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After Action Reports => Digital Gaming AARs => Topic started by: FarAway Sooner on July 17, 2019, 12:18:01 AM

Title: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on July 17, 2019, 12:18:01 AM
(No, this isn't a documentary about life in Colorado...)

Year 1, The Founding

“Lord Celadon, the scouts have returned.  Their report is ready, if you are interested?”

Lord Nedwin Celadon, leader of the High Men of Elandria, turned to glance at the man who had spoken, his first lieutenant.  Morwin Galanthas had been a long-time friend, and a trusted ally during the tough times that had led them here.  10 years older than Lord Celadon, he was the captain of his guard.  Although, the Lord of the High Men reflected, the Royal Guard these days more resembled a group of hunters and woodsmen, than the proud Knights of a once-mighty kingdom.  The Calamity had taken its toll on all of them.

(https://i.imgur.com/5ItWg6p.jpg)

“We find ourselves in the midst of a fruitful plain, with a broad swift river to our west and the shores of an ocean to our east.  To the north, there are more plains, spotted with scrub forests for the next 50 miles at least.  Forests start but a scant 10 miles to our south, thickening as they go, but the river turns west and quickly moves away from the woods.  Our scouts have found an excellent stand of hardwood on the edge of that forest, to our southwest, which would surely provide excellent timber for building in the years ahead.”

Lord Celadon turned to look longingly at the green plains to his west.  “What lies beyond the plains that is fed by this river?” 

“In the west, foothills quickly rise into a mountain peak, from which this nearby river flows.”  He hesitated.  “The men are already calling that river the Swiftwash.  It flows quickly and deep, they say.  The name is already catching on, my Lord.  It’d do the men good to name this river soon, if we intend to settle here.”

Lord Celadon nodded thoughtfully.  Galanthas had always been loyal to the men of his command, but he’d also had an uncommon knack for strengthening the ties between his soldiers and their liege.  For that matter, he was also pretty skillful at keeping me from getting myself killed when I was but a headstrong, adolescent charge of his, growing up in an increasingly dangerous world, Celadon reflected. 

Celadon turned to survey this new landscape.  Picking a site for his new capital was always a balancing act.  He and his people had all gone hungry for the last 10 years of The Calamity, and he yearned to establish his capital where he stood right now.  He could imagine the corn and wheat fields that would grow here on this fertile plain, and would love to see full stomachs and rapidly growing families for these people, the last desperate survivors from his old realm.  The rivers would prove useful for irrigation, and also for carrying the rafts and boats that would surely ply their trade here.  He could imagine the waterwheels spaced every few miles up and down the river, using the swift current to power mills that would grind his people's corn and cut their timbers.

What timbers? he thought ruefully.

In The Old World, towns and cities and villages had all grown naturally, sprouting up over the course of generations and generations.  Different places had established different specialities--fishing along the coasts, mining in the hills, farming villages scattered across the plains, and large trade centers at the center of large roadways and broad rivers or deep ports. 

It was going to be different here, especially given that his first city had to be quite self-sustaining for at least the next 25 or 30 years.  Other villages would come, he knew, and in time they would become full-fledged towns.  Linked, no doubt, by the wide and sturdy roads that his people knew how to build so well.

But cities are more than just thousands of people, living together in squalor.  The city center would require buildings, made of wood and stone, if we wanted to raise the libraries and blacksmiths, the taverns and the workshops that were the hallmark of any thriving city.  And the churches.  Of course the churches, to rally our faithful and bring us closer to our savior, Evergreen.  May the gods bless his efforts and lift up his servants.

Celadon scratched his chin thoughtfully.  You need food for people--people to work in the city, and to work the surrounding territories.  And you need money, to finance the construction that lifts those outlying territories out of squalor and gives them the farms, the lumber camps, and the mines needed to make their labor fruitful.

Food versus resources versus trade
, he thought, and always a balancing act.  He knew that someday he could build outlying towns, that might send a steady flow of resources--of lumber and stone, clay and ore, back into his town.  But we can’t wait for those towns to grow before we begin our construction here, he thought again.

“Any other finds or resources I should know about?” he asked Galanthas.

“A small team of prospectors likes the look of some rich veins of iron ore that they found in the mountains 30 miles to the west of here,” he said.  “Nothing that could be accessed by the towns people should we settle here in these watered plains, but definitely something to keep in mind for the years ahead.  Another smaller river to the north 50 miles or more, in the midst of scrub oaks.  There are also reports of some extremely fertile soil 30 miles west of here, but nothing that seems likely to be nearly as strong a first city site as what we have here.  A few of our men report success in fishing the oceans to our east, but the catch is meager, and they can find no signs of fish runs nor of abundant wildlife in the oceans that might prove useful.  Our men will need to explore more before we have staked out likely sites for our 2nd and 3rd towns.”

“Are these regions safe?”

“That is the rub, sir,” said Galanthas reluctantly.  “Nothing within 20 miles of here that would immediately threaten the people of the village.  But we’re not alone here.  We’ve found many signs of creatures and dangerous groups scattered all about us.  This new world is a wild place to be sure.  I’d guess more than a dozen likely lairs within 50 miles.”

Celadon looked again longingly at the river.  Finally, he turned back to his lieutenant, his decision made.  “We will move 5 miles to the southwest of here.  That should leave most of this river land accessible to those who would live here, but also bring us closer to the forests from which we must draw our lumber.  I would prefer quarries, like we had in the Greystone Mountains, back home, but we need farms and food before we’ll have any use for stone.”

Farmers must come first, he knew.  The lumber camps will come quickly on the heels of the first farms, but without food and people to work in the lumber camps, no amount of timber will prove useful to us.

“Send our scouts out further afield, to map out these territories near our new homeland more thoroughly.  I want our second city site chosen before the end of this next year.  After that, bring our scouts home, let’s get them armed, and proceed to start cleaning out some of the lairs near here.  Any recommendations on where to start?”

“To the north, near the second small river, seems like the safest place to start,” Galanthas answered.  “There are a number of lairs and dens scattered up there, but all seem comprised of small bands of rebels and bandits.  We might be able to clear that area out easily and create a safe space for a 2nd village up north in short order.”  He hesitated for a moment.  “It’d also be a good place to blood many of the soldiers we have left here.  I don’t want you taking on any groups of creatures who might defeat our entire army, or even permanently kill single groups. ”

Lord Celadon nodded his head slowly.  “Sounds to be a good idea.  We need to start pacifying this region.”  Galanthas nodded, bowed, turned, and began to leave the room. 

“Galanthas”, Celadon called out, “If you find any Dark Elves, be sure to hunt them down.  I can’t stand Dark Elves…”
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: airboy on July 17, 2019, 06:11:29 AM
4x AARs are hard to do.  Best of luck.

I own the game but have not played it. 
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on July 17, 2019, 06:40:08 AM
I for one welcome the new high men overlords!  :D
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: W8taminute on July 22, 2019, 02:47:04 PM
Great game and great AAR so far!
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: airboy on July 23, 2019, 10:11:11 AM
I have done some looking and I cannot find a strategy guide anywhere.  No English wiki of use.  There is a Japanese wiki - which does nothing for me.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: W8taminute on July 23, 2019, 07:46:44 PM
I have done some looking and I cannot find a strategy guide anywhere.  No English wiki of use.  There is a Japanese wiki - which does nothing for me.

If you set Google to translate the page for you there are some actually good tidbits in there that can help.  I learned a few basics from that Japanese wiki which got me kickstarted with the game.  After that the learning process snowballs but don't expect to win any games until you've had a few losses.  The game is deep but it can be figured out.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on July 24, 2019, 06:09:11 PM
If, from the game, you just hit F1, they are building out a fairly detailed guide.  It's not searchable, and certain mechanics are hard to find, but it is context-sensitive and can help you figure out what you can and can't do in the game.  The UI guidance is uneven but often very helpful.

When I have UI questions, I find Googling it is usually quite fruitful and yields an easy hit on a Steam discussion thread that answers my question.

If you have specific questions about mechanics, feel free to post them in the Deity Empires game thread that's probably slipped to Page 2 or 3 of the Digital Gaming forum and I'll try to rattle off a quick answer.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on July 24, 2019, 10:37:05 PM
Year 4, The Hunt Begins

Lord Celadon looked westward, squinting into the afternoon sun.  The green, yellow, and brown checkerboard look of newly plowed and sowed fields trailed off into the distance.  Farm houses dotted the fields, and a handful of larger barns caught his eye as well.  In the distance, he could even make out a small ferry that traversed the Swiftwash, linking farmers on this shore to the handful of farms sprouting up on the far side.

He had a handful of men who were trained builders, equipped with horse and wagon, tackle and pick.  “Engineers”, they called themselves, although the basic tools that they had to work with were a far cry from what most of them had known in The Old World.  Work that would have taken bare hands a year or more took scarce months, but removing broken tree stumps, clearing bushes and roots, diverting a handful of streams in key places, and laying down plot lines had taken the entire first year.  Standing up the first farmhouses had taken the months after that, but that had not kept farmers from trudging out to their fields and sowing their first crops before their new homes were built.

“Of course, nobody’s able to eat a field full of dirt and seeds”, Old Farmer Willowby had remarked at one of their first town councils, and Lord Celadon chuckled at the memory.  They had brought some reserves of food with them, and the people had been living off the land in those first months.  For the first year, it had been a combination of foraging for food, and tending the gardens that had sprouted up everywhere.  In that first year, there had scarcely been a square foot of property inside the town that was not occupied by roads, footpaths, houses, or vegetable gardens.

