Saturday, 3 January 2015

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Adventure Walkthrough Story

About the game. Website:  http://www.enlight.com/wbc3/
Begin the game
Warlords Battlecry 3 is an isometric graphic Real Time Strategy(RTS) with Role Playing (RPG) elements, released in 2004. The player explore the fantasy world of Etheria, full with a lot of folklore races, hero skills and ideology paths to follow. It is light and playable. Runs on average power computers with 800x600 to 1280x1024 monitor resolution. High resolutions will be applied only in the RTS screen. For wide screens it will need a 3rd party program to run it in windowed mode. For Windows 7 it will need Windows XP Mode installed. If you have tried everything and can't launch the game, follow my adventure in the world of Etheria downwards and see what wonderful games have evolution of hardware and software trashed. If looking for specific chapter in the game, press ctrl+f, a search box will appear up or down in the browser. Type full or part of the name of the chapter, or a keyword and hit the small "arrows" beside the search box.


Entering the world.

Choosing a heto and race
I will explore the campaign of Warlords Battlecry 3 with one main hero, that will lead the army, build structures, convert mines, equip items, enter shops, enter quest locations, fight, cast spells, collect retinue and more. Having this in mind, I must design my hero accordingly. There are 4 main traits: Portrait, Name, Race and Class.
1. Portrait is the beautiful face, it have no game effect. Because in games I usually accompany my hero, rather than being the hero, I like creating female ones.
2. Name have no game effect too. Her name will be Miranda (it is the name of the 14th moon of Uranus, named after Shakespeare's characters ).
3. Race have major game effect. It defines which set of armies and buildings we may use, when in RTS screen. I will choose one race that I can always play, and in the course of the adventure more will be available for me. Fey race have an Unicorn unit that cast Healing and Cure spell, I'll take them!
4. Class have tremendous effect. It will affect all fields that can be improved, when the hero levels up. Thus how we play with the hero in RTS. It is a hard decision indeed. I reduced my choices to Warrior, Healer or Sage. If I make her a warrior, she will lead the army and fight fiercely, but when stuck with no healer support, she may easily fall. If Healer, she will be quite support, and difficult to explore alone in early stages. The Sage caught my attention. Reaching level 7-8, she can cast "Call Sage" spell which summons one of three mages: White with healing, Black with balanced speed and damage of attack, or the powerful and slow Red mage. First missions for me will be critical. Another good choice to start is the Paladin with Knights race. Paladins unlock healing magic at level 5, and Archons(level 3 flying knights unit with Cure spell) are excellent support and fighters. Before we begin, there are some key features that are important for my hero:

Divination Magic Tree
Divination Magic Tree
Every hero class gives an unique magic tree to develop. The Sage have Divination, Arcane and Illusion by default. Some items will unlock small levels from another magic tree and Empire race have a building upgrade, where it apply magic levels for the current mission. Let's look at the divination tree. 1st spell Elemental Lore will grant +10 Resistance for 1 minute. 2nd Defensive Lore grant +10 Armor. 3rd See Invisible allows to see invisible units for 4 minutes. 4th Telepathy newly produced units start +10XP for 4 minutes. 5th Banish Demons, Archons and Elemental near the caster. 6th Comprehension will reduce the cost of upgrades, very useful to save resources. 7th Call Sage summons Red, White or Black Mage. Besides, Mages are Empire race Leaders. Every race have one Leader unit that is able to convert structures from close distance.  8th Mind Leach grants nearby units ability to steal XP. 9th True Sight adds permanent vision bonus to the caster side. 10th Physical Blast stun all nearby enemies for a few seconds.

Item Stash
Item Stash
Inventory stash is available only from the strategic map. But players can take 4 additional artifacts and swap equipment during RTS missions. We can equip our hero with helm, shield or banner, armor or cloak, weapon, artifacts like rings and jewelry, and boots. There are few item sets, that will give additional bonus if we have 3 or more artifacts from the same set. They will glow with green stars. There are magical artifacts glowing with blue stars, that gives specially good bonuses. Usually there is always not enough space in the stash and we must choose carefully what items to save. (Items are dropped randomly every game, and even after every load before the drop).

Retinue
Retinue
Depending on his/her Charisma skill, the hero can bring number of units along the whole adventure, after successful mission, and play with them in the future. They will keep their level made in the RTS missions and they are capped at level 20. Depending on the army natural level, they will cost Army Points to enter new missions. Making one powerful unit on high level, may exceed the Army Points in common missions. On the picture, on the right, there are my favorite Retinue units. The Scorpionpriest is The Swarm Leader, he is able to summon Fire Elementals. If I keep him at small level, I can get two of them every mission. Next, the Gnoll(lvl2 Minotaur race unit), he have a finishing attack that give 100 gold, and have 5% chance to do it. The chance increase with levels and at level 20 he is still cheep. And the Archons, the Knights lvl4 flying unit(but not leader). They are flying and do tremendous job in mission's early stages. But they can't be called by Empire race Quartermasters, like the others. They need either the Knight race, or Archons some times are rewarded from Quest Givers. They are vulnerable to Banish spell, cast sometimes by enemy heroes or Summoners(Demon Leader).



CHAPTER I
The menace and the chase

1. Sundered Isle
Sundered Isle
There we were, me and my loyal hero Miranda, sailing to Keshan on a merchant mission. It was a lovely day, the ship was swaying gently, the sun wasn't so hot and the sea breeze was waving Miranda's hair. But approaching  one of the islands, the horizons become dark and lightnings tore the sky. It was very strange and sudden storm, like it was coming from the nearby Sundered Isle. The isle should be guarded by high elves. They protect the lands  from demons, coming from the Infernal Rift, created in 1032 by a powerful spell. It was off limits to the mortal races and the captain of the ship refused to leave it. He spared some Pikemen and Archers from the crew and we set foot on the shore.

1.1. Exploring the Sundered Isle mission
Exploring the Sundered Isle
It was raining. Miranda was following the road to the west when two Reapers(level 1 demon unit) rushed toward from the trees. With some agile movement we (I, Miranda and the squad) took them down and continued southwest. At the end of the road another Reaper and a Nightmare (nasty level 2 demon cavalry with Armor Piercing) were guarding a treasure chest. We cleared the way and found a new item, Runelord's Cloak +5 Armor (Items are dropped randomly every game, and even after every load before the drop). Miranda put it on and turned around once to wave it. She looked pleased. Back on the road and north we encountered two more Reapers. And it was still raining. Up ahead  we reached a ruined structure. It was so quiet that the danger was immanent. After we cleared the hiding demons, we found another chest with item in it, Fire Giant's Belt (+3 combat, +10 Fire resistance). Confidently proceeded west to the Infernal Rift where some Nightmares made our adventure harder. They needed to be pulled out one by one. At the north-west we found a wounded elf and his comrades slain. He explained, that a mad Ssrathi, in his anger, tore the rift between worlds and something horrible came out. We were to find this Thing, but first we needed more information from the snakemen Ssrathi. Before we go, we prepared to recapture the rift and apply a main strategy. Playing the Sage, Miranda would rely on Call Sages Spell. Until she get at least 60 mana cap, and level 7 Divination magic, she will be mostly useless and stay on Hold Position. Mages and units with spells are best to be set as Magic Defenders, or Magic Guardians of a strong melee unit.

1.2. Recapture the Rift Mission
Recapture the Rift
The portal to the west was surrounded by demon. Ellador, one of the elven leader joined me. He explained that someone must step over the portal to close it, and that action would probably destroy the unit. He volunteered to be the one, if I was able to keep him alive until then. Almost instantly we were attacked by a demon squad - a hero, a huge Demon(lvl3 flying unit) and a 2 Quaisits(Demon lvl1 unit). We hold them near the towers. Miranda wasn't very useful at that time. She desperately needed level 7 Divination Magic. Explorers reported huge Salamanders(level 2 Demon unit with armor piercing) in the centre of the map. After we get rid of the enemy hero, we just needed to gather some army and breach the live demon wall. Defending the rift mission become replayable, they were not giving up so easily. There we found our first Quest Giver(a Mausoleum or Shrine that give some reward for making given task on the map). Miranda got a few more levels and it was time to move south to Ssrathi lands...


2. New Selentia
New Selentia
We sailed to New Selentia. Far from the storm the sea was calm and easy. I think I saw a huge creature to the west to come up and under the water, but it may have been just my imagination, playing so much games. А seagull landed on the board rail, the shore was near. We finally arrived at Selentia. There were 3 missions, one of witch replayable. We found our first Merchant. It is very useful to sell items freeing space in the inventory. Some times they may offer good item too, but rarely. While on the main map screen, there are a few things we must know. There is the "Menu" button in the upper-left on the screen. From there we may check the Item Stash, Bonuses and Hints. Hints will give direction on our main quest. We can also check statistics how is our hero doing.

