Deity Empires: The High Men

Started by FarAway Sooner, July 17, 2019, 01:18:01 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

FarAway Sooner

(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.

"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..."


4x AARs are hard to do.  Best of luck.

I own the game but have not played it. 


I for one welcome the new high men overlords!  :D
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!


Great game and great AAR so far!
"You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend."

Romulan Commander to Kirk


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.


Quote from: airboy on July 23, 2019, 11:11:11 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.

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.
"You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend."

Romulan Commander to Kirk

FarAway Sooner

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.

FarAway Sooner

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.

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.


Me: the gfx in this game are just a little dire...


:bd: :notworthy:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

FarAway Sooner

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. 

FarAway Sooner

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."

FarAway Sooner

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, " 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.

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.

"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."

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."

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.

FarAway Sooner

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?  :)


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... this.

ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

FarAway Sooner

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!)