That second Spring and Summer, as the seeds had taken hold and the fields had bloomed, the engineers had gone to work laying down roads.  Where before had been only muddy footpaths were now clearly marked roads, graded now, with shallow drainage canals, little more than dips in the ground, dug as needed to prevent puddles in the road.  Raised roads, with covered drainage cuts, would come later.  Someday, there might even be crushed rock on those roads, with smooth cobblestones laid down at intersections, but he knew that those were years away.  There was little need for them now, as the kingdom remained a compact land, and the slow trickle of farmers moving out into the farmlands near the river was hardly enough to keep the weeds from growing in the road, much less to wear ruts into the road’s surface.

During those first years, there had been plenty of spare hands from the people in the city, and their efforts had been spent building new houses.  Reed shacks and straw huts had continued to pop up at a brisk pace as crowded families farmed out grown sons and daughters into their own homes, and the overcrowding problem had slowly eased.  The latrines that first year had been a steady source of stench in the town of Newhope.

And every now and then an enterprising family, or a wealthy villager with a few hired hands, would take a wagon out into the woods and return with a load of lumber.  A handful of sturdy cabins had already been built, but only a handful.  More of those would come with time.

In the third year, the villagers who were not busy eeking out a living from the land had turned their energies to the construction of a builders workshop, a complex of cabins and shops where smiths, carpenters, and craftsmen could ply their trade together.  That construction was a little more than halfway done, and would be finished before the end of winter.  It always seemed peculiar that one of the first things a village raised was a building to make more buildings, but it made sense that sledge hammers, saws, smoothed logs, wooden pegs, fence posts, chairs, and tables would not make themselves.  Soon enough, that workshop would be done, and that was when this tiny new capital’s appetite for more building materials would surge.

He turned and glanced out another open window in this corner room, to the southeast, where a solitary empty wagon trundled back up the worn path towards the edge of town.  It had taken gold to build the first farms, and to lay down the roads that now reached out to the river’s edge in the distance to the west.  The work there was continuing apace, and his workmen informed him that the new lumber camp was coming along nicely.  Lodging for the lumberjacks, It would be fully another year before they were up and running, and perhaps six months after that before a smoothed road might replace the worn and rutted path that led towards the hardwood stand that was located only a few miles from Newhope.

(https://i.imgur.com/1oBnwZl.jpg)

A knock came from the door to what had become his study.  Dare I call it an office?  He turned to face the door and called for his guests to enter.  Gallanthas came in, flanked by three other men.  Celadon recognized them as the commanders of the 3 bands of Spearmen who together formed the entirety of the army protecting him and his tiny little kingdom.

“Our scouts have returned from their explorations, my Lord.  It’s official.  We’re on a peninsula, sir.  We are bounded on the North, East, and West by deep waters.  Initial forays have revealed shores not too far away to the West and the East, but too far away for transportation unless we build ourselves a big navy.  The peninsula narrows to the south, before broadening out to cover a larger patch of land.”  He paused.  “It looks like we’re going to be a water nation, sir.”

Celadon grimaced.  I always hated boats, he mused, shaking his head.  Ah well, it’s unlikely that we’ll be making a navy in my lifetime.  Not unless this peninsula we’ve found ourselves on is truly a God-forsaken place.  He looked at the three men.  “What have you found in the way of livable land, where we might make a second city in the years ahead?”

One of the men, whom he recognized as the commander of the northern expedition, spoke first.  “There’s good soil to the North sir, and a small river.  Light patches of woods here and there, but nothing as thick as what lies to the south of us.  There’s likely room for one city near that river.  We might be able to squeeze two cities onto that peninsula, but no more.  I’d tag both as farming cities, rather than the sort of production hub we hope to turn Newhope into.”

Galanthas turned to look at another one of the commanders.  “Tell him what you found in the South,” he said, resignedly.

The second commander scowled, but did not flinch as he looked into his Lord’s eyes.  “We found trees, sir.  Lots of trees.  Turning into jungle before we were a hundred miles south of here.  Beyond the jungle, we found more trees, but nothing that looked like arable farmland.  The mosquitoes down there were ferocious, sir.  I suspect we could set up a logging village down there, but it’s unlikely they’d ever grow enough food to become a real city.”

He hesitated for a moment, before going on.  “There are some nasty brutes living down there, sir.  We avoided them for the most part, but there are some large groups of savages and bandits down there.  Also some more dreadful creatures that my men saw, but refused to name.”  He gave a little shudder.  “It wouldn’t be my first choice of areas to build a new home, even if we were able to clear out all the monster nests and bandit lairs.”

“What about to the west?” asked Celadon, turning to his 3rd commander.  There were hills there and even a ridgeline or two that might be called a mountain, were there not?  And the headwaters of the Swiftwash.”

“Yes,” the man said.  “It’s mostly forests, hills, and mountains down there.  Often forests and hills.  We would have loved to find a valley or two nestled among the hills, where we could establish some farms, but there was precious little of that in the south.  We did confirm our earlier findings about being able to haul in some iron ore from the western face of Sawtooth Peak.  But finding the food to do that will be a challenge.”  He paused for a moment, and then went on.

“Our people can eat from the woods and the hillsides, but it’s meager fare.  Lots of resources, space for lumber camps and mines.  And it sounds like it might be a more hospitable place than was found in the south.  But the city will never have as much food as we do here.  It’s a site that would do very well, if we might be able to send wagon trains of food west in exchange for their lumber and their ore?”

“How safe are these places?” Celadon asked Galanthas.

Galanthas shrugged.  “We can give you plenty more details if you want, but in a nutshell:  There are lots of small bands in the north, mostly rebels and bandits, but not nearly a match for a well-armed expedition.  There’s one tough little nut of a mountain dwarf village up on the northern shore that we might want to stay away from for now, but they like to raid, and they’ll need tending to in the next ten years or so.

“By contrast, in the south, the local creatures are numerous and almost always formidable.  We’d best leave them untroubled for a while, at least until we’ve developed better weapons and trained up some heavy infantry.”  He paused and looked at his three commanders.  “We’ve got a fine bunch of lads, sire.  They’re tough and they’ll fight hard.  But they don’t have the armor or the arms to let them stand toe-to-toe with a determined, first rate opponent.  There are some nasty ones in the south.”

“What about the west?” asked Celadon.  “I’d love to be able to get safe access to that iron ore.”  Galanthas looked hard at the commander of the western expedition. 

He shifted his weight and spoke.  “It’s hard to be too certain of anything, but it sounds like we’re somewhere between the jungles in the south and the small, roving bands in the north of this island.  We could take on most of what my scouts saw up there, but the cost might be high.  Too high, given how few trained soldiers we have just yet.  One more troop of soldiers, and perhaps we could clear out some of those mountain lairs without too heavy losses.  But there’s a mix of dragons, undead, rebels, and bandits out in those mountains.  They’re more numerous than what we’d face up north, and a few of them are a mite bit nastier.”

Celadon looked at his commanders.  “I’d have liked to have cleared out the western region first, so we’d be able to get our second city set up there.  But I’m hearing that it probably makes sense for us to blood our troops in the north, and see what kind of loot they can drum up while they make that part of our peninsula safe for settlement.  We’ll move on to cleaning out those western hills and mountains next, but we’ll be prudent about it.  After that, we can look at expanding south.  Realistically, that might be another 10 years or more.”

He looked around the table, making eye contact with each of his commanders.  “Let me be clear about this:  Our people won’t settle in regions with bandits and monsters roaming near.  We need to get this area cleaned up, and we need to have this whole peninsula safe for our children as we reach an age to turn it over to them.  We have a nucleus for a good army here, and I won’t spend your soldiers’ lives wastefully.  But we will need room to grow soon enough, and if that means that we have to shed some blood first, so be it.”

He looked at each of them, waiting for a nod of acknowledgment.  “Your men have been scouting and exploring hard these last few years.  Let them spend the next three months home with their families, tending their fields and getting to know their children again.  Their families are the reason why most of them fight in the first place.

“Give my thanks to all the men.  At the end of their leave, we’ll ask them to pick up their spears and shields and march north.  It’s time we start carving out a bigger chunk of this land for our people. 

“Any questions?” he asked, glancing around the room one more time.  There were none.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on July 25, 2019, 06:43:57 AM
Me: the gfx in this game are just a little dire...

FAS: HERE, HOLD MY PROSE!!

 :bd: :notworthy:
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on July 25, 2019, 04:14:59 PM
Yeah, nobody plays this game for the GFX.  The irony is, when you zoom in a long ways, the graphics don't look that bad, but nobody's going to confuse this with an EA Total War game!   8)

Part of the reason that I opted to do this style of AAR was to try to highlight the Expansion piece of the game, which is a tale that's awfully hard to tell with screenshots.  The overall city production screen looks familiar to any long-time fan of 4x games, but there are some subtle-but-profound differences when compared to most games.  I felt like this style of AAR might be a good way to convey some of those pleasant intricacies.

For example, a city's production is the lesser of the Production Value (determined by things like Builders' Workshops, Blacksmiths, etc.) and the available Resources, which have to be harvested on the map by population working in outlying buildings like mines or lumber camps (but all cities start out with 10 Production Value and 10 Resources).  Intuitively, this makes more sense to me than blending together resources and production the way Civ first did 25 years ago. 

It's hardly unique to this game (lots of other games have modeled resources with differing levels of complexity, with Distant Worlds being the most intricate that I've ever encountered).  But it seems worth calling out.  It's the same with Gold, which is the primary resource used to build structures outside your towns--and those structures get expensive VERY fast, especially if you're trying to build past basic farms, roads, water wheels, mines, and lumber mills.