2.1. Lizard Hunt Mission
Lizard Hunt
It was obvious that we must fight the snakemen. The area around was still wild and Ssrathi constantly were mounting raid upon the Empire settlers. We appeared in close space with west and north entrance. Miranda begun construction of the main building and by the time she finished, the first enemy wave knocked on the door. It was taught, we didn't even managed to convert the nearest mines, which should have been Miranda's first task. And we were just recovering from the little set back when a giant dinosaur appear from the north. Miranda dropped all tasks to agro the dinosaur, while the tower finish it off. At last we managed to build a good defense and a small group was dispatched to explore the lands. They reported a Quest Giver to the south-east. Quest Givers would be natural entrench points for Miranda, base defense would be handled by towers and small level armies, and another level 3 unit from the retinue would be second operation squad in the future. Or at least that was the plan. Another Quest Giver was found to the west. Miranda approached it and a Greedy Dragon(quest name) offered his service for 2000 gold. I stopped all gold expenses immediately and when the reward was gathered a huge blue dragon joined me for the mission. The enemy were doomed. Optimistic enemy heroes tried to do their best, but in open terrain  the dragon was unstoppable. We quickly destroyed all enemy buildings and victory was ours. After that mission, Empire race allied with us, which gave us the option to play missions with their race. But Ssrathi became enemies. Empire though is very useful for collecting specific unit in the retinue. They have a building that call random leader from any race, friend or enemy.

2.2. Gifts of Couatl#1 Mission
Gifts of Couatl #1
We visited the merchant and sold some useless items. Far to the south there was a Naga village that have been rumored to hold a special artifact set, consisted of three unique items. We packed up swords and shields, took a cookie and entered the sparse jungle. Miranda was level 7 and she was able to call a mage. She just needed enough time to generate 60 mana. I took a Giant(Orcish Leader) from the retinue, which joined me after the last mission. Giants are strong and good for beginning a mission, but being a fighter, they are easily lost if left with no attention when intensive actions begin. When the initial 4 mines were ours and main building under construction, the Giant begun scouting. The enemy hero was wondering around, converting every possible unguarded mine, with his favorite huge dinosaur. But this time we were ready. In the centre of the map, there was an enemy group surrounded by towers, that were guarding some cool artifacts artifact Barbarian Sward (+20 Damage, 5% Cast Scare, -20% Spellcasting) and Horn of the K'Varr(+2 Combat, +2 Movement and +40% Life Regeneration) +we came for. Approaching from the centre in the mid game would be too difficult, with the two side enemies helping them. So we undertake a slow sweep from the east side, where one of the enemy base lied. The towers were constantly poisoning my units but Unicorns(level 2 Fey unit) have Cure Spell(Heal some HP and remove poisoning). White Mages and Archons (Knight Leader) have it too. Fallen enemy heroes dropped items, one of them Orb of Protection(+5 Armor, +5% Spellcasting). One by one they were all gone. We were rewarded The Aclys of Coautl( Weapon, +2 Morale, +15 Damage).

2.3. Gifts of Couatl#2 Mission
Gifts of Couatl #2
Second mission was to retrieve the Stone of Coautl. We land on a burned land with a large numbers of Ssrathi guard squads. Empire race was chosen to fight, so we could call some armies that will escort me in the retinue. More specifically, the Scorpionpriest (The Swarm Leader). He is able to call a fire elemental when enough mana is generated. With two Scorpion leaders on low level, so I can take them on missions, I can summon fire Elementals to fight for me constantly. By strange chance, the first 3 Mages Miranda called were White Mages. But with no good fighter we must wait to develop the base. A little north on the highground scouts reported a Harpy Lair, that regularly launches harpy squads to attack. When destroyed, Lairs release a heroic unit that drops a random artifact. Harpies are nasty creatures, because they drain my mage's mana and they are flying. Those one dropped the Blood Banner(+3 Combat, +1 Morale), useful in the beginning. Two of the entrance to the highground to the north were guarded by two towers and a squad of Ssrathi warriors and mages. Playing Empire is easy when the Quartermasters is completed, allowing race leaders to be summoned constantly and set to battle. The enemy hero was wandering around guarded by Lizard Riders(level 2 Ssrathy cavalry) and  a Triceratop(level 3 Ssrathi unit). The wall of Ssrathi units from the west to the east didn't managed to stop our advance either. In the centre there was a well guarded chest with an artifact Sper of Ankh(+10 Damage, +3 Combat, -5% spellcasting). Finally we got the Stone of Coautl(Ring, +2 Morale, +50% Live Regeneration)f and moved to acquire the final piece.

2.4. Gifts of Couatl#3 Mission
Gifts of Couatl #3
We appeared on a green shore, where we were betrayed by our guide trough the Ssrathi lands. They managed to slay my worker, but that was just a little set back in building the base. Atop of that, one of the enemy heroes were traveling escorted by 3 Tyrannosaur Rex (Ssrathi level 3 unit) from the start of the mission. To the north there was a cave where we would find the final piece of the artifact set, the medallion. Volhoul, the Scorpionpriest from the retinue was constantly calling Fire Elementals and there were two Ssrathi clan, that were guarding the cave from both sides. One of the heroes dropped the Lifestealer (Weapon +10 Damage, +1 Life stolen per hit, -5% Spellcasting). We first cleared the western arm, then headed  eastern cave and found a minor entrance with 3 artifacts there, good armor, and 2 shields. The final battle was carried near a huge ancient altar, hidden deep to the east of the cave. The Medallion of Coautl (+2 Morale, 5% Chance to cast Pillar of Fire) was finally ours. The full set gave +100% spellcasting chance, very useful for Paladins. There are more sets in the game gathered randomly. Then we had to visit Colpaxotl, where a clue about the Gorgon should be revealed.

3. Ambush
AmbushOn the way through the jungle, we were ambushed by Ssrathi. There are no building in ambushes, and large amount of retinue units can be taken on the mission. We appeared on a road in the slope of a highland. Hopefully the Empire provided us 8 Pikemen, 8 Archers and Cavalry to help us. Snakepriests were strategically situated on the highlands and foot units were crowding the road. Nevertheless we  cleared the road and reached Colpaxotl.


4. Colpaxotl
Colpaxotl
Colpaxotl was the centre of Ssrathi culture, high in the mountains of Keshan. We approached the stronghold, but they were no willing to let us in. So we needed to conquer them to find clue about the Gorgon. We made a camp near the edge of the jungle and started a small fire. Ganorok (the Giant) was forbid to gather dry trees, with his heavy armor and big flail, he would give our location to every jungle creature. On the morning we entered the battlefield.


4.1. Ssrathi Stronghold Mission
Ssrathi StrongholdThe Fortress was situated on a green highland to the west, over the burned dry land, crossed by rivers. From the retinue we took the Giant Ganorok, which was retired after the mission, and a Scorpionpriest to call Fire Elementals. We set up the base and begun exploring. Scouts reported a Quest Giver far to the south-west. In the corner to the north-east we found a Goblin Lair, where the boss dropped the Hammer of Thunder(Weapon, +15 Damage, 5% on hit to cast Call Lightning, -10% Spellcasting). When enough Mages was gathered, we stormed the enemy base and victory was ours. The fortress was breached and we moved to attack the capital of Ssrathi.

4.2. Attack Colpaxotl Mission
Attack Colpaxotl
We appeared to the north-east on a burned ground crossed with rivers. To the south-east there was an allied Empire hero, building a base, making the invasion easier. A huge wave of Snakemen tried to enter our base early in the mission, but failed. One of the towers was in fire, but no other damage was made. There was a Quest Giver right under the river pass under the base. Our ally was very persistent, making constant rides on the Ssrathi base, and we were sending whatever help possible. After Miranda called enough Mages, The main attack begun. There were many units and buildings, thus a lot of experience. We made sure that we do not miss any wall and tower.

4.3. Visit the Seers Mission
Visit the Seers
A new mission was opened to us to visit the Seers of Colpaxotl and ask them about the creature we was after. No building were allowed but we had some Ssrathi units to fight for us. Encountered some wights and  undead hero that dropped useless items, but nothing serious. There were two cool treasure chest near the Seers throne. We approached the seers and they willingly begun revealing the truth, about what happened in the Sundering Isle. The mad Ssrathi was actually a seer, who was trying to warn the High Elves for an approaching danger. But the elves concerned for their own affairs refused to listen. We also learned that the Gorgon went north to the Wastes.

5. Tongu
Tongu
We set sail to Tongu. The two Scorpionpriests in my retinue were taking too much space in the small merchant ship we found. From the high over the mast I could see the shores of Keshan behind, fading in the salt mist. Tongu was a dense jungle island, home to Snakeman tribes. Among all the gold around, there was a rumor for a powerful artifact, called the Serpent's Eye. Every magic equipment we could find, would be very helpful.


