Introduction to the world of Redwall:
Information on the world of Redwall, which is composed entirely of human-like animals, can be found in the description of my Mossflower Woods Freebuild upon which this mission (and the sequels) are based.
This mission, Germaine's Request, is the second of a four mission series which describes some very important or interesting periods in Redwall's history.
Abbess Germaine's Diary excerpt:
All the goodbeasts of these woods are so helpful to us. Ever since Loamhedge fell to that dreadful plague, we have not since been able to find a home. Thanks to Martin's help, and his followers, we have been able to begin building a new home.
We shall call it Redwall. It is a name we have imagined from the look of the stones from the quarry north of here, which are quite red in color. Sandstone, it's called, or at least that's what Foremole says.
We are almost finished with the main building, but we do need the walls before things will be completely finished. A great deal of stone is needed for that project so we will have to quarry more of it. I advised Martin yesterday to begin harvesting great deals of food, if we're to build an abbey where we can all live, it will need food aplenty, so that nobeast will go hungry until we get our own gardens and orchards.
Martin has been worried of late, though. He says that vermin bands have been seen in Mossflower, and he worries that our small group of fighters may not be enough to handle them all. We may need more fighters to prevent being overrun.
I admire Martin. His ability to lead is beyond impressive, more like, unbelieveable. Oh, the candle's gone out. It appears I am done. I don't want to write long in the dark.
This mission is quite hard, and intended for experienced players. However, it is still possible on the Very Hard level.
To play the other missions in this series simply click the links:
The Great Redwall Feast
The Rise of the Scourge
1: Those palisades are useful for forcing the bandits to attack from specific points where you can funnel them into your awaiting soldiers.
2: Build at least four ox tethers per quarry, I'm not joking.
3: Use the food consumption on/off options to better manage your apple supply.
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Germaine's Request is a lovely scenario to play, with lots to do to keep you interested despite having only two win criteria - stone and apples. As pleasant as the scenario is, and as relaxing as the Mossflower Woods clearly are, this is a tricky scenario to beat if you don't set your stall right at the start. The stone requirement is pretty huge but absolutely necessary given that you are building the Redwall Abbey. Do not underestimate just how many ox tethers you will need. You should also be aware that the stone quarry by the Abbey is purely visual, so look elsewhere for a source of stone. Bandit attacks are frequent and menacing even with your settlement area walled-in for protection. A smattering of events throughout helps to keep the tension levels high. As a scenario, everything works exactly as it should and the result is a highly enjoyable, very addictive and a smooth map for those who like a bit of a challenge! Really good work by Lord Tanthos.
With an almost uninterrupted landscape at mostly low plain terrain, placing apple orchard isn't a problem. Meeting the apple goal is reasonably straightforward enough, but I did make full use of the extra rations option to offset taxes initially and generate much needed gold to manufacture weapons. The stone is much more of a task and I ended up with seven ox tethers per quarry. This may seem like overkill but those lumbering beasts do take their time and with a time limit in place to gather the required goods, I didn't feel like taking too many chances. The map was also tricky in other areas; there is no marketplace, so selling surplus stock is out of the question. You have ale and taverns available to give you a very healthy popularity bonus but little else to generate gold. I thoroughly enjoyed playing a map without having to resort to the marketplace, and this is equally enjoyable given that Redwall Abbey was, as far as I can remember, completely self-sufficient. When you weigh up everything that is asked of you to win compared to what you have at your disposal to achieve it, the result is a supremely balanced and devilishly tricky scenario, which is exactly the sort of thing I like to play.
It has to be said that this is a wonderful creation of a landscape and terrain based on the Redwall series of books by Brian Jacques. The books do contain some maps as is usual for fantasy-based works but the detail is more panoramic rather than detail. The map, therefore, is largely the work of the creative mind of Lord Tanthos based on reading the books and extracting detail from the stories and the effort here is nothing but commendable. There are some wonderful elements of design modelling included too, which I will refer to in Map Design rather than duplicate here, but there is something quite special about this map and, no doubt, the other maps in the series. It makes such a nice change to see something that isn't based purely on large-scale battles or elaborate castles, fortresses or strongholds. Once again, high quality work.
Map Design: 4
It is usual for landscapes that are predominantly flat to be ridiculed and calls for 'more height' or 'more features' to be included. This map is more or less based on the lowest plain and there are large areas that are quite empty and even bare. The additional terrain features, such as rocks, marshland and trees/shrubs are used sparingly in places, but it works fine for me. Offset against these other less developed features are some really lovely design features. The construction of Redwall Abbey is almost like a secondary part of the map and the stone quarry and ox tethers are separated from the map by what I assume is 'frozen' rocks using the 1,000 stone trick. The Abbey really does resemble a construction site! There are some lovely areas of apple trees separated from the farms (not sure how you did those, Lord Tanthos, but I want to know!) and the area of boulders to the north east of the map is particularly well done. There is a strange little feature near to the signpost to the south west of the map - a few lowered palisade wall tiles and an area of marsh that is very minimalistic but looks very appealing. All in all, there is an undoubted quality to the design, in keeping with other areas of the scenario as a whole, and i'm quite inspired to take a bold stance myself and design something without cliffs, without raised terrain and quite simple features. Germaine's Request is inspirational!
You would think that having several books based on the same landscape would provide you with an abundance of material to use. This is partly true, but extracting the information needed to suit a scenario in the Stronghold editor is another matter altogether. The content is just right, not too long or overbearing, and the story is simple but readable, appealing to the younger players as well as those older in the tooth! The few hints and tips included are very useful too and the whole story/instructions aspect of this map is completely in keeping with the nature and style of the books (which, I might add, I also heartily recommend).
This is a lovely scenario to play, suitable for many skill sets and levels of experience. A highly polished affair from start to finish, and incredible that nobody has reviewed the map until now. Highly recommended on a summer's day with some 'vittles' to your side: I recommend the strawberry cordial and the Deeper n' Ever Pie! Read the books, you'll understand!!
[Edited on 03/31/08 @ 05:27 AM]
Thanks very much for the review on a very old submission, Sulis!
In reply to your query about the apple orchards, I'll tell you how I created them.
I used the 3x3 magical eraser to erase the apple orchard hut, and then just used the normal map eraser to remove the individual trees. The result, once you place some sand and stone lining, is a beautiful apple tree planting.