I hope some of those details are coming clear in the write-up, but I'm not really sure if they are?  As Airboy said above, 4X AARs present their own unique challenges to a writer. 
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on July 27, 2019, 01:54:15 PM
Year 4, The Hunt Begins… Again

“You must be the King of the Long Legs, then?” 

The question was directed at Lord Celadon without even a hint of irony, and the questioner was extending a large, meaty hand out in greeting.  The Dwarf had a no-nonsense air about him, not disrespectful, but not what Celadon's dear, lost father would have ever called “fine courtly manners”.

Celadon reached down to take his hand.  The Dwarf barely came up to his chest, but he was at least six inches broader across the shoulders.  The resulting handshake nearly crushed his hand, but he’d come to expect that from any dealings with Dwarves, in this world or the last.

“I am the King of these people.  Welcome to the city of Newhope.  What brings you here?”  The last question was delivered with a raised eyebrow.  The small company of fellow-dwarves waited respectfully behind him.  Lord Celadon couldn’t help but notice that each of them carried a flintlock strapped across their broad shoulders.

“My name is Kormac Breechloader”, the Dwarf said.  “I and my friends here have been casting about these lands for a few years now, looking for adventure and a patron, and I was wondering if you might need our services?”

“And what might those services be?” Lord Celadon asked, finding himself liking the Dwarf without even knowing why.

“We shoot stuff.  To kill it, I mean.”  The Dwarf looked at him pointedly.  “Me and my lads here have been trading with some of your people for a year now, and you seem to have a better-run operation than anything we’ve seen here in my lifetime.  I’m even impressed with your men-at-arms.  Those spears of theirs are nice and sharp, and they can throw them as far as our lads can shoot.

“Of course, they lack the punch that our muskets have for drilling holes in armor.  And I dare say that we can carry a lot more shot in our pouches than they can carry spears on their backs.  We each choose our own weapons, I guess,” the dwarf acknowledged.

“If our town here is something more impressive than what you’ve seen in your lifetime, where did you acquire those flintlocks of yours?”

The Dwarf shook his head.  “Begging your pardon sir, but they’re not simply flintlocks.  These are muskets, your lord.  Me and a few of my lads earned them doing some services for a wizard far to the east of here almost a decade back.  A peculiar sort, he was, like most wizards, but he needed some ore mined from a cave complex infested with Goblins.  We wuz up to the challenge, and in payment, he offered us our choice of these muskets and training in their use, or a magical cloak that would keep you dry in a rainstorm.” 

The Dwarf gave a derisive snort.  “Like a plain cloak and two layers of undershirt won’t do the same thing.  Wizards and their toys…  Anyways, we took the guns, and we’ve been using them and tending to them ever since.”  Lord Celadon ran his eyes up and down the Dwarves more appraisingly.  Their clothes were rough but sturdy, and when he looked more closely, he saw the sturdy rings of mail glinting from underneath their cloaks.  This band of fighters might be a useful addition, especially in the clearing out of nearby lairs and dens to make space for their next village.

“What are your terms?” Lord Celadon asked.

“Terms?  You mean, what do we expect of ya if we’re going to start shooting stuff for ya?”  Celadon nodded bemusedly.  The Dwarf scratched his head, acting as though the question had never occurred to him before this moment.  “How about food and payment for my men, seventeen gold a season, and you give our families the rights to lodge here among your people?  They’ll build their own houses and take care of themselves, you understand.” 

Celadon nodded again, this time in acknowledgment.  This world was full of Free Peoples, just like his own world had been.  They mostly lived in small villages or tiny roving bands.  There seemed to be no signs of any central government or even small towns anywhere, although some of the locals told tales of such things in the memory of their grandparents’ grandparents. 

Most of the locals kept to themselves, although over time more of them had started coming to Newhope, offering goods in trade.  A handful had even begun to stay, migrating into town in search of the more plentiful food and quality goods that were starting to appear in the Newhope markets.  Almost all of the newcomers were humans, but a handful of Dwarves and even a band or two of Wood Elves had passed through.

“Galanthas,” barked Lord Celadon, “take this band of Musketeers and find them quarters.  Before the day is done, I want them to prove their mettle.  If each of them can hit a straw dummy target two shots out of five at thirty paces, sign them to our army.”  He hesitated.

“And, if they can hit those targets, I want you to send some fast riders out after the party we dispatched a month ago.  Tell our troops to sit tight, as we’ll be sending some reinforcements their way.  That might make the clearing out of the northern reaches a little easier than we’d anticipated.”

(https://imgur.com/hEOFFji.jpg)
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 05, 2019, 01:20:03 PM
Year 5:  The Fruits of Victory

The steady pounding of hammers, the hum of saws, and the occasional bark of shouted instructions filtered down from the rafters overhead.  A loud oath went out, a shouted warning followed, and a dozen heavy boards fell 20 feet to the stone floor.  There was a clatter and a steady stream of curses came from the rafters above, only halting in mid-swear when the crew chief realized that his Lord was standing in the entrance to the main sacristy.

“So, I see that construction on our new Shrine proceeds apace,” Lord Celadon said drily, “but not without the occasional trial visited upon us to test our faith in our Lord, Everlong.”

“Yes, my Lord,” muttered Father Venable, “we are tested daily.  Although,” the old priest paused for a moment, “I’m not sure that every dropped nail is necessarily part of his divine strategy.”

Lord Celadon gave an appreciative chuckle.  “The roof has been holding?  None of the recent rains have been dripping in?”

“Blessedly no,” answered the senior leader of The Church of Everlong.  “Construction on the balcony has taken a bit longer than anticipated, as you can see from the pile of boards that descended…” he paused for dramatic effect, “...as if from Heaven just now.” 
The slight lift of an eyebrow was the only indication of irony, as he continued on without missing a beat, “But the bones of the new building seem strong.  The walls are sturdy, and the roof has kept us all dry for nearly a month now.  It’s amazing how much more quickly you can finish construction on a building once your workmen can proceed in all weather!”

Lord Celadon turned to face him.  “How long until construction is complete, then?” he asked.

“Two months until the building is done.  Another four weeks after that to get all the pews laid in, to get the altar finished, and have the metal work completed on the walls.  We plan to have our first service here before the Summer Solstice, my Lord.”  He paused to look around.  “I think the church will have a most salutary effect on the dedication of our parishioners.  There has been a lot of grumbling from a number of the people, and I think this fine edifice will help to inspire them in their work and their sacrifices.  And I’m sure that the blessings from our Lord Everlong will be redoubled in the days ahead.”

Faith had always been a central tenet of the High Men.  But Lord Celadon had never understood those creatures who believed in a god they could never see, whose miracles were never revealed to them.  He knew that Everlong’s People were often tested, in their Faith and their Character, and he scrupulously avoided questioning the choices of his own Savior and Leader.  But he also knew, from the teachings of his elders and the long history of his people’s worship in the previous land, that as their Holy Fervor increased, so too did the frequency with which Lord Everlong showered blessings upon his People and misery upon their enemies. 

As if on queue with that thought, the door behind him burst open, and Lord Galanthas came striding in, a mud-stained messenger only two paces behind him.  The messenger, wearing the livery of a scout, looked familiar, but Celadon could not recall his name or his unit. I guess it’s a blessing that our detachment of soldiers has grown so large that I don’t know the name of every soldier’s mother, brother, and dog.

“My Lord, this is Corporal Grenthas, of the 2nd Spear Troop.  He comes bringing news of the expedition in the North, and it is most excellent.”

Lord Celadon glanced at the young scout, still wearing his riding breeches, and gave a nod of encouragement.  They did not have nearly enough horses in this new land to mount all their soldiers, but most of the troops maintained a couple horses as draft animals and to bear messengers back and forth to the capital.

“We have fought nearly a half-dozen battles, My Lord, and we have been victorious in them all,” he said excitedly.  “There have been casualties,” he said, “but only a handful have been fatal.  Replacements from Newhope and recruits from some of the outlying villages have kept our ranks thick.  The Northern March is now mostly clear of our foes, but we have some additional good news to report.”
The scout paused inquiringly, and Celadon gave him a nod of encouragement.  “Our most remarkable finds came in our first two battles,” he said.  “In our first fight, we routed a simple band of thugs.  They were outnumbered from the start, and poorly equipped to boot.  Afterwards, as we were sorting through their camp, we ran across a customary scattering of coins, and food, but we also found what looks to be an heirloom of some sort.  It seems somehow appropriate that I found you here to give you the news,” he volunteered eagerly.

(https://imgur.com/yZR3vQ0.jpg)

The scout reached into his backpack, pulling the drawstring open, and pulled out a heavily wrapped bundle of cloth.  He laid it upon the ground carefully, and began unrolling it.  When he was done, he lifted an object up from it and handed it to Lord Celadon.  It was a large, sturdily built mace.

The craftsmanship was excellent, but Lord Celadon wasn’t sure what he’d expected to find.  Should it have glowed with an unearthly light as soon as he unwrapped it?  Should it have burst into flame when he passed it into my hand?  Have angels started to sing yet?  He stepped out into the open part of the still-under-construction shrine and swung the mace experimentally.  It was well balanced, and whistled through the air. I was always partial to swords, Celadon thought dourly.  What’s the point banging somebody’s armor, when you can simply drive a good steel blade through it? 

But the High Men had a long tradition of Warrior Priests and Bishops carrying maces into battle, and this seemed like a fine edition.  “It swings nicely,” said Lord Celadon to the scout.  “Did our commanders in the field suspect it had any special properties?”