5.1. The Serpent's Eye Mission
The Serpent's Eye
We landed at the shore covered in green and fresh grass and started building the base. The sparse jungle continued to the north and east covered with many ruins from ancient  structures. In the centre, there was a cave low ground crawling with dinosaurs. There were still boiling craters of ancient volcano. Empire race and one of the Scorpionpriests were helping Miranda in the mission. She was mostly observing the battle from the safety of  the inner castle tower, going out from time to time to call a mage and breath fresh air. Scouts reported an enemy  Naga(Ssrathi Leader) converting the far mines. But soon, with 3 developed Quartermasters, and plenty of resources around, we were launching waves of all kinds of leaders and a lot of Mages toward the enemy base to the north-west. At the centre of the crater, there was large gathering of Snakepriests, guarding the artifact. At some point they all cracked under the pressure.  The hero in the crater dropped a Skullhelm(Helm, +5 Ramor, +1 Dark Magic, -1 Morale). And the main enemy hero dropped the Cloak of Shadows(Armor, +1 Illusion Magic, +5 Resistance). I was saving all items that give additional magic trees. Miranda returned to the ship at the base and the mission was completed. The Serpent's Eye is a Bonus, that gives +2 vision radius to all units. Bonuses are accessed from the strategic map, menu button in the upper-left of the screen.

 6. Daros

Daros
Nothing more to do on the Tongue island we sailed to Doros. The deserts beyond the shore were the lands of the nomadic barbarians, famous with their taste to fight and bravery.  Doros was a trading centre for all barbarian tribes. In that manner, the first thing to do when we arrived, was to visit the Merchant. Asking the locals we learned about 3 missions. One repeatable was Tribal Skirmish, where barbarian clans fight for fun and glory. The clan with the most frags in 20 minutes wins.

6.1. The Barbarians' Challenge Mission
The Barbarians' Challenge
Barbarians would think highly of us if we accept their challenge and fight 4 of their best heroes. This challenge was very difficult for Miranda, not being a fighter. Anyway, she entered the arena with 4 barbalans, positioned north, east, west and south. The west one was the strongest and the north one the most aggressive. What she did was: always cast Defensive Lore. Letting the north barbarian to chase her and navigating near the west barbarian. The west one was fighting everything and slowly reduced the north one health. When week enough, Miranda hold ground in a safe place in the corner, cast a mage and finished the annoying northern hero. The other 3 were not aggressive and with enough time for mana regeneration she were fighting with 3 mages on her side. After she won, we allied with the barbarians and could take them as a starting race from there on.

6.2. Daros Gap Mission
Daros Gap
The Swarm was invading from the north and the barbarian leaders asked for help. Miranda, a Scorpionpriest and a Summoner(Demon Leader, summon a Demon with 100 mana), which I liked to try, were assigned to that mission. We appeared in a dry hot desert with two side highlands, which were forming a good defending position in the centre. An Oakman (Fey Worker) was trained and he enjoyed the sunshine. The next one was craving for earth power. There was a Quest Giver near the base and a Shop a little east. Another rival barbarian and his base were to the east too. We had to build strong defense in the middle, while dealing the barbarians first. Fay towers(+100 crystal on frag) were bringing a lot of crystals and resources weren't issue. A lot of structures were built and when we were ready, we stormed the Swarm to the north.

7. Al-Diraq
Al-Diraq
We had to cross the desert north in the pursuit of the Gorgon. The sun was bright, the sand so hot. We climbed the hills standing on the way, and from the top we could see the majestic mountains to the north-west and an empire settlement near the shore. Fresh water was the dream for everyone, may be except the. Al-Diraque was an Empire town, famous centre of trading and learning. People around were whispering of terrible creature passing north.

7.1. Barbarian Assault Mission
Barbarian Assault
We learned that the town is threatened by barbarians, who was gathering at the land border. Barbarians wasn't negotiators, but warriors, they would listen only to battle arguments. It was a quick no building mission. I gathered everyone from the retinue and as many Elephants(Empire level 3 Cavalry) as possible. Additional Empire units were at my command to, some horsemen and Archers. Both our army rushed to the walls. When they met, the melee begun, among the whole mess we encountered Pegasus(lvl2 Flying unit) and a Reaver, the exciting Barbarian Leader.  Enemy dropped Greater Troll Ring(+50% Life Regeneration).

7.2. Defend the Wall Replayable Mission
Defend the Wall
But barbarians were getting more organized. We had to venture beyond the wall to stop them. It was where the desert to the west, meet the soft grassy climate near the see. Empire race was chosen and Miranda was alone. There ware just not enough Army Points for the mission. As always playing the Empire, we needed 2-3 Quartermasters and many resources. Luckily there was a Quest giver near the base. Scouts reported the enemy hero with his loyal troops were already destroying the wall to the south-west, but that would keep them busy while the necessary constructions are made. Directly west, there were impassable mountains.




CHAPTER II
Lost in the jungles


8. Dragons' Maze
Dragons' Maze
We sailed to the Dragons' Maze. We heard rumors about big treasures and had to deviate from the chase for a while. The archipelago was home of all manners of pirates, thugs and brigands. We found a small island free of enemies for resting.  It was so small, that I could see its boundaries from atop the highest tree. A good safe place for camping. The sea at night was beautiful. Pirate ships were constantly on the move, but no one approached the islands. 


8.1. Treasure Hunt #1 Mission
Treasure Hunt #1
We begun the search for the pirates treasure. First island we pinpointed from an old map, was quite small. It was covered with strange face shaped stones, crossed by a limpid lake. Our base was on the south and a little north-west was the enemy minotaur base. With no support from the retinue, Miranda begun calling the Mages. The enemy hero was wondering around, trying to find a week spot to the base, while at some point he fell. A few more Basilisks(lvl2 Minotaur unit that have stun attack) were send to harass my towers. Not too late, Miranda gathered every available mage and cleared the whole island. There were 4 treasure chest scattered in the enemy base. Miranda opened them before the destruction of the last rival building. She found the Atholar's Ring(+10% mana regeneration), which was just for her, and 3 useless artifacts for selling.

8.2. Treasure Hunt #2 Mission
Treasure Hunt #2
We got the position of another treasure island and set course ahead. A medium burned ground island with scattered green highlands. Every highland had a few entrances. I took Fey and 2 Scorpionpriests and begun exploring. With not enough ground to build structures, we had to act fast. There was a Goblin Lair to the south-east which was launching the nasty Gnolls(lvl.2 unit with Finishing Blow). Miranda gathered all Mages an pay it a visit. She set position and wait some goblins to come out firs, but instead the enemy hero showed up. He was guarded by 2 huge Minotaur Kings(Minotaur Leader), a Minotaur Shaman(lvl 2 unit with ranged attack), and 2 lvl1 Minotaurs foot units. After a small fierce conflict, she retreated to the towers at the base. Both armies carried some losses. To the south, a lighter Orc hero was claiming the mines. I switched to defense and Converting mines from the highlands. When the Mage army was assembled we found the minotaur base to the south-east with 3 treasure chest in it and the orc base to the south-west with another 3 treasure chest. We found the Blood Armor(+5 Armor, +1 Life stolen per hit, -5% Spellcast), the Crown of Insight(5% chance to cast True Sight(+ vision radius) on hit, +2 Morale) and more items for selling.

8.3. Treasure Hunt #3 Mission
Treasure Hunt #3
After we visited the merchant, our party set sail to the third treasure island. It was haunted by undead. We begun constructing the base over the burned dry ground. Darkness spell(can be lifted with lvl 3 Illusion spell "Day/Light") was covering the lands and spooky lightnings scaring the builders. To the north, there was a well defended Quest Giver situated over a lifeless highlands. At the centre of the map we found a well defended cave entrance to the undead cave full of riches. We had to battle a lot of skeletons, insolent zombies and scary Dark Knights, but in the end we managed to clear the entrance and entrenched there. Vast armies continue to crawl from the depths of the cave, no explorer could survive there long on his own. When we finally spread trough the cave we found altogether 12 treasure chests. Some items were the Boots of Khamar(+20 to Life, +5 Armor,   -5% Scpellcasting), the Crown of Chalel (+2 Morale for dwarfs, +2 Command Radius)  and a lot of more useless artifacts.

9. Lysea

Lysea
Equipped to the teeth, we sailed to the east in search for more treasures. It was one long sea trip. The fun was fishing and gambling whole day. Lysea was once centre of a magnificent empire. But it was overrun and ruined by hordes of mad orcs. The new settlements there was talking only about the upcoming war between Dwarfs and Dark Elves. We had to explore the Old ruined city, once shiny capitol. It should hold a lot of treasures and mysteries.



