernal Affliction at Baleygr’s personal legion. But since Baleygr is near the bottom of my threat list, the Infernal Affliction ritual costs a whopping 5 hellfire. The Sons of Typhon also need hellfire each turn. So I decide to skip the Wickedness boost and put in a tribute call instead. I pay the Sons of Typhon for one more turn of service.

Looking over the map, it seems that Codename Duchess is heading for Anonymoeba’s Gates of Hell, but he hasn’t captured any territory. Maybe he was planning to use his other legion for that, before they were banished? For his part, Anonymoeba has crossed the mountains and taken the Summit of Mount Erebus from Codename Duchess. It seems their little war will continue for a little longer.

Baleygr:

So the oh so benign and compassionate Conclave (insult intended) decided in its vast lack of wisdom to obliterate my Legion of Blood. This complicates my vendetta with the Magistrate substantially. Moreover, he purchased the services of the Sons of Typhon, a smart move to be sure. I intend to counter with my purchase of the Darkwing Legion (my favorite mercenary legion) and attack with my personal legion bolstered by support from the 8 ranged / 8 melee / 1 infernal Darkwings (their stats increased by my Master Archer and Master of the Sword perks) and the Hellfire Ballista. Taking out the Sons of Typhon will satisfy my vendetta and cause a great deal of wasted resources for The Magistrate (delightful).

The other alternative, depending on what The Magistrate does, is to maneuver the Darkwings such that they can strike his personal legion directly. This also would satisfy my vendetta and force The Magistrate to waste resources until dismissing the Sons of Typhon. I have also demanded tribute; again the hope is ichor and souls which I need for more Martial Prowess. After this vendetta is over, either way, I will focus my efforts on the Pit of Tartarus.

__________________________________________________

Next time: Now that the Infernal Inquisition has finished its zealous crusade, how will the war between Codename Duchess and Anonymoeba turn out? How about the new war between Baleygr and The Magistrate? And why didn’t Anonymoeba’s spies tell him about Codename Duchess’ Playing For Keeps perk? Stay tuned to find out!

EDIT: Read part 3 here.

Solium Infernum is available directly from developers Cryptic Comet.

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1 Response to Infernal Medicine: Another Solium Infernum Diary (part 2)

  1. Cannot help but to root for The Magistrate. Go, moneybag, go!

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