Posted by: Ben | September 30, 2010

Lords of Midnight Part 2: Death in the Domain of Blood

(This is Part 2 of my playthrough of Lords of Midnight. Part 1 is here.)

Day Two

Rothron wakes up not dead yet, and heads south, narrowly avoiding a couple of mean-looking dragons, until he makes it to the Keep of Gard. There doesn’t seem to be anyone there to recruit, so he decides to bed down for the night.

Luxor has a wander around the downs without finding civilisation. Morkin finally gets out of the forest, while Corleth decides to battle his way through the wolves on the plains. Night falls again.

Day Three

It seems the wolves have run away from Corleth. Neat. Oh no, they appear as soon as I try to move on. If I can’t fight wolves I really shouldn’t be playing this game. Luckily they are easily killed.

This game is very quick and intuitive to play (because despite all the complexity the interaction mainly consists of moving your character around) but it’s quite a bit harder to map, because at first it seems you can predict where you will end up next from the view, but then later it turns out that you can’t, which means that the map you made in the first few turns is wrong. If you’re like me you are therefore disorientated about how the positions of your characters relate to one another, and can’t bring yourself to start over.

Rorthron the Wise has arrived at the Citadel of Gard, which is better than the Keep of Gard. There’s a fellow out front on horseback. The option menu allows me to recruit the Lord of Gard, and suddenly I’m controlling said Lord. He doesn’t seem to have much of an army, just him on a horse. Nontheless, we now have at least one unit we can send on a suicidal mission to engage the forces of Doomdark, or possibly keep an eye on them and wait for reinforcements.

Gard heads to a nearby keep and recruits some men. A search of the Lith of Gard reveals the Cup of Dreams, a magical artefact which has mysteriously made it dawn all over again. Searching Liths is a useful pastime – at another he hears a voice. It says “Looking for Lord Mitharg – you must seek the Keep of Mitharg.” As it happens I wasn’t, but if I had been, that would have been where I would have looked.

Luxor is getting into fights on the Plains of Iserath, while Morkin continues to head north, until he is slain by Skulkrin in the Forest of Dodrak. Corleth (who I was banking on as acting as a bodyguard for the obvious weakling) happened to be in the same location but gave him no help. Since the Chosen One is dead and gone along with my hope of stealing and destroying the Ice Crown, it looks like we’re going to have to defeat Doomdark purely by force of arms.

The afterlife of the Lords of Midnight is an unending limbo of regret.

Day Four

Rothron reaches the Tower of Elinil, which is where he’s been heading on the off-chance of finding another of the Wise to help out. All he gets is a voice telling him that Farflame the Dragonlord can destroy the Ice Crown. Fine, as long as someone other than Morkin is capable of collecting it.

Luxor heads to Shimeril and recruits the Lord of Shimeril, plus 1,100 warriors and 800 riders. That is considerably more like it. He advises him to meet up with Gard and show Doomdark what for.

Corleth slays the skulkrin who recently did for Morkin. I wish I’d thought of that first.

Gard heads to the Plains of Blood, where he is disturbed to see a number of armies massing in the distance. Perhaps reinforcements will be in order. He heads for a nearby keep, outside of which a number of guys of uncertain alignment can be seen. The Think command turns out to describe the disposition of the opponent’s forces. Doomdark commands 1,075 warriors some guy called Lord Blood commands 1,000 riders. Gard has 1,200 warriors and 600 riders and is therefore either outnumbered and outflanked, or in with a decent chance of defeating Doomdark, depending on who’s side Lord Blood is on. I decide to leave Gard on the plains to make the ultimate sacrifice and put a decent hole in Doomdark’s numbers before Shimeril turns up.

At school, the Lord of Gard was known as the Gourd of Lard.

Shimeril manages to reach the Plains of Blood, but owing to my poor mapping technique is unable to locate Gard and spends the night wandering around the plain.

Day Five

Well, Shimeril and all his troops are still alive. So is Gard, and he’s still looking at all these lads in the Keep of Blood. To the northeast, Doomdark has an army of ten warriors and no riders. He looks pretty screwed to me. Eighty-five warriors of the Free guard the keep, so presumably Lord Blood was one of ours and got himself killed. Just need Gard to keep the pressure on here a bit longer until Shimeril gets here. No, Lord Blood is still around, as Shimeril discovers when he approaches the Keep of Blood from a different angle.

I send them both in. It’s Shimeril with his 1200 warriors and 800 riders, plus 85 warriors guarding the keep, plus Gard with 1200 warriors and 600 riders, against Doomdark and his ten warriors, plus Lord Blood who hasn’t told me whose side he’s on, which since he has 990 riders is pretty important but by no means a dealbreaker. I’m decently confident of victory. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course I do! What's wrong with you?

Day Six

Well, we won the Battle of Blood, apparently without loss. But the war won’t be that easy. Turn-based strategy from a first-person perspective is a whole lot different to your overhead view stuff.

Doomdark has retreated to the northeast, but now has 1,200 warriors. Lord Blood is on my side, and I have now recruited him along with his 990 riders. We absolutely have the advantage, and it’s time to move my three armies around the battlefield like a big Civilization stack to finish Doomy off.

Actually there are more soldiers out there than I was expecting.

Off to the north, Corleth wanders around a forest in a futile search for elves. To the southwest, Luxor the Moonprince dashes across the mountains, heading for Corelay, the cradle of Midnightian civilization. On the way he slaughters a group of skulkrin in a slightly racist attempt to avenge his dead son. To the South, Rorthron rides about on a horse trying to look busy.

To be continued in Part 3.

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