9.1. Explore the Old City Mission
Explore the Old City
We appeared on a well defended green highlands with one entrance. A fresh river was forming second defense line around the base. There were two old bridges over it. After the north bridge, there was a Quest Giver and another one in the north-west corner. A Goblin Lair to the west was surrounded by newly founded enemy base. There were 2 more lairs on the map. A rival hero was advancing from the north and third one defending to the north-west. It was enemies everywhere, probably every one of them searching for the treasure. We could either wait them to eliminate each other, or take action and advance. In the end, including that from heroes, there were 6 treasure chest with artifacts. One of them held the Armor of Brilliance(+5 Resistance, +5 Armor, +5% Spellcasting). 
We took a small rest and continued Deeper in the Old City in hunt of more treasure chest guarded by Ogres and Orcs. When we were done, there were Doomwood, home of Dark Elves and Drak Dum, home of Dwarfs. We could ally with either of them if we visit their lands and do sme errands against the other race. Then we continued east to Colis Tarn.

10. Colis Tarn
Colis Tarn
To the north-east we could see a dense jungle and south was the Sea. After the long journey trough the rough lands, we had to change our gear. Hopefully there was a merchant in Colis Tarn. During day, the people were friendly, talking of dark swamp creatures. It was a small settlement harassed by Ghouls at night and turning people in to zombies. The folks possessed a powerful relic that would offer us as reward if we defend them. 



10.1. Against the Ghouls Mission
Against the Ghouls
The reward was the Cureall Stone, a Bonus that would protect our armies from disease spell from now on. We were at the centre at the map, on a highlands, with 4 entry points, guarded by towers. With 2 Scorpion priests and Miranda calling mages we applied a strong mobile defense moving to the towers under attack. There were a Quest Giver and a Shop near the base. Scouts reported another Mausoleum and enemy bases at the four corners. Everyone was fighting everyone, so after a while, enemies begun to destroy each other. By the end of the battle, vast armies were marching the plains. After we gathered a good army, and a lot of mages, we cleared the lands from  the ghouls.


11. Sserin Jungle
Sserin Jungle
After we got our cool reward, we set course to the jungles. After quite a  struggle, we reached the heart of Sserin Jungle. Big mosquitoes tried to find the armor joints, and creeping plants were slowing us down. Once, there have been a safe clean road maintained by glorious Lysea, but now the jungle was infested with goblins, ambushing unwary travelers. Luckily one of the goblins have been opened a merchant and was happy to trade some item.


11.1. The Plague Shield Mission
The Plague Shield
We heard that a group of swamp creatures have invaded the jungle and they were carrying the Plague Shield (+2 Chaos Magic, -10% Spellcast) artifact. We could get it if we defeat them. We entered a swampy fields with Fog of war. Fey race and 2 Scorpion priests were escorting Miranda. There were 3 key bridges connecting the main land. Skinlok, the goblin joined us too and stayed hidden in a tower the whole mission. Explorers reported 2 Goblin Lairs north-east near the base and one far to the north. A Gazer(lvl2 ranged Plague unit) passed near the base, no doubt hurrying to important battle. While Miranda was searching the ruined castle, a little east, she found a Mausoleum(Quest Giver) and some orcs, including angry Ogre. She checked the bridges and found a Giant fighting a Cryohydra(lvl3 Plague unit with multiple attack). The Giant was the winner, then Miranda took the prize from him. The enemy persistently were trying to breach the base at the most west part, the tower there needed to be heavily fortified. At the end, we were victorious again.


12. Borderlands
Borderlands
To the east was the lands of the Plague Lord. We would come back later there and moved north to the Borderlands. After the fall of Lysan, the lands have became wild and dangerous place, divided by many barons from almost all races from Etheria. It was a highly contested area. We could enter the replayable fights and get some XP on various size maps. There was Adventure Guild that we could hire knights. Nothing more to do we continued northward.


 13. White Mountain
White Mountain
We were climbing the slope to the mountain on a steep road. The moisture wetlands were far behind us and cold wind whirling around. To make the journey harder, while on one narrow passage we were ambushed by Griffons(lvl 2 flying unit). At the mountain top we found a small dwarf settlement. Also we could buy Griffons for the retinue and obtain the Griffon Egg, a buns that give XP to Griffons, but only if we could capture the village, who was breeding them. 


13.1. Griffon Raid Mission
Griffon Raid
Fey, Miranda an 2 Scorpionpriests entered the battle. Our  base was situated at the east end. In the middle, there was a huge mountain, surrounded by a road. In the heart of the mountain, defended by one entrance from the north side, were the Dwarfs. With some mages and fire Elementals behind her, Miranda begin exploring counter clockward. Many ruins were scattered beside the road. Not far from the base she found a  Shrine(Quests) and got an air elemental to help for the mission. Up ahead a Minotaur hero was claiming the mines. At the north end a little left, there was a Harpy Lair. Down and back to base she encountered the orc hero and its base and after that a Goblin Lair. Dwarfs had many resources, but not enough to stop the final assault. After the mission, we turned head west to the lands of the Knights.

14. Elenia
Elenia
It was the west most kingdom of Agarian Knights. The Elenian knights have been famous longbowmen. They and the Empire was fighting each other for the fertile lands. We could help either side on a replayable mission, but we decided not to mess in this conflict. To the west, there were Enmouth and The Trarg. There are situated two of the bonus items, but they were not connected to the central island, so we wend east again. Visit the College we could hire Knight Prince to fight for us.


15. Bartonia
Bartonia
To the east we set course to Bartonia. Fresh air and lovely birds were traveling with us along the forest. We met a few knights escorting important ladies and we finally reached the walls of Bartonia. It was the knights entertaining ground. The Trouble in Bartonia mission, involve 3 Knight kingdoms were fighting for honor and glory. I could join the fun either. The Tourney could ally us with the knights, but it was too difficult for Miranda, we would come here again later.

16. Siria
Siria
Siria was the eastern most kingdom of the Agarian Knights. The Sirian knights were very highly regarded trough Etheria, both for their prowess in combat and their unwavering virtue. At the market we traded items. At the order of Crux we could buy knights. At the Temple of Siria, a prince knight could join me. And there was the coolest thing, the Weapon Master. There we could spend all crowns(gold) we earned in exchanging for Experience point  for Miranda.


17. Khaz - Agar
Khaz - Agar
We passed the mountain ridge to Khaz - Agar situated on the slope to the eastern deserts. The two Archons in my retinue were scouting ahead, sometimes far from site behind the majestic peaks. Тhe two Gnolls behind, eagerly checked every hole in the rock for some more gold, greedy creatures! We finally reached the ridge. From afar we could see smoke around the Dwarven settlement. They were constantly fighting with orcs. There were 3 missions there.


17.1. First Strike Mission
First Strike
When we arrived, an orc squads were preparing for an invasion. They seemed to posses some powerful artifact, which gives them big advantage. The dwarfs were happy when we appear and we were willing to help. We moved to the field and as always begun converting the nearest resources. At first there were no resources for the main building. Miranda drunk a mana potion and called the first Sage, a red one, ordered to enter the nearest tower. With the two Rings of the Liche (+100% mana regeneration, -50% Life) it was dangerous for her to be outside the tower too. Dwarven base was to the east. The terrain was arid, turning in desert to the east. We took the two Gnolls from the retinue for defense and additional gold. Got Barbarians as playing race, it was long since we were not on arid terrain and barbarians were very happy to enjoy the weather. We would let the dwarfs explore the map and interfere if things get messy, just as long as Miranda summon enough Sages to make a final blow. We found a quest giver in the centre of the map. That will be the operation region for Miranda, when she have a good support. All troops were in position and dwarfs squads were riding key locations, wen scouts from the desert north-east reported a Snake Temple(if controlled, a Naga can be trained there) and two Goblin Lairs that were launching small parties to harass everyone. We set foot immediately to check what item will the lair bosses drop. By that time one of the enemy heroes fell in a desperate attempt to hold a remote outpost. Back in base things remain peaceful and when Miranda gathered 4 white, 2 red and 1 black mages it was time to move to the north- west. An enemy hero was foolish enough to cross our path. In the corner we found another quest giver - an air elemental offered to join for the mission. It was a matter of time to clear all north side from the 3 orcish clans. After one of the final blows Miranda got level 44. I placed some Illusion magic skill, with the Tome of Lies she will quickly reach the strongest spell.