The scout had opened his mouth to speak, when Father Venable stepped forward instead.  “May I take a look at it, My Lord?” he asked, holding out both hands.  Celadon laid the mace in his hands, and the good Father began studying it carefully.  He muttered to himself quietly as he turned the mace around, then stopped to carefully inspect the head of the weapon.

“Here, My Lord,” he said.  “These characters are carved into the notches of the weapon.  There is a dweomer here of some sort.  I recognize the Rune of Smashing here, and the Rune of Impact below it.  I see some other runes that I do not recognize, but I should be able to look them up.  I know I’ve seen at least a few of them before, but the details elude me.”

Lord Celadon looked at him carefully, waiting for the minister to say more, but he continued to intently study the mace.  Finally, Celadon found the need to interrupt him.  “Is it a holy weapon, then?” he asked.

Father Venable reluctantly pulled his eyes away from the weapon and looked at Lord Celadon.  “Is not any weapon wielded by a holy man also then a holy weapon?” he asked chidingly.  Then he continued, “I do not detect any blessings of Sacred Magic on this weapon, but I have no doubt it is intended to visit ruin upon the wielder’s enemies.”

“It’s intended to smash things, sir,” is how that Dwarf Captain I hired last year would have explained it to me, Celadon thought to himself in a dry voice.

(https://imgur.com/TdIyOzg.jpg)

“Might I suggest,” the good Father continued, “that we store this weapon here, in the vault of this shrine?  It will likely be another 10 years or more before we have a properly consecrated Small Church, and can begin earnest training of our clergy in the Martial Brotherhood.  But when that time comes, I would love to entrust this weapon to their leader.  It would a mighty talisman upon the battlefield.” 

The Priests and Bishops of the High Men had a long and illustrious history of accompanying their troops into battle, aiding them with blessings and healing magic, and hurling vials of Holy Water upon their foes.  In the event that such was warranted in the ebb and flow of battle, they would also stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their comrades and wield sturdy iron maces.  The Priests were not intended to serve as shock troops, but the presence of a weapon like this among their ranks would be a blessing indeed.

“Let it be done,” nodded Celadon to Father Venable.

Galanthas cleared his throat.  “I know that Squire Ventris has been quietly organizing a group of more than a hundred families to settle a new homestead within the next year.  If we have the northern reaches cleared out, it might be a good idea to send some of his men north with a few surveyors to begin planning where our second town will arise.”

(https://imgur.com/M8Jcl6G.jpg)

Are we already growing to our second town? thought Celadon.  It seemed like just last year that nobody even had a timber roof over their head.  He shook his head, feeling almost optimistic for the first time in five long years.

“There’s more, sir,” Galanthas called out gently, returning his Lord’s attention to the young scout. 

“It’s not just the Mace we found sir, and not just a few stray coins or the generous supplies of forage that we picked out of these monsters’ lairs.  In one of them, a filthy cave populated by a score of Kobolds, we found a generous haul of building materials.  We think they must have taken it from one of the local small villages in a recent raid.  Almost eight hundred feet of cut lumber, twenty pounds of nails, six large sealed urns of well-preserved pitch, and a handful of other building supplies!”

“We’ve no idea what the Kobolds had planned to do with them.  Kobolds aren’t the building type in general, and this sorry lot had no interest in building anything fancier than the dirty cave that they inhabited.  But they’ve got not use for those supplies, sir,” said the scout proudly, “and we thought our own people could use them quite well.  The troop won’t be returning for perhaps another three months, but their carts are better loaded than we had hoped they might be after our first few run-ins.”

(https://imgur.com/OiH70qw.jpg)

The lumberjack camp on the south side of town had been providing a steady stream of cut logs for more than a year now.  But, between the forges that had sprung up at the center of town when it was first created, and the Builders Shop that had been built early on, there was already more demand for building supplies than they could easily satisfy.  The additional haul of materials would arrive too late to help in the construction of the Shrine, but he already knew that the city builders were next planning to raise a schoolhouse for the proper teaching of the children.
 
Judging by the sounds of that supply haul, that would likely mean the school could be completed in four seasons, rather than the likely two years that it would have taken otherwise.  Lord, we need more timber, he thought wistfully.  Or iron.  Or clay.  Or even simple stones and gravel to use in our building.  Ah well, we’ve got a start.  Step by step, laddie, step by step.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 06, 2019, 10:59:16 AM
From the "Views" count, people are still reading.  Any particular aspects of the game that anybody would like me to weave into the AAR?  The combat mechanics here aren't all that different than other hex-based TBS games, so I've been trying to focus on the Expand & Exploit mechanics more.  But I'm happy to try weaving any other elements into the narrative if folks want to know?

I'm also going pretty heavy on the story, although I've tried to make every passage and episode reflective of the game's mechanics wherever I can.  I'm always happy to make some mid-course corrections if folks want more or less of something?  :)
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on August 06, 2019, 11:30:22 AM
I love this AAR like cake so far, so  :bd:

My only aesthetic suggestion is that you include a width=1024 modifier to your {img} opening command, so the whole image will fit on screen. (It can still be zoomed into its scrollable size by clicking.)


Example from your most recent entry:

This...


(https://imgur.com/yZR3vQ0.jpg)

...to this.


(https://imgur.com/yZR3vQ0.jpg)
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 06, 2019, 10:36:50 PM
I've been wondering if there was an easy way to do that.  What does the syntax look like?  (feel free to use parentheses instead of brackets!)
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on August 07, 2019, 06:45:09 AM
You can check directly by quoting for reply (that's where I got your code, for example), but -- using {fancy brackets} instead of [square brackets]...

{img width=1024}insert the image link here{/img}

The "width=" tag can be any numerical value, by the way. And "height=" works, too. I'm pretty sure both can be used together as separate tags within the initial img code, but I don't typically bother: I just used the width modifier.

Note that when you use that, the resulting image can still be manually toggled by the reading person, using a left-click, to go back and forth between the assigned and the original widths. (You can test that on my example previously.)
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 07, 2019, 10:20:16 PM
Year 10:  The High Men Family Grows

The wind blew in gently through the open window, stirring a stack of papers beside him.  Celadon looked up from his ledger, where he’d been looking at the latest numbers coming in from the newly built mill to the northwest of Newhope.  The water mill was already proving itself to be a sound investment.  It’s ability to grind corn and wheat provided by the local farmers was proving to be a real boon to all the townspeople.  And it also had fueled the opening of two new bakeries in town, which were both producing nice tax revenue, as well as better rolls and biscuits than he’d tasted in the decade since The Calamity.

The roads to our farms out west are now busy with daily traffic, and the explosion of dairy farms there has lent itself to richer butter as well.  We’ve scarcely 5,000 people here in Newhope, but that’s five times the size of our city when we first founded it.  Gods, I can’t believe I was only twenty-four when we came through that portal!

The Mill had not been cheap to finance, but at this point, the royal treasury seemed to be holding up.  The growth in people had driven a growth in basic taxes.  The proximity to the river had also helped to generate commerce, as had the Craftsman’s Workshops which was busy building and selling furniture, utensils, and a dozen other simple luxuries to the people of the town. 

In fact, there was even enough surplus food that some of that was now being sold to outlying villagers.  We will need outlying trading posts soon, probably south and west from here, still on the river, but that won’t be for at least another year or two.  Still plenty more room for people to work in that mill district before it makes sense to finance a trade district or two up or down the river.  Honestly, we need timber at least as much as we need gold.

It was afternoon, and another handful of wagons was winding their way up the road from the south, bringing more loads of timber for the growing city.  The initial lumber camp was still running strong, and several more camps had sprung up near it.  The nearby forest now crawled with lumberjacks, who stayed busy harvesting the hardwood that grew so abundantly just southeast of the town.  That said, the forges and lumber mills of the town still reported surplus capacity. 

I really wish we could get that mining town established to the west of here.  Ah well, Northfield seems to be thriving.  There’s not much up there but farmland and scattered woods, so I suspect our kingdom will be getting plenty of our financing from the population growth up there, even if we get little else.  Truth be told, Northfield might grow to have even more people than Newhope, although it had nowhere near the resources to support the kind of production that Newhope was already starting to offer.

(https://imgur.com/ZQJG8Sv.jpg)

There was a knock on the door, and he raised his head.  “Come in,” he said quietly.  The door opened, and Galanthas walked in.  Behind him shuffled Father Venable, dressed in the more formal robes that he’d been wearing these last five years, ever since the completion of the Shrine.  He spoke with both men often, but seldom together.  Galanthas’ concerns were always eminently practical, while Father Venable’s tended to be a bit more… abstract.

"What can I do for your two gentlemen today?” he asked, balancing a cheerfully polite tone with the pointed recognition that he almost never saw the two of them together.

“Two issues today, my Lord.  First off, we’ve received a messenger from Lord Ventris.  Northfield’s annual census is nearing a count of two thousand, and the Engineers have only recently made the trip up north to begin construction.  They’ll be starting off with some logging camps near the river, and they’ll be laying in some farms after that.  Those two tasks should take the next few years.  In the meantime, the people up north are eeking out a living scrabbling in the forest. 

“They’ve also started an apprenticing program for young engineers up there.  That’s well along, and they anticipate that they should have a second troop of builders up and working the land within another year or so.”

“Good,” Lord Celadon responded.  He didn’t yet know how he’d finance the building of districts outside two cities at once, but the royal coffers had been kept well stocked for just such an occasion.  The additional treasure brought in from the various monster lairs and bandit dens in the surrounding countryside had been a large part of that.  Running a deficit was the only prudent way to grow a small kingdom at times.

