Posted by: Ben | October 1, 2010

Lords of Midnight Part 3: Doomdark: My Part in his Downfall

This is Part 3 of my Lords of Midnight playthrough. You may want to read Part One and Part Two first.

Day Seven

I think I mentioned the Battle of Blood, that minor skirmish that ended in an easy victory for me. Well, reinforcements have arrived on the enemy side since then and it turns out the conflict is still very much ongoing. My men are holding their own, but they’re going to have to hold it for a while longer.

Some distance to the North, some of the enemy stragglers have ambushed Corleth, who has as yet failed to locate a single fellow Fey on his travels.

Every weekend, horse gangs would descend on the Plains of Ogrim to take drugs, listen to loud music and vandalise the womenfolk.

In the South-East, Luxor the Moonprince is investigating dragons in the Mountains of Corelay, as he has heard that dragons are sometimes friendly.

And far to the south, Rorthron has recruited the confusingly named Lord Rorath, who promptly heads north in the general direction of the aptly named Plains of Blood.

Day Eight

The Battle of Blood is over for now. Gard, Shimeril and Blood all survived, but none of their men did. Three survivors, out of four thousand, seven hundred and ninety-three. There were World War I generals with better records than that. Who’s going to write to their families, that’s what I want to know.

Day Nine

Dragons, it turns out, are not all friendly. Luckily they don’t actually kill Luxor, but I’m pretty sure that if you’re the Moonprince and expected to save your entire society from destruction you probably don’t want to be getting involved in a wholly unneccessary battle to the death with any manner of mythical beast.

Now that Morkin is dead, Lords of Midnight is starting to look a lot more like a strategy game with some minor role-playing elements. And in a typical strategy game, a thrashing in the first battle might indicate a good time to quit. But look at it from a role-playing perspective. Hell, look at it from a story perspective. The One True Hero has been killed and the forces of darkness have handed an unmitigated ass-whupping to the armies of Light. How much worse can things get? Previously I’ve only been told what a bad guy Doomdark is, but now I’ve experienced it first hand. I’m starting to feel the call to perform heroic deeds, to rise up against unstoppable odds against the power of evil. You don’t get that from robbing shopkeepers in Ultima 3. And if there’s one thing I know about fantasy, it’s that Good always triumphs in the end. Even if the kingdom is crushed beneath the jackboot of a thousand years of tyrrany, a hero will eventually arrive from somewhere.

It’s in this spirit that I formulate plan B. I, Luxor the Moonprince, am going to continue to my destination, the Citadel of Xajorkith on the plains of Corelay. I’m going to raise up as large an army as is practicable, and send them on a mass surge around the mountains on the right hand side of the map, in a last-ditch effort to take Doomdark’s capital before he takes mine.

Did I mention that I don’t do strategy games?

Meanwhile, plan C is to send Corleth, who has previously been acting as a fey and useless bodyguard to Morkin, to finish Morkin’s job by taking the ice crown. This might be impossible by the rules of the game, but an elf’s gotta do what an elf’s gotta do.

And Plan D is for Rorthron to continue wandering around the map hoping that inspiration will strike regarding the role of non-spellcasting wizards in defeating gigantic armies. Let’s go.

The believable adventures of a man who doesn't really know what he's supposed to be doing.

The Lords of Gard, Shimeril and Blood? I suggest you sacrifice yourselves in a heroic last stand, gentlemen.

Day Ten

Luxor makes it to Xajorkith, home of about two thousand warriors plus the Lord of Xajorkith, who are probably best off defending their citadel against the impending assault. He has acquired approximately 400 knackered warriors for his suicide mission. He is finding Mike Singleton’s writing style to be unexpectedly infectious.

Just move your horse about three steps to the left, my liege. No, your left.

Having bravely run away from the army that was after him, Corleth has arrived at the Forest of Lothoril, where he expects to find elves through sheer nominative determinism.

Unfortunately, Gard has been killed in battle during the night. Blood bravely hides. Rorath, still leading his troops northward to where the action is, has found a medium-sized army of one thousand riders to pick a fight with. It has occurred to me through familiarity with the interface that when an army is described in the terms “Doomdark has n riders”, it does not mean to imply that Doomdark himself is present in person. Perhaps if I had worked that one out earlier I might have given more thought to actually having a strategy.

Day Eleven

The dust-up that Lord Rorath recently managed to get himself into now has a name. It’s called the Battle Of Dawn, and Rorath is winning.

Corleth has made it to the Keep of Lothoril, where as expected he was able to recruit an army of a hundred Fey, plus the Lord of Lothoril and his five hundred men, also possibly fey. I hope the Fey have some sort of elvish combat bonus to compensate for their meagre numbers. At the nearby Tower of Lothoril, someone advises him that another Fey lord is to be found at the Forest of Kor, which is a fair distance from here and based on the map has probably been totally overrun by now. Still, Corleth is filling in for the deceased One True Hero, so the Lord of Lothoril will have to go looking for that guy.

Rorthron the Wise has found and recruited some Fey too, specifically Thimrath the Fey who lives right on the Southern border of the map and doesn’t know he’s about to be sent on another suicide mission. Rorthron himself does not apparently like to recruit or command armies himself. What the heck are you good for, Rorthron?

After living like a tramp on the Plains of Blood for the last few days, Shimeril finally reaches his home citadel, only to discover it occupied by Doomdark’s forces. He swears very loudly in the general direction of Luxor.

Lothoril and his small army heads towards the land of Kor to look for elves, and finds an occupied keep. Since his sense of self-preservation is entirely subservient to my will, he decides to try storming it.

Day Twelve

Up in Lothoril, Corleth has somehow had all his warriors killed by an enemy he doesn’t even remember seeing. Being an elf, he makes a pithy remark on the existential terror of immortality, then decides to go and visit a local tourist destination called Weirdhenge.

Rorthron has found the Tower of Corelay, where a fellow wizard advises him to head for Lake Dodrak in order to find Farflame the Dragon Lord (who as you will remember is our nominated Destroyer of the Ice Crown, which you should remember is the Ancient Artefact being searched for by Morkin, whom you may remember was killed on Day Three). There’s no Lake Dodrak on my map, but there are some Mountains of Dodrak, situated quite conveniently next to the Tower of the Moon, ie Rorthron’s house. The question becomes why some guy who lives hundreds of miles away knows there’s a dragon right near Rorthron’s mile-high tower, when Rorthron himself presumably wasn’t aware of it. Is it a very small dragon? Or is a Dragon Lord actually a person rather than an enormous fire-breathing reptile?

Wondering about this I happen to glance at the screen, whence I notice that Rorthron has somehow misplaced his horse. When did this take place and why wasn’t I told?

Shimeril has stumbled across the Shadows of Death, an annoying phenomenon that has left him utterly tired and unable to continue. And there are dragons after him.

Lothoril totally took that keep, and is feeling great about himself. He rides out to face another army to the south, but the Ice Fear, that nebulous affect that Doomdark seems to have on people, is starting to bother him. We are winning, but our generals are utterly afraid. The result is going to be unpredictable.

The Ice Fear is bothering Rorath, too. He’s just won a battle on the Plains of Dawn, but he’s a shivering wreck. He too finds the Shadows of Death while searching a ruin, leaving him utterly tired and unable to continue an’all.

But what will happen next?



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