17.2 Tow Orcs One Stone Mission
Tow Orcs One Stone
We visited the shop to get rid of some useless items and took a rest at the large dwarven tavern. I wonder why they like big spaces so much? But orcs were restless, being defeated, the were planning to take down two important dwarven leaders. This time called one Archon from the retinue and Fey race to reveal the whole map at one point. We would be well paid if we can dispose of two enemy heroes.
The day was sunny and the dry ground was covered with cracks under the hot sun. We appeared to be in a valley with one dangerously looking road to the north. Telfalas(the Archon) begun exploring and Miranda filling the towers with mages. Playing Fey, I'll need a lot of crystals and Fey towers are good source for them. The scouts didn't find any Quest Givers or Lairs. The only thing to do was to hold for a while and gather a good army. Miranda was wearing the Woodland Cloak(+1 Nature Magic, +5 Resistance). She likes light armor and 1 Nature magic allow her to call Sprites. It was time to move down the maze road. Orcs and Trolls were crawling beside every tree and corner, until we reached the end of the road where 3 huge Giants and an orcish hero were waiting. Miranda moved back in line, even Defense Lore spell couldn't save her from a giant critical blow. Some sages were send back in the abyss, but they will be called again. We were victorious. This mission made Orcs enemies, which means Miranda can never play with their race when on mission.

17.3. Return the Horn Mission
Return the Horn
We were just going to celebrate at the tavern when an elder dwarf request we to return the Horn to the orcs. They really needed to make their minds. Anyway, the reward was good enough. We appeared in a cave full of Giants (Orc Leader). There were no buildings allowed and I took only my best retinue unit- Lynin (Archon level 18). We entered the south-east entrance. The ambush didn't do much and one giant fell. North-east entrance the same. Only east entrance left. Lynin was disposing Ogres(Orc unit lvl. 2) with a single blow from his flaming sward. Northwards we found an altar and put the Horn where it belong. We collected our reward and continued east

18. Kor
Kor
On the way to Kor we admired the sunny weather and the vast plains. When we reached the city gates, our group was greeted by the orcs with pointed weapons, bows, crossbows and catapults toward us. We had to take the road back to Khaz - Agar, then to Siria. When we arrived Mirandy quickly spend 500 Crowns in the Weaponmaster. I reordered the inventory and used the merchant before we set foot to explore the jungles of Theira to the north. 



 CHAPTER III
Back on the way to the wastes


19. Theira
Theira
The climate was wet, and it drove out every drop of water from us. Finally we reached Theira and hopefully it was a friendly settlement. Northern border of Agarian Knights, they were constantly fighting scattered trolls.  Before we seek the town elders we needed a good sleep and inventory set. The morning was pleasant. Strange birds were singing and the air was so hot and heavy, it looked like we swim in it. We seek the town hall and found the elders. 


19.1. Troll Hunt Mission
Troll Hunt
We accepted the first challenge to dispose of 40 trolls crowding together from the north. A knight led us to the border forest. It wasn't so hot. Wide meadows were crowded with sheeps. I took Lynin + Fey race and we begun strengthening the defense. Scouts have reported a Shop to the south-east and some more mines to convert. Miranda took some time to play with the sheeps, while regenerating mana. She loved peaceful animals a lot. But not much time after, we realized a horrible truth. The trolls were picking the sheeps and throw them at us, making huge damage and stunning my units. Now we needed to save as many sheeps as possible too. The towers would be useful only with 4 archers in them, so I needed Lynin to set a defensive perimeter in safe distance. Besides, there was an enemy hero traveling with a pack of Ogres. Like always, there was not enough stones too. Mobs of orcs were testing the defense, but unable to breach it. When Miranda gathered enough Mages, she took a small squad and advanced north slicing the east side of the map and avoiding the enemy hero. Another shop was found in north-west corner. Miranda bought Shadowshiv Blade(+10 Damage, +1Asnn, 5% Cast Shadowform) from there, she would like to test it in the next battle. The enemy hero dropped the Boots of Khamar(+20 Live, +5 Armor, -5% Cast Chance). Then it was time to finish them off. As a reward we were offered to take Prince Henrik in retinue. Nothing more to do there we continued to Silvermyr.

20. Silvermyr
Silvermyr
We traveled trough sparse forest and rivers. The smell of fresh shadow grass near the sea was unique. Then on one bridges, we were ambushed. Trolls again. Just for Prince Henrik to test his sword. The battle wasn't hard and we continued west to the city that was beginning to appear in the sunset horizon. Silvermyr was Wood Elves town, named after a great oak, which leaves turned silver at fall. If we could help with some quests, may be they would let us take wood elves in missions. More importantly, a quick path to Dragons Maze was revealed, that we will use later to travel to the western part of Etheria, where our main quest lies. There were 1 mission and a Ranger's Guild(buy retinue units). 

20.1. Defend the Orbs Mission
Defend the Orbs
We meet the proud elves elders and they were happy to find us something to do. We were to defend a group of healing orbs from the barbarians foraying from the Plains of Ar. The reward was the Orb of Healing Item (+20 Live, +20% Live regeneration, 5% Chance Cast Self Heal). With no hesitation I packed up, and Miranda was already on the way. We reached a forest with wide clearings. There were 5 Orbs that we must keep from enemy hands. It seems that I must use Telfalas (Archon level 15) for quick sweeps over the trees while we set the perimeter with Fey race. It was important not to allow him to level up, he is getting too expensive to take on missions and Lynin is already too powerful. There were 2 Ancient Wisps(builders, they can not enter a mine to work) and a Phoenix(lvl 1 flying converting unit) to help. While exploring Telfalas reported a Quest Giver in the centre and a huge Ancient Treant hiding among the trees. The initial barbarian group was monstrous:  Level 43 barbarian hero, 2 Riders(Lvl. 1 Cavalry), 1 Warlord(Lvl. 2 Cavalry), a Pegasus and a Deamon(both Lvl 2 flying units).  Telfalas  managed to split the Pegasus from the main group, using the tree lines,  and put it to rest, but the Demon made a critical blow. Telfalas  quickly retreated. The army strength was reduced enough to allow more time for development.  But barbarians were restless, they used every opportunity to destroy a random Orb, and I needed to act fast. While the Archon was harassing the cavalries(can not attack flying units) scattered on the roads, Miranda gathered 4 Red and 1 White mages, led the squad to the west and made a central base sweep entrapping the enemy hero alone on his retreat. The elves were grateful but didn't join me. We had to move to the east in Etheria, since we got lost in the southerns jungles we lost a track to our main quest.

21. Solhaven
Solhaven
We were on the sea again traveling to Solhaven. Sailing on a ship is much more tireless tam the long roads. The constant joggling was annoying though. A few days later we reached the peninsula. Solhaven was the home of the Wood Elves and there were rumors about two powerful artifacts, that can be found there. We searched for a merchant but none was found. Talking to locals, we found out that the lands were occasionally invaded by Knights and Dark Elves. 





21.1. Defend Solhaven Replayable Mission
Defend Solhaven
We appeared in a big plane with many Quest Givers and Mines. With barbarian race on the south-east and allied elves on the north-west. From retinue came my best Gnoll to make some gold. Later on I hide him, because Dark Elves are one tough race to play against. Some units and their main hero can destroy a valuable unit wit one blow. The battle was very intensive. Wood elves almost fall, but one of their worker made a building in my base, and later they spread to the north, where I cleared two Dark Elves. It was a general mistake to play barbarians, they have no good anti air, beside dragons. Thus by the end of the battle there were 5 dragons under my command. After we won, the Wood Elves finally allied with us, hooray. It turned out that we must steal the elven artifact set in The Garb of Thyatis Mission, and right then we had no desire to mess with them. So we continue south to Guardia, then Dragons' Maze, Al-Diraq, while we reached Northern Diraq in the chase of the Gorgon who fled to the wastelands in the north-west.

22. Northern Diraque
Northern Diraque
We were back in the desert. Sand was everywhere, boots, bags, hair, pants. From below we could see the majestic mountain ridge, bordering the deep desert, home of The Swarm race. We encountered them in the past, and knew a few things about them. No one noticed our presence there, all nomads looked busy and focused on some war strategies. Nomadic clans were fighting desert creatures to control the lands around. The chief of the Nomads also knew something about the Gorgon.


22.1. Help the Nomads Mission
Help the Nomads
If we were to gather the information from the leader, we had to help sim first. We met on the open desert and the chief explained that the Gorgon moved west to Realm of Famine then continued north. What business did the Creature there was unclear but it seemed changed.  I took the Wood Elf race to test their strength. They hardly have seen a desert before. Lynin (Archon level 20 now)  was escorting Miranda from the retinue. Our base was south-east, and allied Nomads north-east. The mission should been easy and we wouldn't wait the nomads to do the job and strike as fast as possible. Lynin was set to explore and do damage and Miranda undertook conversion. The two Wisps(Wod Elf worker, they can not enter mines too) at hand didn't had enough resources to construct the main building and they were given some leisure time. The nomad scouts found the initial enemy squad consisted of an enemy hero, a Scorpion(The Swarm level 1 unit), two Scorpionmen (The Swarm level 2 unit) and a Scorpionpriest (The Swarm Leader). A Quest Giver and a Shop, were revealed just north of our base. Miranda needed 2 more mages escort and was on the way to check what's inside. The terrain was mostly flat, with a few highlands, a very good terrain for chasing and ambushing. In the middle there were an Infernal Temple(calls Demons) and 2 Harpy Lairs(Lair with artifact reward) - next stop for my loyal hero. The enemy were to the north-west and South-west. No good artifacts were found though. After we were done with the all enemies, barbarians were grateful and opened a merchant in Northern Diraque.