“Construction of the new Library is recently completed, and Librarian Norman is now calling in the donation pledges from dozens of local families who had volunteered some of their personal texts and writings.”  Galanthas paused and gave a chuckle.  “I’d be lying if I understood exactly how Gaelius Norman plans to find any of those damned books once he’s collected them all and made copies, but I guess that’s why he’s the Librarian.”

Celadon chuckled.  Sir Norman had been the librarian in his father’s castle a decade ago, and he’d also been one of the young prince’s personal tutors fully a decade before that.  Friar Norman had always had a passion for books, which he’d worked hard to pass along to his young charge.  Celadon had developed a healthy appreciation for the power of knowledge held in words, but he’d preferred the challenges of sword-play, hiking, and hunting to those of the dustier pursuits that Friar Norman enjoyed.

I also had a sneaking suspicion that Norman never told me how he filed his books for fear that I’d read the war stories too often and get the pages smudged.

Galanthas continued.  “After that, we’ll be building the new Temple for Everlong.”

As if on queue, Father Venable picked up with the narrative.  “Our current Shrine is heavily trafficked, and we are almost bursting at capacity during morning services.  I’d love to be able to reach more of our people with Lord Everlong’s message.  And…” he hesitated briefly as though looking for the right words, then continued.  “And I think some more inspiring settings for the people’s worship might enhance the sense of Piety that burns within us all, my Lord.  The Church always struggles to avoid splendor for its own sake, versus splendor to focus the minds of our parishioners most fully on the task of Worship.  But the new Temple will look most magnificent, and I know that our renewed faith will empower Lord Everlong to bless us with further miracles.”

Truth be told, Lord Everlong had been blessing his minions more regularly these last two years.  Whatever had sapped him of his powers in the years immediately after the Calamity, he now seemed recovered from that.  The thoughts and prayers of his loyal worshippers played no small part in that, Celadon was sure.

Galanthas continued, “It’ll be another year or more before the Temple is built.  After that, the Small Church will come next.  That will prove a most worthy retreat for study and meditation among his most dedicated.”  And it will provide the training grounds for the first class of Warrior Priests we have seen since coming to this world. Galanthas was a devout man, but he was also eminently practical, and Celadon had little doubt that the arrival of Battle Priests would prove a great boon for the growing number of soldiers who toiled and bled in the name of Their Lord Evergreen.  That’s probably a good four or five years out, he thought, but it will make a real difference.

Changing the subject, he asked Galanthas, “How are the new troops fitting in?”

“The Dwarves are fitting in quite nicely,” he replied.  “They sharpen their axes more often than most of my men sharpen their own razor blades, but that’s not such a bad trait in infantry men.  They were quite helpful in cleaning out the troublesome band of Dwarf rebels to our northeast, so the peninsula is now largely pacified.  Other soldiers seem to come wandering through the doors of The Wayward Pony or The Righteous Taphouse often enough, but most of them are little more than bandits.  We have yet to find any new groups who seemed worthy of offering a contract to.”

As a nod to the quality of life for its townspeople, Newhope had raised its first several taverns a year ago.  The city planners had anticipated the tax boost that came from such business, but the taverns were also a magnet for soldiers and fighters from all around these wild lands.  Only six months before, it had brought Dirk Hammerhand and a handful of his lieutenants into town.  The Mercenaries had scarcely been in town three days before Galanthas had interviewed them and offered the Dwarven company a preliminary contract. 

The axemen proved a welcome addition to his three companies of Spearmen and the Musketeers who had joined their ranks six years ago now.  They had all proven instrumental in helping to clean out the last, toughest monster lairs within a hundred miles of Newhope.  This had opened the nearby lands up for settlement, while also yielding a steady flow of booty and resources.

(https://imgur.com/8o7eSm5.jpg)

All that was left was one last lair of monstrous Scorpions living to the west, near the far shore of this peninsula.  Their time was coming, but Celadon worried greatly about their powerful pincers and their tough, thick shells.  Casualties in this business are unavoidable, but I’d hate to see any of those companies wiped out.  They’re simply becoming too valuable as they grow in experience and reputation.

“Anything else?” Celadon asked.

The two men looked at each other awkwardly, which left Celadon even more confused than he had been when the two came in together.  “Yes, my lord,” answered Galanthas with an uncharacteristic note of hesitancy in his voice.  “We were wondering…  We think…”

Venables cut him off.  “You need to take a wife and produce an heir, Sire.  For the good of the people.”

Galanthas looked at Celadon guiltily.  The old warrior had been a teacher and a friend longer than he’d been a subject, and at last Celadon understood the awkwardness. 

The silence in the room began to stretch out awkwardly.

“That’s a subject I’ve been giving some thought to myself,” Celadon said at last.  “I’ve kept waiting for the right woman, but she’s had yet to walk through my doors.”  Truth be told, I’ve been too busy running this damned fledgling kingdom to worry about a wife, much less a girlfriend.

“Marrying for Love is a privilege that not all noblemen can afford, My Lord,” responded Father Venable gently.  “You are the last heir to your father’s throne in this new land with us, My Lord.”  My other two brothers died fighting the Daemons, and my sister fell to the Plagues that marked the beginning of The Calamity, thought Celadon, with an air of resignation.  Before the Calamity, I was second in line to the Throne, but my father trained all his children how to rule. 

Father Venable continued.  “If you were to die without an heir, succession issues… might tear this fledgling kingdom of ours apart, sire.  The handful of noblemen and leaders in Newhope and Northfield remain loyal to you, but taking a wife and starting a family might…” Venable paused again.  “...might discourage potential rivals or malcontents from emerging in the first place.”  There was a long moment of silence.  “Raising a child who is fit to be king takes at least twenty years, Sire.  It is time to start doing something about that.”
Celadon nodded reluctantly, but still said nothing.

“We have come up with a list of possible brides among the Ladies of the Town, if you would like, sire?” Father Venable suggested.  Celadon didn’t think that he’d ever seen Galanthas look more uncomfortable.

Truth be told, a number of the townswomen had… made themselves available to him over the last ten years.  Some were pretty, a handful were even beautiful.  Celadon had avoided entanglement with any of them. 

Truth be told, I was fearful of being able to remain a Good King if I also aspired to be a Good Father in these troubled times.  Celadon was a decisive man, and a very practical man.  He was surprised by how much that admission shook him.  Now it looks like, to remain a Good King, I must become a Father as well, whether I am ready for children or not.  His Father had often lectured all three sons on how to balance the responsibilities of Rule against the responsibilities of Fatherhood.  It was not a tension that many noble men even acknowledged, but their father had been different.  And so were his sons. 

Given all the difficulties they’d faced in the last ten years, taking a wife had always seemed like a problem best put off another few years.

Celadon spoke carefully.  “I agree with you that it is time for me to take a wife.  Or at least to begin formal courtship of prospects.”  He looked at Father Venable.  “Will it satisfy you two if I commit to be married by the end of next Summer?”  Galanthas reddened even further, but Father Venable only nodded.

Celadon took another deep breath.  “I think it would send a strong message to the people if we continued the traditions of old.  So much has changed, but I think an echo of things familiar would go a long ways towards reassuring people that our future is safe.  In selecting my Bride, I would adhere to the Tradition of The Maiden” 

In Old Elandria, there had been a tradition passed down since the birth of the kingdom, two hundred years before, that each King would take a commoner as his wife.  It was a symbol of the bond between a King and His People.  It also served as a bloody good reminder for any bachelor King to treat his people well, knowing that one of them would someday be his Queen, and another would be his son’s Queen.  And it kept him focused on running his own kingdom well, rather than pursuing dynastic ambitions by marrying into the competing families of nobles in nearby kingdoms.

The original Tradition of The Maiden, as declared by King Vandros, founder of Ellandria and First of Lord Celadon’s line, had been to marry a farmer’s daughter, a girl from the countryside rather than the city.  The exact definition of “commoner” had flexed over time, as kings changed and growth in the countryside had given rise to a whole class of wealthy, landed gentry.  But two tenets of The Tradition had not changed:  The King’s Bride must be the daughter of a man with no landed title, and she could not be from the capital.

Father Venable opened his mouth as if to object, then closed it again.  He clearly hadn’t considered this alternative.

It was Galanthas who broke the silence instead.  With a twinkle in his eye and a small chuckle, he only said, “You’ve taken notice of the eldest daughter of that fishing village’s Headman we visited last month, haven’t you?”

Celadon gave a start.  He had noticed her during the visit, and he had thought of her more than once or twice since then.  She was a pretty lass, to be sure, but mostly he’d been taken by her impertinence.  The village had been small and rustic, no more than 150 people in total, but when he had spoken to her for a few minutes, she had stood out from the other villagers, even from her father.  There had been a knowing playfulness in her banter that he’d found intriguing.  Not so much because she was drawing him on, but because she seemed amusedly indifferent to whether he was drawn to her or not. 

Good Lord, he thought to himself, am I falling for a girl because she’s the first lass who plays hard to get with me in a decade?  Then, in a shock of realization, Or is it because she’s the first girl I’ve met here who has not seemed submissive to me?  Who has acted Queenly?  He startled himself with that last question, and shook his head as if to clear it. 

He realized that the pause in conversation had drawn out longer than he had intended.  Galanthas started to laugh.  “Should we organize a raiding party to the village, Sire?  I’m sure we could have her back here in four days of hard riding?”  He could scarcely contain his mirth at his Lord’s discomfiture.

Celadon scowled at him, then started to laugh.  “I’ve barely met the young lady, Galanthas!  I said I’d start courting this year.  Not that I’d bed myself a wench and pop out an heir in nine-and-a-half months…”  He paused.  Then said quietly, “I hardly know her at all.  Might Mistress Thea have any insights into how I might come to know her better?  To court her…  without riding in at the head of a troop of cavalry and demanding her hand in marriage else I burn the village down?”

