Preamble – I doubt there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t come from RPS, but just for the record:
When we left off last time. KG had just insulted me in front of the Infernal Conclave. He has only one legion. It’s on the other side of the map. He has no praetors that I’m aware of. His PoPs are both close to me and incredibly weak. I might not be able to stop Sponge rolling over my territory or Quinns pinching my resources or Zah’hak kidnapping my praetors, but for once, just for once, I don’t have to put up with this shit.
I sketch out a rudimentary plan that’ll see me take both of Kieron’s PoPs within two turns, before his legion can co anything about it. He might be able to use rituals to throw a spanner in the works, but as far as I can tell he’s also Deceit-based (is there anyone in this bloody game who isn’t?) so all his rituals can do to unupgraded legions is delay them, not hurt them or steal them. However, just after I send in my turn file ordering my legions to rip his balls off, KG contacts me over Steam. He is somewhat surprised at the vehemence of my reaction, and says that he was just angling for a bit of extra prestige, but he reckons he can take me in a vendetta.
At the suggestion that I just let it go, I fly completely off the handle and start ranting furiously about just how badly I am going to fuck him up. I tell him I’m going to crush his legions. I tell him I’m going to seize his PoPs. I tell him that if it takes every last army I have, every artifact, every praetor, every misbegotten soul and fetid ichor and unholy scrap of darkness in my dwindling resource stockpile, I am going to watch him burn. I may even have threatened to kill his family and set fire to his house during this tirade; the red mist was making the words in the chat box kind of hard to read so who knows.
KG eventually gets the message that I am ever so slightly aggrieved by his insult and has second thoughts about getting into a vendetta with me. It’s too late to take it back now, he says, but if I accept the insult he offers to regear himself to help me exact some revenge on Zah’hak.
Now, I have a good long think about this. I’d hate for people to think I was a soft touch, but there may – may – be some merit in letting him live. I don’t really believe he’ll go after Zah’hak; as far as I know Zah’hak is somewhere near the bottom of his threat list, so he either has to spend more resources on rituals that target him or waste an order and more resources rejigging his threat list to move Zah’hak near the top. He is, however, scared of me. That goes some way to ensuring he won’t renege on this deal fully by backstabbing me, and since he’s already fought one vendetta with Quinns it’s likely he’s going to have another. KG therefore needs to be kept alive for the sole purpose of keeping Quinns off balance.
So I do the unthinkable: I send in a new turn file, swallowing my pride and letting go of the five prestige points. I could use a friend, and if he’s lying I can always kill him later.
The next turn brings a nice thick block of events. Another Looting the Vaults ritual, no surprises there. I’ve gotten into the habit of spending resources as soon as I get them so there’s not much for Quinns to steal this time; perhaps the poor return will convince him that it’s not worth it in the long run. Speedo Demon also makes a return; he seems to be making the rounds extorting tribute or prestige out of archfiends depending on whether they concede to his demands or not. I assume he has some kind of super-praetor to think he can try this on without getting squished militarily, and anyway I don’t have a praetor of my own so I have to cough up. The really interesting thing, though, is that somebody has played an event that prevents any rituals above level three from being cast. Looting the Vaults is a level four ritual. I can finally stockpile resources again, if only temporarily.
And that’s precisely what I do for the next few turns, meaning they’re somewhat uninteresting to read about. What I’m trying to do is store enough resources to upgrade one of my stats to level four. That’ll give me an extra order slot (right now I have two) which will let me get more resources which will let me upgrade another stat to level four which will give me another order slot. This, sadly, is going to take a while, but it’s what I should have been doing in the first place. We’ll entertain ourselves looking at foreign politics in the meantime.
Speedo Demon is making demands of Quinns and Quinns isn’t conceding to them, but he’s not fighting the ensuing vendettas either. This means that he’s essentially letting Speedo Demon roll him for prestige every few turns rather than paying a relatively small number of tribute cards to make him go away. He could easily take that legion of his and smear Speedo Demon all over the plains of Hell, but he’s not. He’s choosing to haemorrhage prestige instead. Weird.
Of course, KG has started agitating for me to attack Quinns myself, which is probably the real reason he decided to ally with me. I tell him I’m not that interested what with having two massive armies already parked on my doorstep, so he goes for Quinns on his own by refusing a demand. Good luck, man. I’ll be thinking of you as you’re being killed horribly by that super-legion.
Sponge has made inroads into my northern territory and fulfilled the conditions of his vendetta, so I lose a little bit of prestige. Zah’hak appears to have given up on me and is now having a standoff with Quinns; one of them has played an event that’s created a chasm between their two forces, meaning that they’re now separated by a tiny chokepoint.
(By the way, the above picture contains nine of the thirteen legions currently on the map. I’m clearly a popular guy.)
I’m getting sick of Speedo’s continual demands for tribute. Somebody needs to bring him down a peg or two, and since his praetor has only been challenged once ever it can’t be that good. To that end I buy Valac here from the Infernal Bazaar. Where Zuul could only cast one Infernal Burst attack in a combat round, Valac can cast three. I’m basically putting my hope in him rolling highly on all three of them (maximum eighteen points of damage if I roll a six every time), since Speedo’s praetor has fourteen hitpoints and I’ve frontloaded Valac’s combat orders for an Infernal Burst alpha strike.
Yep, that was predictable. I swear I have the worst luck with praetor combat. It’s at this point that I fall in line with everyone else and decide on a policy of simple avoidance in future. I’d smash him militarily except for one tiny problem: I still don’t have a border with him. Sponge and Quinns and Zah’hak are the only ones who do and they seem to be a bit preoccupied with trying to feed me my own eyeballs.
Wait, what? KG wasn’t supposed to win the vendetta with Quinns. The only way that could have happened is if KG somehow managed to kill Quinns’ Black Ring legion. But sure enough, a closer look at the map reveals…
…the total absence of the Black Ring unit from Quinns’ territory. KG has done the impossible and destroyed the indestructible legion. I’d dearly love to know how.
Turn 40 passes quietly. I’ve gotten both Cunning and Wickedness up to level 3. Just one more point in each and I get two more order slots. Then we will see who is truly arch-fiend around here.