22.2. Desert Winds Mission 
Desert Winds
Our next mission was to search for The Winds of Desert, a Bonus that give +50% attack speed to Miranda. We put some equipment against the nasty sandstorms and went to meet those Winds. We appeared alone on arid highland with well developed roads around the centre of the map. With no good support from retinue and Barbarian race, Miranda followed the main plan - converting, building and calling mages. Barbarians need a lot of gold and iron, and the Gnoll named Hrullis, was helping with the gold collection, as seen in the picture. A bold early attack from the enemy hero cost me one tower, but we managed to repeal him. He was strong, his name was Mandor level 47 Ice Mage. There were no Quest Givers or Lairs, the enemy base was south-west and north-west there were 10 Air Elementals(Elemental unit) in a round formation guarding one very powerful level 19 one. Only a strong army could prevail. When the enemy base and hero were cleared, Miranda had the time to call a swarm of Mages and made the final blow to the Elementals. We achieved the bonus and it was time to move deep in the western desert, to the Realms of Famine.

23. Twilight Woods
Twilight Woods
After the last few days traveling in the desert, we could feel the shore breeze and mighty forests appeared in the horizon. The Twilight Woods was the home of the Fey race. No one knows where the Fey have come from, but some sages have said they were older than the Elves. When we arrived we caught them fighting on two fronts. One against the Swarm and another against Dark Dwarfs. They offered us the Fey Cloak artifact(+10 Magic, Fire and Cold Resistance)m for our help.

23.1. Twilight Battle Mission

Twilight Battle
We appeared near the shore in a lovely forest northeast. Allied Fey were not far north of our base and there was a Quest Giver near it. Telfalas and a white mage were chosen from the retinue. He needed some more levels to become the strongest Archon possible. A huge impassable maintains in the middle surrounded by well maintained roads, prevented diagonal attack. Dwarfs were north and 3 Swarm bases to the west. They fought each other too. One counter clockwork wave should be a good tactic. While exploring, Telfalas noticed the strange Dark Dwarven machines, seen in the picture. he quickly retreated while he gets his courage back and reduce the enemy army with flank attack. By then the allied hero was moving north, and we were to help him to advance. Miranda didn't take part in the main battle at all, beside calling mages. She made 46 level and took Dexterity and more levels for called mages. We were victorious but the dwarfs managed to steal the Dream Crystal, a valuable artifact for the Fey.

23.2. Dream Crystal Mission
Dream Crystal
As a reward, for returning the Artifact, they offered a Dream Crystal Shard - a Bonus that gives 25% Mana Regeneration. We set foot to chase the dwarfs. There the forest ended. Lynin managed to dispose of the enemy hero early and we just needed a few more troops to storm the base to the north. Enemy hero dropped the Stuff of Regret (Weapon +40 Mana, +10 Damage). It could be very useful for some hero classes, but not for Miranda. She had enough Mana cap, and the weapon slot needed mana regeneration, to fill it faster. She gathered 3 Red mages and the archon, put the battle artifacts and advanced from the eastern road. But the ride was stopped by heavily entrenched Dark Dwarfs in the corner and hardly escaped all Hellbores(Level 2 Ballista Dark Dwarv unit). The base to the west was easy to destroy and after that we had enough time to develop the main base for 2-3 Dragons. When  Miranda approached the remaining of the last building, she got the crystal. After that she needed to go north to the start of the road near the main base to complete the mission.

23.3. Test of the Fey Mission 
Test of the Fey
The Feys wanted to ally me, but only if I accomplish a certain test. I was already having them as my main race, so I send Miranda just to check what was that test about. She alone and no building or retinue had to pass a road in the forest and survive it. She used all mana potions and managed to call 2 Mages. Then went to the north through the forest. Two Banshees(Fey Leader) came out of nowhere and attacked. Miranda retreated and removed the 2 Ring of Liche to equip the battle gear. More to the north another 6  Banshees were slain and we were half the road. 4 more and we passed the test. In addition the Fey unlocked an Unicorn Grove(hire Unicorns in retinue) and Queen of the Fey(exchange gold for XP). Miranda spend half of our gold there, not even close enough for a new level. We didn't learn anything new for the Gorgon and continued north to the Khazdhul.

24. Khazdhul
Khazdhul
We reached Khazdhul city in the skirt of the great winter mountains. The lands were under pall of acrid smoke, created by the Dark Dwarf machines. They were famous with their mechanical gadgets. All kind of catapults, siege weapons and steam tanks were their toys. We were neutral toward them and there was one mission for us to make a good impression. Some orcish miners have rebelled against their masters and we were to help the dark dwarfs.

24.1. Khazdhul Mines Mission
Khazdhul Mines
We entered the tunnels and appeared in a medium cave under the city. There were no buildings allowed. The available retinue points was just enough to take Telfalas, and dwarfs provided 12 Stone Golems (level 1 dark dwarf unit) and 1 Iron Golem (level 2 dark dwarf unit) to fight for us. Such missions were easy for Miranda with the Call Sage spell. She gathered the army around her and begun exploring the cave. There were a few Orcs and Ogres here and there, but nothing too serious. We also found some chests with useless artifacts. We explored every corner of the cave, until we reached a lava pit guarded by an orc hero, a Giant, 4 Ogres and some Orcs. The hero dropped 3 items one of it the Banner of Seeing(+1 Dibination Magic, +3 Morale). After the mission, the dark dwarfs become friendly to us and opened a merchant. Nothing more to do there and we continued north to the Ragnar's Pass.

25. Ragnar's Pass
Ragnar's PassWe were walking on a road near the end of the steep around. We finally reached the crack, Ragnar's Pass was a narrow way through the mountain to the west, situated between Khazdhul and High Elven lands. It was covered with snow and chill wind was playing  with us. We search around and found a large cave. It was so quiet, making it more mysterious, what's inside. Made a camp around the frozen river shore. On the next day, refreshed, we entered to explore.


25.1. Search the Cave Mission
Search the Cave
The daylight soon faded behind us, and only torches were lightening our path. There was no building allowed, I took Telfalas, a White Mage and 2 Barbarians(lvl1 Barbarian unit) and we dived in the darkness. Nothing to the left and right, the mines there we used for some more XP(every destroyed mine gives 3 experience points). We continued north until we reached an old ruined altar haunted by Undead - Dark Knights and some Wights. To the left there were some Skeletons. To the right - 3 Liches(Undead Leader) and a chest with an artifact Woodland Cloak (+5Resistance + 1 Nature Magic). More to the north following the path, we found a Dragon! Hopefully he was not hostile, when he understood we wasn't orcs or dwarfs. His name was Ragnar and he even agreed to join me if  we can get rid of those burglars, that were trying to steal his treasure. He would be wonderful addition to my retinue.

25.2. Cleanse North Pass Mission
Cleanse North Pass
As requested we entered the south pass in a snowy lands pinned with cold limpid lakes. Telfalas, Miranda and Barbarian race were chosen to do the job. Contrary to my concerns, Barbarians happened to enjoy the snow. Telfalas begun exploring and found many seals and penguins wandering around. When he was done playing with the lovely creatures he found a Quest Giver to the north-east, another one to the north-west and Elemental Temple(recruit Elementals) in the centre of the map. The enemy heroes weren't big problem, one of them fell near the base, but one tower was destroyed. He dropped two very week artifacts. Resources were precious, no neutral mines were found. After the capture of the Elemental Temple, the enemy were doomed.

25.3. Cleanse South Pass Mission
Cleanse South
The South pass was covered with snow and lakes too. We established the base and began exploring. To the east the snow withdrawn to reveal a barren lands occupied by Undead. A Vampire have been reported (Udead Leader). The first Quest Giver was found very near the base to the north-east. Near it was one entrances to our base and we entrenched the east one to stop the Undead rides. Soon enough Orcs were pushing from the north. Far to the north-west corner there was a Goblin Lair, where Miranda found the Shield of Obsidian(10% per hit cast Stone Skin, +15 Armor, -5 Spellcasting) and equipped it immediately, it was better than her old shield. Another Gnoll Lair was found in central east part of the huge map. One of the enemy heroes dropped the Harvest Scythe(Weapon +1 Nature Magic). The mission was completed with a lot of Mages. After the mission it become possible to recruit Ragnar in the Ragnar's pass. The dragon joined my retinue.