Mistress Thea had been a lady-in-waiting in his father’s court forty-five years before.  She’d taken a hand in the raising of all four royal children.  Though she was almost seventy years old now and among the eldest in the village, she had retained her sharp mind and a tongue that could cut to the heart of a matter in but few words.  She had also been responsible for introducing Celadon’s Father and Mother, and done much of the matchmaking that had resulted in their marriage more than four decades before.

Father Venable beamed.  “I’ll speak with her, Sire.  I’m sure she’d be eager to assist in whatever manner she can.”
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 09, 2019, 10:03:24 PM
Year 15:  Of Priests and Mountain Towns

“Father Dorian, please step forward.”

The young priest stepped forward.  In contrast to the more traditional members of his order, his ceremonial robes were pulled tight at his waist to allow freedom of movement, but they were still far more ornate than what he would be wearing into the field.

“Do you accept this charge from your King:  To protect your kingdom and your King, to fight his enemies and support his soldiers, and to serve your Lord Evergreen as a devout inspiration to all the patriots of our land?”

“I do,” the dark-haired priest responded.  He was thirty-two years old, old for a Battle Priest, but an appropriate age for their first commander.  The Battle Priests, by the nature of their job, were younger and more physically inclined than their fellow clergy.  Some in The Church argued that to accord them full priesthood was to devalue the efforts and trials of their less martial (and generally older) counterparts, but the Priests of Evergreen had been fighting beside the soldiers of Ellandria since the founding of their country two centuries before.

“By the power of the state, and with the blessing of our Lord Evergreen, I commission you to go forth, an agent of His Will and a channel for His Holy Powers.  So say we all.”

“So say we all,” responded the assembled audience, nearly a thousand strong, in the main town square of Newhope.

Battle Priest Dorian rose to his feet.  He smoothed out his robes, looked at his King, and then looked out at the crowd.  “I and my brothers swear to go forth, agents of His Will and a Channel for His Holy Powers.”

“So say we all,” droned the dozen priests lined up behind him, all similarly attired.  They all wore the same robes that he did, and all carried a similar looking mace strung in their belts.

The King stepped back, as did Father Dorian, and the crowd waited expectantly.

The Lady Brooke stepped up and began to sing.  Her voice rang out over the crowd.  Celadon felt goosebumps arise on his arms as her sweet, pure notes floated out into the afternoon air.  The Lord’s Benediction was a short hymn, solemn but inspiring, and her rendition of it was astonishingly powerful.  She hit the last few notes perfectly, her voice quavering in a way that he’d never heard from another singer in his life.

I can’t believe that she’s already the mother of two of my children, Lord Celadon thought wonderingly.  Their courtship had been a short but sweet one, and had ended in a joyful marriage scarcely seven months after his conversation with Father Venable and Galanthas.  He’d heard her singing to herself, and he’d been told by her mother and two of her sisters that she had an extraordinary voice.  But, until the day of their marriage, he’d never heard her perform.

It had been a tradition among her people that the bride always sang a song of celebration at the time of her union with a husband.  He had happily agreed to let her sing, as she had promised that it would be a short and sweet piece.  He was relieved to learn that he would not be expected to sing in response.

The rich, strong voice that had welled out of her that day astonished not only her husband, but nearly three hundred other notables who had crowded into the Small Church to witness The Royal Wedding.  Truth be told, I think the only people who weren’t astonished at that voice were the folks who had grown up with her in Merville, and knew the full measure of her talent.  I was worried that the cityfolk of Newhope would be slow to accept my Queen, who came from a smaller and simpler and smellier village than most of them had ever known back home.  That very first day, I think her voice won over many of them who had never cared much for me.  

***

Later that day, after the conclusion of the ceremony for the Battle Priests, Father Dorian and his brothers were assembled in front of the Church of Evergreen, ready at last to take their leave of Their King and Their High Priest.  Father Venable blessed them, the King crossed himself, the Battle Priests all gave a crisp salute, and turned to begin marching out the gate and away from the castle. 

“I’m sure that Beng and his merry band will be thrilled to welcome them into the fold when Father Dorian finally finds them,” Galanthas said thoughtfully.

(https://imgur.com/sdUAnv8.jpg)

The army of New Ellandria had continued to grow these last 5 years.  In addition to the 3 Spearmen, and the 2 Dwarven units, it now boasted a company of Bowmen and, of course, Beng himself.   The brown-skinned Hero had ridden into town almost 4 years ago.  He’d made a name for himself at The Wayward Pony his first night in town, drinking 3 of the Royal Guard under the table before bullseyeing an apple with his bow from 30 paces while riding on horseback.  I’d known some horse archers in The Old Kingdom, but none who could shoot as well as he even when they were stone cold sober.

Beng was a nomad and a wanderer.  His features would only have been called “Asiatic” in the Old World, but if there was a name for his people in this new world, he had not heard it.  He came from a tribe of Horsemen who lived a third of the way around the world, and had made his way to Newhope only after many adventures and more than one or two boat trips.  In a city which had few horses and no trained cavalry, Beng was a skilled Scout and a welcome addition to their troop.

While he held no official military rank or status, his deadliness with a bow, his toughness, and his natural talent for training less veteran troops quickly earned him a spot as the leader of Lord Celladon’s army in the field.  In town, he was a rogue and a good-natured miscreant.  Out in the field, he was a merciless foe who tormented his King’s enemy with harassing bowfire and endless hit-and-run tactics.

Beng had led the army that had cleared out the Scorpion’s Nest a scarce ten leagues south of the fishing village where Lady Brooke had been born, and then proceeded to lead the army South on their quest to explore and clear out the countryside to their South and their East.  As Lord Celadon’s troops had moved further away from the capital, the Monster Lairs had grown more fearsome. 
That also meant that the spoils from cleaning out such dens were significantly more impressive than they had been before.  A pair of Magical Robes, a batch of mildly enchanted Throwing Spears, and some magical Boots had also made their way into his vault over the last few years.  In truth, one of the Robes, the Boots, and the earlier-discovered Mace had all found their way into the hands of Brother Dorian and his monks.

Celadon and his advisers turned and began walking back towards the castle.  He turned to Friar Norman, who had joined them from the throng, and asked, “Any word from the caravan that set off for the mountains near the start of the year?”

Friar Norman had slowly taken over some of the administrative duties of the town, as Galanthas had grown busier managing a growing army.  That seemed to suit Galanthas just fine, as the tasks of the city had become more… administrative these last few years.

“They are halfway to their destination, and accompanied by a troop of our Engineers.  Scouts are already staking out plot lines, but we suspect it might take the settlers the rest of the year to reach their new home and put down stakes.  We’ve confirmed deposits of Iron in the mountains to the north of the proposed village site, but further surveys have also revealed that Farming might be… harder than we’d originally anticipated.  I think the Engineers’ first task might be clearing some of the nearby lowland forests to make way for farms, but that could easily take two or three years.  The site is rich with resources, but food is more scarce than we had originally hoped.  The Settlers won’t starve, but it might be a bit slower growth there than we’d originally thought…”  Norman trailed off in a rather discouraged tone.

“How goes our scientific research?” asked Celadon, in an obvious attempt to cheer the Friar up.  The Friar never tired of talking about research.

“It is going well, my Lord.  Working with some of the draftsmen and Master Builders, we think we will have the secret to improved roads figured out by the end of the year.  It’s really a combination of a few different things.  We’ve developed some tools and techniques to smooth out our roads.  And improvements in drainage will prove immensely valuable in helping to preserve the roads during the rainy season.  Improved roads will yield better travel times, but also allow more citizens to work particularly fertile or valuable tracts of land outside the city.”

Truth be told, Friar Norman and a number of the smarter heads in their village had already mastered several techniques which had not been seen since the flight to this new world 15 years before.  Improved irrigation for farms, along with newer techniques for preserving meats and drying fruits, had already bolstered food production and consumption in their growing kingdom.  Improved construction techniques for basic tools, along with significant improvements to the two man saw blade, had eased resource gathering in particular and timber harvesting in particular.  They were incremental steps, to be sure, but they added up.

(https://imgur.com/NdiZTAL.jpg)

The whole northern peninsula safe and secure, our first troop of Battle Priests marching south, a third city soon to be founded and 15,000 subjects in my realm.  Bless Evergreen, I couldn’t have imagined this on that first day when we came through the portal to this world…
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 15, 2019, 12:35:45 AM
Year 25:  A Modest Kingdom Arises

“Breggin, give the wooden training sword back to your brother!”  Lord Celadon’s voice was firm, but to those who knew him well, there was a hint of frustration there.

“But, Da, he hit me first!”

“I saw, Breggin.  He slapped you on the helmet with an open hand.  That’s not worth hitting him with a wooden training sword.  And besides,” he sharpened his voice, “that is a training sword, and not a toy!”

Lord Celadon was a man of authority, and he was used to having his orders followed.  He’d imagined Breggin would relent here.  “But, Da--”

“Put down the training sword, take off the helmet, and go to your room.  Tell your mother that you can come out after the 2nd Bell!”

Tears started to form in his younger son’s eyes, and Celadon raised a finger in a warning motion.  Preemptively, he shifted his gaze to his older brother.  “Darrin, if I hear one comment out of you celebrating what’s happened to your brother, I’ll have you shoveling manure out of the barn until you’ve filled three barrows of it!  Now begone, both of you!!  And Darrin, not a word to your brother.”

