At the beginning of Part III, I mentioned that the stage is being set for conflict at Turn 20. Little did I know that the drama would begin at Turn 21. I’ll intersperse this post with excerpts from the chats I had with some of the principal players to give a feel for the kind of dialogue we’re having between turns.
On that turn, we were notified that Lillith, my next door neighbor to the east, had bought both The Beast and the Sons of Typhon, another extremely powerful unit that required upkeep to keep around for any length of time. I talked with Geoff (Death) about Lillith’s choice soon after I processed the turn.
me: !*, Lillith bought both the Beast AND the Sons of Typhon!
Geoff: she wont be able to hold them long
me: Yeah, but it makes me wonder what she’s going to do with them.
Geoff: Good question
me: yeah, I’m going to have to talk with Lillith to make sure I don’t interfere with whatever she’s planning.
Geoff: what if you are what shes planning?
me: She’d need a vendetta. That takes time to achieve.
And time isn’t on her side right now.
Geoff: Think shes going to make a move on pandemunium?
me: good point, didn’t think of that.
!*, if that happens, I don’t have a whole lot of options
I can only access her territory in one hex.
Geoff: and she could fly the beast over once she excommunicated and take our strongholds
Not seeing anything in the way of a solution
Except maybe combat deception (which is one of several rituals I haven’t delved into yet in this feature series)
Geoff: and nuking her units with destruction (more ritual talk)
me: No, I’m talking before Pando. (My preferred abbreviation for Pandemonium)
Geoff: oh, not much there I think
me: The soonest the Beast can attack is two turns from now; one move, one attack
The sons of Typhon will probably be left behind as a reserve to prevent sneak attacks on her capital.
What if the attack isn’t from the Beast, but from the Chosen of LIllith?
With the Beast as Support?
Geoff: still two turns to do
me: True, but we don’t know who to combat deception, assuming someone has the ritual to do it.
Geoff: I will next turn, but then it will be to late
me: Yeah, I got to talk to Eric (Baphomet). I need the green light to enter his lands, and he needs to move his forces south in a hurry.
Want to send out the call for aid, or shall I?
Geoff: You can
Then I sent out an email to all the players except for Lillith:
Lillith has bought both the Beast and the Sons of Typhon. That’s a lot of heavy firepower that requires upkeep, and she doesn’t have a vendetta to act upon.
Geoff and I were talking about it, and we think Lillith is going for Pandemonium.
It makes sense. It’s heavily protected by terrain. I can only access her territory through a two-hex opening around the Gates of Hell. The only people in position to either free Pando or take out Lillith’s stronghold are me and Baphomet.
It’ll take two turns for an attack on Pandemonium to take place. Here’s my battle plan. If you have different ideas, let me know.
1. Baphomet, I’d like to insult you this turn. Call a vendetta on the following turn and opt for something other than single combat (praetor on praetor combat, something I’ll go into later). Go for something that’s going to take multiple turns. That will allow me to sweep my forces through your territory, to the north of Lillith’s stronghold.
2. Also, Baphomet, turn your Striders south and your home unit north, skirting Dante’s peak to the east. You’ll be able to move into Lillith’s southern territory, and while I know it won’t be much, it may distract Lillith’s forces to stay south while we attack his stronghold from the north.
3. For the rest of you, the best option is deception. I’ll need combat deceptions on either the Beast or the Chosen of Lillith not THIS turn, but the turn after that (assuming he moves his forces towards Pando on the next turn.) Also, if you can loot his vaults, do it. We need to hit him in the pocketbook to keep him from paying his upkeep.
On Turn 22, as expected, Lillith moved The Beast towards Pandemonium, close enough for a strike on the unholy capital city of Hell. However, some other very interesting things happened. Players started playing Events.
Events are powerful, potentially game changing occurrences that can be triggered at will by players. Every turn that goes by, one player is designated regent. The regent not only has initiative in the round he plays and a minor bonus when buying things, but he also gains an event card. It could be minor, like “reduce the prestige of a random player by 2d6″ or “destroy a random legion.” In some cases, it can be a major event that turns the tide for a player. Usually players can only have one event in their “hand” at a time, and a wise player is very judicious about when the event is played.
In turn 22, two events were played. One completely shut down rituals for the next four turns. I haven’t gone into rituals much yet in Solium Saturday, but it plays heavily to the militant player who has a lot of units and against players who specialize in messing with people from afar. I’m fairly confident Lillith played that event to prevent players from messing with her during her takeover. Remember, once she attacks Pandemonium, she’ll be excommunicated, which means it’s open season on her; anyone can mess with her, and the protection granted to her by the Infernal Conclave is revoked.
Another event played opened a fissure near Lillith’s stronghold. I’m not completely sure about the logic of the fissure, but it apparently limits the ability of the Sons of Typhon and Lillith’s Bane of the Righteous from going south towards Pandemonium.
So anyway, in true Lost/Illuminatus fashion, the true drama happened on turn 23. Here’s the map.
Lillith’s Beast attacked Pandemonium and failed to conquer it. The city is down to 6 hit points. Lillith has been excommunicated. This was cause for great celebration.
Lucias: That can’t be good.
me: Lillith attacked Pandemonium
COULDN’T TAKE IT
Lucias: OH SNAP
So I was considering my next move, thinking about how I should move my forces towards Lillith’s stronghold to take her out, when I came to a sudden, horrible realization.
me: !*. I just realized something
me: He’s within attack range of my stronghold
And he has the initiative on me
Geoff: If she goes through with it
me: Instead of going to pando?
There’s no reason not to take me out
Geoff: Ya, but will she see that as her move or try to protect herself
me: That move takes every threatening legion within several hexes away. If he doesn’t make that move, I’d chalk it up as a mistake.
Geoff: ya, good point
me: damn, I’ve never been taken out in a game before.
Geoff: Can I have your castle when youre gone?
So that’s what happened in just three turns of Solium Infernum. Lots of surprises, lots of dirty dealings, and potentially the end of the game for yours truly. Fear not, though, I’ll keep you updated on what happens in this game, and the games to come if it comes to that.
Until next Saturday, my fiendish friends!