26. The Wastes
The Wastes
We were at the edge of the wastes. A big tundra plain north-west of Etheria. There was the Gorgon we were after so many days. Passing through snow and wind and all harsh weather seeming send against us, we finally reached the northern wastes, which were completely devoid of life. No trees, no animal, no bird, no water. Only us and the infernal smoke coming from ahead. The creature has found a suitable home there among the Demons.

 
26.1. Search the Wastes Mission
Search the Wastes
So we appeared in a soft plain. I was unable to get Ragnar on the mission, because he cost too much army points. Barbarians and Lynin was chosen instead, my max level Archon. We begun the search for the Gorgon lair. There was no snow and the lands was barren, caused by infernal Deamon heat, no doubt. There was a Quest Giver a little north-west of our base. Near it, the enemy hero and his avangard, were advancing to our base, where they were stopped by our towers, one full of mages. While exploring, Lynin encountered a strange Guardian Skulls, which were not much of a threat. Directly to the west was the enemy base, build around a massive wall structure. When the enemy hero fell, we gathered a good amount of Warlords(lvl 2 barbarian cavalry) and stormed the enemy base. When the fields were clear, only the massive iron fortress remained. It needed three keys to be opened. We realized then, that this was indeed the Fifth Undead Horseman. 3000 year ago four Horsemen have entered the land and caused destruction an darkness. That was enemy not to be underestimated. We learned that the Dark Dwarfs can help. We were on the way back to Khazdhul.



CHAPTER IV
The Iron Fortress Keys

27. Khazdhul #2
Khazdhul #2
Now we had to search the whole Etheria for the 3 keys and a way to get inside the fortress. We were already familiar with the most of the lands, and there was not many place left to look. First, we had to find the dwarven leader, Runelord Brax, situated in Khazdhul that could help to make a plan and destroy the Undead Horseman fortress. Because dwarven lads were very suspicious we needed to fight our way to their leader.



27.1. The Runelord Mission
The Runelord
We entered another cave with boiling lava spots, guarded by dwarfs and orcs. We had to clear our path to meet Brax. Barbarians, Telfalas and a White mage was taken from the retinue and the exploration begun. There was only one entrance to the north and the base could be well defended if needed. Telfalas encountered easy small groups of Trolls, Ogres and Orcs hidden in the cave cavities. The dwarf hero, thought,  had a Clay Golem (Dark Dwarf Leader) in his squad, who was quite strong. Telfalsa retreated to recover some health. Next time the Mages should guard him. I switched to defensive stance, while I gather a good strong army to make one trample attack. In the centre of the map, a Troll, 2 Ogres and a Giant were guarding 2 chest with artifacts. They tested the defense a few more times, but with Telfalas in their back disposing of the siege weapons, they hardly did any harm. And resources were precious again. Far to the west there were 2 entrances leading to the enemy base. We cleared them out and met Brax. He was very old and wise dwarf. He explained that such creatures like the Undead Horseman are eternal, thus we needed to entrap him in his iron castle, rather than trying to destroy him. The dwarf had a powerful earthquake spell, but we needed to find the three keys to seal it from outside.  Our first Stop then, was the Realm of Famine, where the Gorgon sent one of his lieutenants to conquer the Swarm.

28. Realm of Famine
Realm of Famine We moved down to the south, passing through Twilight Woods and Northern Diraq. Desert storms were not big, so we could still track the demon army footprints in the sand. Thy were lucky to be resistant to heat. When we arrived, Melkor, the lord of famine was already under attack. The attacking Gorgon army, was led by one of his lieutenants that had one of the Iron Fortress Keys. We had to help the Swarm and get the key. 

  
28.1. Siege of Famine Mission
Siege of Famine
We appeared on a green highland with an entrance west to the lower deserts. Far to the  west our allied Swarm hero was building its defense. Miranda, one Archon and Fey were on the mission. Lynin begun exploring and harassing enemies immediately. Some strange Souls approached our base but they were harmless.  Then Lynin found the enemy hero and alone destroyed him and his army of demons. The deserts was crawling with guardian skulls, that was making long queues after Lynin. Soon enough the south demon base fell, and we turned sight to the north one. In the centre on a highland there was a Goblin Lair launching Gnolls. When the allied hero penetrated the enemy base we launched all units to finish them off. One of the keys was in our possession. New mission was available then. The Swarm offered an alliance, but that would make Barbarians unhappy, so I decided not to accept it. We had to make haste to the next siege, we waved for farewell, made way out of the deserts. Next stop - Realm of Plague.

29. Realm of Plague
Realm of Plague
We had to pass the desert to Northern Diraq. Then near the shore to Al-Diraq. Took a ship to Dragons' Maze. Made a long trip to Lysea. Trough the hills to Colis Tarn. Right trough Sserin Jungle. There we headed south-east to the Khaz - Barak. Ragnar smashed an ambush. And after we crossed two continents we finally arrived at the Realms of Plague, just in time the siege was in motion. The Lord of Plague lived there in a huge bloated tower that was attacked by demons.

29.1. Siege of the Plague Mission
Siege of the Plague
It was a stinky swamp covered with ruins of once forgotten race. Telfalas, Barbarians and a white mage escorted Miranda. We saw Gorgon Guardian Skulls again, wondering in the area. The allied plague hero was to the south-east, and demons was cutting us off in the middle. The enemy hero was guarded by 2 Demons and 2 Soccubus (lvl2Demon flying unit). His name was Ghrok and he fought bravely before he fell and dropped the Orb of Life(+10 to Life, +5 Spellcasting). There were 2 Spider Lair to the east of our base, launching poisonous Spiders (lvl. 1 Plague unit) and Spider Priestess(Lvl2 Plague ranged unit) plus a Quest Giver within the enemy base. When the defense towers were full with Mages, Miranda called them and begun slow advance from the north. At the end, the second fortress hey was ours. Again there was new mission to ally with the Plague race but that would anger the Dwarfs.


30. Bartonia #2
Bartonia #2
We had to find our way to the Plains of Ar, which would lead us to the Realms of Death. We got back to Khaz-Barak. Then north to Sserin Jungle. Trough the jungle in the Borderlands. Climbing up the White Mountains and northward to Bartonia. While in Bartonia, Miranda had to try the Royal tournament and ally the Knight race. The Joust is a replayable mission, where four sides line up their cavalries and the last hero standing wins. 



30.1. The Tourney rounds  Mission
The Tourney rounds
To get the Knights respect we had to win 5 rounds of their tourney. Miranda put the battle equipment an made way trough the loudly crowd. The battle was one to one, with every enemy hero stronger than the previous. Her key ace was the movement speed. She was running across the arena trying to cast Mages avoiding long conflicts. The first one was a white mage, not very helpful. Hopefully the enemy wasn't targeting the Mages. Some more tours around and mana reached another 60 points. When two mages were planted at the middle on hold position, they slowly begun to drop the enemy health, and when he used all his Healing Potions, Miranda hold and attacked. Next rounds were similar to that one.

32. Gap of Ar
Gap of Ar
After we were done with the Knights, we traveled to Theira and then north to the Plains of Ar. The plains were used for constant ambushes by barbarians and we had to leave it quickly and continue north to Gap of Ar. Ragnar the Dragon was able to fight only in those ambushes, in one of them we found the Lysean Crown, which is a part of a set. Gap of Ar was entry point to the Ralms of War. lord Sartek's lands. Minotaurs were roaming freely there and hiding part of Hand of Sartek.


32.1. The First and Second Finger Mission
The First and Second Finger
We could have the powerful relic if we win a challenge against the minotaurs. It was a contest where the hero with the most frags in 30 minutes wins. We took Telfalas and while Miranda was building the barbarian base, he begun exploring the cave we were in and found only one entrance tunnel to the west. The fun started in the middle, where a Spider Lair and a bunch of minotaurs were found. Telfalas wasn't strong enough against a Minotaur King and retreated, while 2 mages joined him. The first 3 frags were counted. On the first enemy hero encounter Miranda lost all mages, but his army was gone. After that it wasn't much trouble. If we could complete the Hand of Sartek, it is an additional cool bonus that gives +8 Combat to Miranda.  So here were 2 missions for each finger. The Second Finger Mission was to destroy the most buildings. It was a vast arid valley covered with cracks and a road connecting the two bases. With not enough Army Points, Miranda was escorted only with Nardan the Gnoll level 20. There was a Spider Lair hidden in the very north-west corner that dropped the Tundra Boots(+2 Speed, +10 Cold resistance, +10% Spellcasting). No more fingers and we continued north-east.