Breggin made it into the hallway before a tearful wail drifted back into the room.  Darrin threw a knowing smirk over his shoulder as he exited his father’s chamber through a separate door.  He turned to Galanthas.  “Was I ever that bad?  I mean, I know that me and my siblings fought, but Good Lord Above, didn’t we always have some reason why we got in fights?”

Galanthas chuckled.  “You always had the best reason, Lord.  You were brothers and sisters!  It’s better that they get it out on each other now, else they’ll be venting it on poor mayors and lordlings in another 10 years.”

“That’s not the kind of answer I was looking for, Galanthas,” he said sourly.  “Now, let’s get back to some problems that, if we can solve them, might stay solved for longer than a solitary afternoon.  Friar Norman, please give us an update on our fair capital!”

“Much to report, my Lord.  The latest census tallies are in, and Newhope is thriving!  The addition of those new Water Wheel districts have boosted industry throughout the countryside.  They’re driving increases to food production, to trade goods, and to production within the city.  The improvements to the farms just west of here lived up to our expectations from the research and design work that we did.  The irrigation in particular has given us better wheat production per acre, and also allowed the introduction of a couple additional crops we hadn’t had much luck with outside private gardens previously.  We’re now north of 16,000 inhabitants, and the addition of a Granary means that our birth rates have skyrocketed.  It’s amazing how much more the people can feed their families, when they’re confident that we have enough stored to make it through a tough winter!”

(https://imgur.com/dU2BBVl.jpg)

(https://imgur.com/8XZLq2V.jpg)

“Friar Norman, what reports do you have from Northfield, Twin Peaks, and Dublin?”

“Northfield is growing fast.  We’ll be north of 10,000 folks there by the end of next year, and we’ve got small scale lumber camps scattered around the country side.  I’m afraid that the forests there aren’t thick enough to really lend themselves to a steady flow of resources, but at least it’s given the lumberjacks’ families room to forage for berries and small game.  Our Engineers haven’t been able to keep apace with the population growth up north.  We’ll likely need to get some up there in the next few months if we want the people to stay gainfully employed.”

“She’s not yet our home for colleges, cows, and contentment, but she’s on her way,” Norman continued, and there were chuckles around the table.  There had been widespread agreement that each city needed to specialize in something, and Northfield had been the one they’d agreed should be a center for scholarship. 

“And what of Twin Peaks?” asked Celadon, a frown of concern crossing his face.

“Same as before, my Lord.  Food production there is far more limited than we’d originally hoped it would be.  There are some rich territories to be worked in the area, but there’s simply not enough food to draw the people we need to work those territories.  The fact that we had to settle on those damnably wooded hills if we wanted access to the Iron deposits we’d found has really gotten us off to a slow start. 

“We might not reach 5,000 people for another 5 years at Twin Peaks.  We’ve got two troops of Engineers down there to clear out some more forests to make way for fields, which will then give us a chance to establish another Farm district.  But it’ll likely be at least 2 more years to get that up and running, with both troops of builders working it full time.  That’s one reason we’ve already got folks foraging in the woods up in Northfield, and NewHope will face the same issues within a year as well.”

“Could we build a fifth troop of Engineers?”

“We could, but I don’t envy either the Food or the Gold cost it’ll take to keep them in the field.  Our work around Dublin should be done for the next five or six years, and the Engineers will be back to the mainland by the end of next year.”

“How goes things in Dublin?” Celadon asked.

“It’s growing fine,” Norman answered in a more cheerful tone.  “The river helps us with a bounty of fish, the forest around there is scarce, and we’ve got plenty of plains for farmland too.  I don’t think we’ll have any problem growing her to size quickly, but given the scarcity of thick woods on the whole island, she’ll likely be more of a trade center than she will a production center.  The townspeople just celebrated their 2nd Founder’s Day, and the town numbers almost 2,500 people now.  But she’s just getting started!  It’ll be 10 years or more before she’s caught up to where Northfield is today!”

Damn near 30,000 people, and our growth is finally taking off!  In most of our towns, anyways...

(https://imgur.com/aAKv4H5.jpg)

“And what of Beng’s Raiders?” Celadon asked, turning to Galanthas.

Galanthas gave an appreciative snort.  “It turns out this big chunk of land we’re on is a gigantic Y-shape.  Beng’s Boys have cleared out the northwest part of the Y where we live.  The stuff closer to the crossy part of the Y--”

“You mean the nexus,” Friar Norman interrupted.

“The stuff closer to the crossy part of the Y,” Galanthas continued, with a glower directed at the friar, “seems to be a bit more dangerous, and the lads have only cherry-picked the easier sites for now.  They’re heading back up the northeast leg of the Y, to see what they can find up there.  We know it’s narrow, from reports that those crazy Dwarven Ballooneers brought back five years ago.  For guys who claim to hate magic, those Dwarves sure are crazy about sticks that spit fire and sacks of hot air that let them fly.  Guess I’m glad they’re on our side!”

“In any event, it’s mostly wilds up there.  We’ve found a couple nice possible city sites across the Narrow Sea there, and it’s scarcely a month’s sail east from Dublin to reach the far shore.  Any cities we set up there will be awfully isolated, but we’ve found two or three locations that would make great sites for us to settle someday.  Just near to clear that area out first…”

“As I say, Beng and his men have been cleaning up the area a lot.  They’ve turned into a downright respectable Army, I think.  Seven full troops of men, six of them already veterans, and the last--Father Dorian and his Priests--aren’t far behind.  It’s bloody impressive the tricks that some of them have picked up.”

“Tricks?” asked Sir Celadon.  He’d heard some of the reports, but thought it would be useful for everybody assembled to hear all of them.

“Yes sir.  We’ll start them with Dwarven Musketeers.  Jaxson has taken over nicely for his father, Kormack.  And it turns out he’s lived up to his name.  He and his men have figured out how to cut notches in the side of their gun, so they can load shot and powder from the side, and it’s dang near doubled their fire rate.  Those guns have always packed a nice punch, but with the heftier rate of fire, they’ve become the best ranged units we have.

“Our Spearmen have all learned to hurl Javelins at enemies as they charge in, before they reach them for a melee attack.  Turns out they can even do it to enemies who are attacking allies nearby.  Ain’t nothing like a hail of 30 or 40 steel-tipped spears to slow down an onslaught of Goblins or Bandits!  Makes ‘em easier to finish off, once they’ve got 4-foot long wooden shafts stuck in their shields and their shoulder blades…”

“Not to be outdone, Killian and his Bowmen have figured out how to coat their arrows in pine pitch, light ‘em, and shoot at their enemies.  I hear the results are mixed, but it sure pisses the Trolls and the Undead off.

“Beng’s figured out how to work his way through rough terrain without missing a stride.  If he wasn’t already fast enough, he’s faster now.  In open engagements, I hear he’s driving them crazy riding out in front of his men and peppering enemies with bowfire as he rides circles around them. 

“Brother Dorian and his priests continue to preach to those who will listen and bash skulls in for those who won’t.  They’ve been doing a lot to heal the troops after some of our nastier scrapes, and it’s definitely showing up in the lessons that they’ve been learning.  They’re not veterans yet, but they will be soon.”

“What do we have to defend ourselves at home, while Beng and his Merry Men are out rampaging through the countryside?”

Galanthas shook his head.  “Aside from our town garrisons, not much really.  Got some of them crazy Dwarven Bomb Throwers down in Twin Peaks, and a freshly arrived batch of Horse Archers who were hired into Newhope just last year.”

“We aren’t worried about any assailants here on our end of the peninsula, then?”

“No, Sir,” Galanthas said.  “We haven’t seen hardly any raiding parties roaming the countryside, and we’ve thoroughly cleaned out all the monster lairs within twenty or thirty leagues of any of our cities.” 

He paused a moment, and Friar Norman spoke up.  “The monsters in this land seem remarkably sedentary, Sire.  They’ll fight you fiercely if they’re attacked, but few of them seem to venture far from their homes.  At least, not so far!  I’d rather get as many of these sites cleaned up as quickly as we can.”

Lord Celadon shook his head wonderingly.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if, after a quarter century of growth in our new home, we sent all our troops abroad adventuring, and a couple bands of Goblins just wandered in and laid waste to our whole kingdom?  Surely the Universe could not be that cruel?
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on August 15, 2019, 06:23:55 AM
"Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn?!"
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 15, 2019, 07:12:00 PM
"Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn?!"
Come on, Jason, he's not thinking anything that you and I haven't both thought at about this point in every 4x game we were ever playing for the first time! 
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on August 18, 2019, 05:02:55 PM
Of course, which is why that shock chord just rang in my head!  :2funny:
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: airboy on August 22, 2019, 07:13:16 PM
I need to sit down and read this.  I've been in a funk since my wife's illness.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 22, 2019, 11:45:35 PM
Year 36, A Kingdom Emerges

“Which of our six cities would you like to start with first, my lord?” asked Norman solicitously.

Celadon looked at him suspiciously.  Though Minister Norman was 8 years his senior, everybody on the High Council had been treating him solicitously in the year since what the Healers had referred to only as “his heart problem”.  I’m not a god damn child, to be swaddled and patted on the back until I burp, he thought.  But did not say.  But I think I am getting grouchier.  Maybe that’s why they’re treating me so gently?  I’m too young to feel this damn old.  Ah well, turning old is not for the faint of heart.

“I’ll let you pick,” he said, the edges of his mouth curling up in a slight amusement that was only half faked.  He was certain that Norman rehearsed for these meetings.

“Northfield is past 15,000 people now, and she’ll be at 20,000 in another 7 years.  She’s ripe in crops, but is still limited by modest resource production.  She’s quickly becoming the center of higher learning for our kingdom, in terms of technical research and magical research.  She should have her Magical Library finished in the next year or so, and after that, it’ll take another two or three years tops for her to complete the first Magic Tower in our land.  Within five or six years, we should have wizards joining our troops in the field for the first time!”