33. Realms of War
Realms of War
We crossed rivers and plains in a temperate to cold climate. These lands were extremely quiet, like they were forgotten to the civilized world. Miranda opened her journal and made a reference. The Lord of War, Sartek  have been living there, but after he lost the war against Lord Bane, he have been divided to 101 pieces and scattered throughout Etheria. His Minotaur servants were still living there and north there was another tribe that had some of his fingers. 

33.1. The Third and Fourth Finger Mission
The Third and Fourth Finger
We entered the frozen region. It was another frag contest for 30 minutes. Wood elves and Telfalas were escorting  Miranda in the slippy snow. Our north-west position was well defended, surrounded by water, but we had to act quickly, because the enemies were already fraging each other. In the centre another two rival heroes contested for the mines. They fell easily, while Miranda gathered 3 mages and with Telfalas as aerial support, swept trough the enemy bases. The Fourth Finger Mission was unlocked and again it was about building destruction for 30 minutes max. It was a very small tundra with grassy regions. There was a Snake Temple(trains Naga) in the centre, and when Telfalas found it, the enemy hero was trying to capture it. Miranda sneaked under and reclaimed the temple. Soon enough a small but powerful squad was gathered and the fourth finger was ours. There was only one finger left and it was back to the south.

34. Plains of Ar
Plains of Ar
One last finger remained and we needed to return to the Plains of Ar. Of course we were ambushed again by strong barbarian leader and his squad. Ragnar almost perished in one of those ambushes. We reached the plains and searched around again. After we had the four fingers, a new mission opened to obtain the fifth one. The last tribe with the hand part was entrenched in a hill surrounded by orcs and barbarians. It would be a long sweaty battle with a good reward.


34.1. The Fifth Finger Mission
The Fifth Finger
Dwarfs and Telfalas escorted Miranda on the mission. It was desert terrain covered with ruins of ancient temples and shrines with arid highlands.  Minotaurs tribe was in the centre highland, attacked from all sides. Scouts reported a Quest Giver in the far north. Miranda was waiting patiently in the base, behind the dwarven strong defense, calling mages. Dwarfs didn't have building that favor mana, but had a Trading Post to exchange resources. The enemy heroes were too strong even for Telfalas, so he retreated at the base too. They tested my defense a few times but could only dream of passing the mages and Telfalas, who was disposing siege engines from the back lines. One of the enemy heroes dropped the Sun Staff(+5% chance to cast Pillar of Fire spell on hit, +10 Damage). After we got the first Red Dragon, we cleared the area and finally assembled the Hand of Sartek, a bonus that give +8 Combat to the hero. We also allied with the Minotaur race, we could play with them from there on.

 35. Ylarie
Ylarie Headed west to Ylarie. Some journey, a frozen lake, and we made it. Once a High Elven Citadel, Ylarie was overrun be orcs many centuries ago. The high elves never rebuild it and when we arrived it was still infested with those foul creatures. From there, orcs were pouring in to the northern tundra and elves needed us to attack their stronghold outside the Ylarie ruins. There was no time to waste, we sharpen the swords prepare for battle.


35.1. Defence of Ylarie Mission
Defence of Ylarie
Plains covered with snow were split by a sea bay. Dwarfs and Nardan the Gnoll took part in the mission. The elves have send at least reinforcement - an allied elves were building a base to the the west over the water. Chilly winter have have frozen the roads, but they were yet passable. There was a Shrine(Quests) north of our base and Bandit Lair south of the allied base. Northern road was defended by a squad of archers and trolls. Nardan managed to squeeze 300 gold before he retreated back. The enemy tried to make some desperate attack on our bases but we were invincible. When we visited the Bandit Lair to see what's in it, the elves were already destroying one of the orc clans. We found a useless artifact and helped the elves to achieve victory. After the mission, elves gave 3 more replayable missions. One of it rewarded  the Frostwyrm Pelt atifact.

36. Ehlariel
Ehlariel
We continued west near the shore in the search of the fortress keys. We passed some frozen rivers and tundras. Miranda was level 49 and ready for the final battle. Reaching Ehlariel, we connected all locations in Etheria. It was one of the twin capitals of the High Elves and home to the Ice Queen. Built on a permanently frozen lake, it's beauty as beyond imagination. Before we go north to seek the final 3rd key we would need one more artifact.



36.1. Orc Attack Mission
Orc Attack
Orc were sweeping in the tundra from their tribal lands. If we help the elves, they would reward with an Iceblade (+25 Cold Damage, -5% spellcasting). We just wanted to give the minotaurs some battle and try their strength. We appeared on a small snowy highland. Telfalas begun scouting from the skies and 3 Gnolls were jumping happily near a Goblin Lair to the north west, when the enemy hero appear with not too strong army. He fell, but not before doing some damage. A little more to the north we found a Qest Giver. Two treasure chest dropped no good artifact.  In the end, we gathered the army and stormed the orc base. After the mission we allied with the High Elves.



37. Realms of Death
Realms of Death
We were on the way to obtain the final Iron Fortress Key #3. Walking through the winds and snow, passing frozen rivers, we reached a frozen forest just before some mountains. When we climbed them we could see the smoke in the far distance, the sieage have already begun. We made haste down the hill between two frozen rivers reaching the Realms of the Dead, home to lord Bane, master of undead. His citadel was constructed around the bones of some ancient creatures.


37.1. Siegeof Death Mission
Siegeof Death
Lord Bane was attacked by the Gorgon's servants, led by the third lieutenant possessing the last key. Telfalas, Miranda and some workers begun to prepare the defense. Cold snow was covering the ground and a frozen road leading to our allied undead forces to the north. Enemy demons were very close to the west with Mausoleum in their base. On the way we found an Infernal temple(train Demons), but the enemy was lurking around. The way to the north was cut by some funny skull guardians and Demonologists (Demon Leaders) were crossing the map everywhere. Another rival demon was situated to the north-east with Undead Lair(drop item) near it. Second Undead Lair was situated in the centre of the map near a frozen lake. When the defense was strong enough, we switched to offensive approach and broke the siege. After the mission we could ally the Undead, but the Knight would be unhappy. It was time to go to the Gorgon Fortress and end the threat for another 100 years.


 
38. The Wastes #2
The Wastes #2
We travelled back to Ehlariel. Then west to Ragnar's Pass. Ragnar the dragon was happy to see known ground. After quick rest ana resupply, we headed in to the deep west cold planes. Telfalas was flying around, scouting the wilderness. Rather than  walking with us, always talking about light and justice. Just last mission I took a dwarf leader to escort us, he was trying to catch up with and mumbling some dworven think. Finally we approached the demon smoke.


38.1. Approach The Fortress Mission
Approach The Fortress
We had to clear a way to the stronhold first. The terrain was familiar. Fey race and Telfalas would handle the defense. Miranda converted the nearest mines, before the enemy heroes show up. The first one was guarded by forces of Salamanders. We met him before the base with all we got and he fell. Second enemy undead hero was trying to find a week point from the south. We stoped him at the towers. After that we just needed to gather enough manpower and clear the way to the fortress. The enemy was occupying the whole west part and the undead base to the north was the first to be cleared. Skull Guardians was not a problem, except the one before the gate, a max level, that could easily slay a hero. Miranda finally reached level 50.




38.1. Seal the Door Mission
Seal the Door
All we remained to do was to seal Gorgon The Fifth Horseman inside the fortress. We had to stand our ground 20 minutes, while the keys are applied. Not too long after, constructing first buildings, Guardian Skulls flooded to the base, some of them strong level 5 veterans, that made quite damage. Squad of Salamanders were trying to force in the defense all the time. Telfalas and mages were desperately trying to hold the towers while Miranda convert the mines. The first attempt to reach the Quest Giver to the East was ruined by enemy towers and a lot of skulls. We entrenched, repealing all attack, till the time run out and all keys used. The Runelord Brax cast the earhquake spell and the fortress dived in to the ground. Only whispering voices remained in the wastes. Now for the next 100 years Etheria would be a relatively safe place.





39. Victory
With the Gorgon finally entraped, we could explore freely the rest of Etheria. I gathered all my heroes on a wild spot near a lake and we made a camp fire. We celebrated all nigt with the pipe of the peace and prosperity, guitars and jolly songs, and reminding stories of the past adventures.  The next day, sober, we took goodbye and parted in different planes. But we would meet again.








ADDITIONAL FEATURES
Bonuses
Bonuses
Checking Bonuses is available only from the strategic map. They grant permanent boosts or abilities and are achieved after certain missions. We must cross the lands to find them.










Stats
Stats
Checking Stats is available only from the strategic map.












Skills
Skills
Checking Skills is available only from the strategic map.













Also check the stand alone descriptive screenshots from the Best Games Ever Screens.
Author of the picture story: Ogo Bob, Planeta 42 inhabitant.

No comments:

Post a Comment