Minister Norman was beaming at this last statement.  He had never been a practicioner of the mystical arts himself.  But he’d always been a man of knowledge, and from the first, he’d championed the role of learning in this fledgling kingdom of theirs.  If he’d had his way, he would have pursued more technical research paths in the city structures raised across the kingdom.  But the decision had been made five years before to push for magical research and reach for wizards first, and it was a goal that the Minister of Knowledge had enthusiastically embraced.

“Dublin continues to grow,” he continued.  “She’s at almost 7,000 people.  We had to make choices with her about whether to settle arable farmland first, or settle the rolling plains and scrub forests first.  We opted for the scrub forests.  She might be a thousand people behind at this point, but the greater resource production means she’s been able to build more structures in her city center.  In the next few years, we’ll start getting a few more farms and commerce districts up and running in that farmland area.  I’d guess within another few years, she’ll be a smaller version of Northfield.”

“Twin Peaks also grows, but more slowly.  She is, in truth, the forge of our country, although she remains smaller than we’d hoped she would be when we’d first built her.  She’s just north of 7,000 people, but Dublin will pass her within the next few years.  There’s just not enough arable land around her to generate the kind of growth a thriving city needs.  We had plans for her to serve as the arsenal of our kingdom, and she is almost halfway done with the second troop of Swordsmen we’ll be able to field.  The Swordsmen are worth their weight in silver on the battlefield--they are far more durable than any other melee troops we’ve fielded--but we have so few of them.  It’ll likely be another 10 years Twin Peaks becomes the sort of city that we’d hoped she would be.  I think we all learned a lesson there about the importance of food stuffs for any young city.” In other words, you were so captivated by the vision of that iron mine to the north of the town that you forgot you’d need to feed your miners!  Ah well, as Norman says, lesson learned.

“Solen is tiny, but already growing at an astonishing clip.  She’s got rich fisheries just off her southern shore, and that has dramatically surpassed our expectations for early growth.  Building even a modest-sized dock will boost our bounty from the oceans there even more dramatically, and provide far more villagers a chance to fish those waters.  She lacks the iron mines that Twin Peaks boasts, but with the food surpluses she’s creating, she’ll have resources and production surpassing Twin Peaks today in less than 10 years.  Perhaps 5.”  Lesson learned.  It’s the food, my Lord.  It always starts with adequate food to grow a population base.

“Newhope continues to thrive.  She’ll have 25,000 people by the end of this month, and she’s adding another thousand every year!  She continues to lead all our cities in people, gold, production, and resource production.  We have enough advanced lumber mills churning out timber that she’s even starting to stockpile resources beyond what’s required to feed her production needs.

“Newhope is, of course, the spiritual capital of our people.  The fervent prayers of the people bring glory and power to Everlong in a way that we only could have dreamed of when we first arrived here 35 years ago.  Brother Dorian has taken command of our first company of Battle Bishops, and though they have only fought in a handful of battles, they have already exercised a decisive influence on the outcomes.  Lord Peng speaks most highly of them in his recent communiques from the battle in the south.”

(https://imgur.com/WNdC7Vl.jpg)

Minister Norman continued on, but for a moment, his voice grew faint to Lord Celadon.  It’s that damnable light headedness again, he thought, panting even as he tried to hide it from his fellow Council members assembled around the table.  It will pass.

“...so the Dark Elf citizens in Naes are producing some taxable income for us, and they are harvesting a modest supply of resources that we could share with other cities.  The town is even growing, if slowly, but the townspeople hate us.  We will never be able to raise more significant buildings there.  The city is and will remain a dirty hovel.  If we want to make best use of that land, when conquering future cities, we need to raze them to the ground and be prepared to replace them with cities of our own.”

Lord Celadon noted a concerned look or two, and a quick squeeze on his arm prompted the King to turn his head.
 
His elder son, Darrin, was looking at him with concerned eyes, but Celadon shook his head preemptively.  A meeting of the High Council is not the time to ring our hands over the health of a King who is growing older.

“That probably provides a good point for us to transition into a discussion of the war in the south.  Sir Kalinor?”

The grizzled knight leaned forward.  He’d been at the meetings for six months now, and as he’d grown more comfortable with the meetings, his own stolid demeanor had begun to emerge.  “The war with the Dark Elves go as well as we could realistically hope,” he said.  “Lord Peng’s army has proven itself more than a match for anything we've seen from the vile worshippers of Zinfek.  The addition of the Swordsmen, the Bishops, and the second troop of Musketeers has left the Elves with no answer.  After razing the Drow village in the north and defeating the army there, it has taken that army a little while to rest and refit, but they are again ready for battle.”

And we’ve replaced that unit of veteran spearmen with whom Galanthas had been traveling.  I told the tough old fool that he was getting too long in the tooth to wander around battlefields, but he’d stubbornly insisted this would be his last campaign.  I should never have let him go, thought Celadon morosely.  And why the Hell is my neck hurting now? 

“At this point, the only real challenge is that we need to build a strong enough army to defend Naes when Lord Peng takes his army into the field.  Those cursed Elves sent a raiding party towards Solen, but a rushed detachment of Swordsmen and the timely arrival of a troop of mercenary Dwarven Balloon Bombers was enough to supplement the local militia and the Elves didn’t even try their luck at an assault.  That band is now returning, but I suspect Lord Peng’s army will be able to cut them off and destroy the Elves’ forces piecemeal.”

(https://imgur.com/uKGuRFa.jpg)

“After that, there’s no reason to think that we can’t take each of the two remaining Elven cities.  They’ve simply not shown that they can stand with us.  If all goes well, we should have those last two cities cleaned out within the next three years.  There are some well-developed fields around both of the Dark Elf towns, and it’s my understanding that both New Hope and Twin Peaks will have settler caravans ready by the end of the war.  It may be 10 years before we have both city sites resettled and up and running, but the Elves’ days are numbered.  We can win the war even more quickly if...”

The pain in his neck exploded into Celadon’s head, and he lost focus on Kalinor’s words.  The next moment, he was on the floor, on his knees, with no memory of how he got there.  His son’s strong hands were under his shoulders, holding him up.  “Father, are you alright?”

“I…  I…”  The pain made Celadon’s head spin.  His advisors were quickly around him, and he was vaguely aware of a cushion being placed under his head as he was laid upon the floor.  “Kalinor,” Celadon muttered, “we must finish the war with the Elves before another rival reaches our shores.  One foe at a time…”

“Father, hush!” Darrin barked.  “Norman, go fetch Father Anson.  Tell him to come with all haste.”

The pain now had spread to his chest.  He remembered this feeling, but this time it was much, much worse.   “Darrin, he said, fetch your mother, and your brother and sister.  I need to tell them all how much I love them…”  He trailed off and closed his eyes for a moment.

“Father, stay here with us.  This Kingdom needs their King!”

Celadon shook his head slowly, a sad smile creeping across his face as he opened his eyes again.  “This Kingdom already has their next King, and he’ll do fine.  Tell our family that I love them…  Tell our people that I love them…  I am proud of what we have done here in these last 35 years.  Finish the Elves, my son, and spread the glory of Our Faith to the four corners of this new world.” I come now to stand by your side, My Lord Everlong.

Celadon’s eyes fluttered, his breath gave out a last rattle, and he collapsed back to the floor.  Thus ended the reign of Lord Nedwin Celadon, First King of New Ellandria.
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: FarAway Sooner on August 23, 2019, 11:40:05 PM
Man, Airboy was right!  4X AARs are really hard to right.  At least, not without getting really repetitive.  It's been fun writing this, but I unexpectedly landed a job with about 3 days' advance warning last week! 

That's great news for me and the whole family, but it puts a serious crimp in my gaming time.  I can actually start playing the game, or I spend the next two months writing this whole thing up to its epic conclusion (hint:  the Good Guys win, but it takes about 200 turns longer than it should have because I made some pretty stupid mistakes and a reasonably intelligent AI punished me for it quite decisively). 

I might still come back at some point and give an condensed history of the next 100 years of the Celadon Dynasty, but I'm going to pause for now and actually play the game a little while!  I will close with a few random comments.

1) The game play itself focuses around your deity much more than was reflected in my story:  What powers he has, what spells he learns, whether to invest mana in powering up your god or casting spells to help out individual units, what special abilities she has, etc.  I chose not to focus on that for the narrative because having a god for your main character just removes a lot of the tension you want in a strange story.  I also felt like those mechanics would be really hard to explain within the confines of the story.

2) I'm absolutely captured by the city development dynamic of this game.  It's quite deep if you want to go deep, but not so utterly complicated that you have to get a PhD in Civil Engineering to run a city.

3) I thought I had a really bad-ass army until I went onto Level 2 of a Dungeon for the first time.  I then realized I had a moderately bad-ass army with not nearly enough infantry.

4) I really enjoy how different factions play differently.  The game could still use a little more flavor (e.g., I wish the different schools of magic played more differently), but the developers continue to grind out new content at a regular pace.  I think I'll try being the High Elves next. 

5) I can only imagine what this game is like at the higher levels.  I was only about 1/3 of the way up the power curve here, and the magic items I had seemed almost trinket-like.

I may come back some time, but for now work and more gaming time calls.  Thanks for reading, guys! 
Title: Re: Deity Empires: The High Men
Post by: JasonPratt on August 24, 2019, 12:06:48 PM
That was a good place to end.  O:-) Compared well with the classic written narrative AAR "Book of Saxson" for the original Master of Magic.  :notworthy: