The Accursed Marshes
Map type: Eco-vasion
Malcolm looked around him. He smiled. 'Lord of the Marshes.' What a great title. He couldn't wait until it was his.
He looked down from on top of his keep. There was Captain Julian. Malcolm couldn't tell if he was loyal to him or not. He needed loyal people for what he was going to do.
Malcolm was currently the lord of nothing more than a small outpost, sitting on the edge of the Accursed Marshes. He had been sent by the king to rule it. The last lord had failed to bring the king the resources he wanted, so the king had replaced him. Malcolm's smile grew bigger. He had been the perfect one for the job. He knew the king would chose him over the other man. Suddenly Malcolm frowned. The truth was that the king would have chosen the other. Malcolm knew it. But he couldn't miss this opportunity. He had been only a poor mercenary since his rich father had died, leaving all his land and money to Malcolm's older brother. Malcolm wouldn't lose this chance.
So he had killed his rival. Well, he hadn't killed him, he had hired an assassin to do it. He had hired Farid, a stupid Arabian. Very stupid. Malcolm tipped off the palace guards at the last moment while disguised as a poor farmer, then went and killed Farid after the Arabian had finished off his rival. He had looked like a hero, been treated like one, and was soon the Lord of this small place, known as 'The Accursed Outpost'. They called everything accursed because of those who lived in the Marsh. He would finish them off. He had to. That was his job.
* * *
There were four captains: Julian, Matthew, David, and Timothy. They were all loyal to the king. But that was not what Malcolm wanted. He wanted them to be loyal to him. They couldn't stay. He would replace them with his own men. But they would be too suspicious if they were just sent away. Besides, David knew. At least, Malcolm thought he knew. He would have to go before he told the others. But how? Malcolm couldn't get away with killing him in cold blood. No... but he could execute him. For what? Murder! Yes, Murder and thievery! Soon Malcolm's first enemy would never be able to talk, to tell anyone what he knew.
* * *
“Murder! One of the treasury guards have been murdered! The other is badly wounded! Five bags of gold have been stolen! Murder!”
Malcolm smiled. The first phase of his plan was going well.
“Bring me the injured guard!” commanded Malcolm. Soon the guard had been brought over and laid at Malcolm's feet.
“What happened?” questioned Malcolm, bending down.
“It was dark out... I saw a... a shadow... little... a little darker... it came... and... and killed my friend!”
The guard coughed and spat out a bit of blood, then continued with his story.
“It... it... turned to me... and...” The guard suddenly started coughing again, and spat out more blood. “It slashed my shoulder and... and chest... then st... stabbed me... in the stomach... but missed a little.... I... I lived... then it took some gold... I grabbed it arm... it turned... it was David!”
Everyone gathered around gasped. David? Captain David? He couldn't be serious! It must be a different David...
Malcolm smiled inwardly. Everything was going according to plan.
“Ca... Captain... David.”
Malcolm stood, and turned to David. “You did this! You killed a guard, attempted to murder another, and stole five bags of gold!”
“That's a lie!” shouted David. “You can search my chambers, there is nothing there!”
“We'll see,” said Malcolm. He turned to his guards. “Men! Search the Captain's chambers!”
Malcolm was getting slightly worried. If the guard had failed to do this right...
“Lord Malcolm! We have found the gold!”
Malcolm sighed inwardly with relief. It was all fine. He turned on David, whipped out his sword and yelled, “You're a traitor! All traitors must DIE!” Malcolm stabbed David's heart, killing him almost immediately.
He turned to the guards. “Dispose of his body,” he commanded, then walked up to his keep.
Only three more thought Malcolm. Only three, and then I shall have all I ever wanted once the People of the Marshes have been killed and the king pleased.
* * *
Malcolm led his troops into the Accursed Marshes. He smiled. His plan had gone well. The guard had done everything he had asked of him, and the old healer's red dye had fooled everyone. The guard had died from his wound. Or at least everyone thought he did. What people don't know can't hurt them. And now he was leading his men into these marshes. If he was lucky the enemy's defenses wouldn't be too hard to get through, and their army too hard to kill. He would just have to wait.
He almost laughed out loud when he saw the amount of men he would have to kill or capture. This was the army the People of the Marshes could muster? This would be easy. Once he killed whoever was in charge, the rest would probably fall easily.
An old man wearing a black cloak and holding a twisted walking stick came over, followed by a few more men also in black cloaks, holding swords and shields. The old man looked up.
“What is you want?” he asked.
“Only a few things: some pitch, stone, iron, and land.”
Malcolm drew his sword. “If you do not give me it, I'll kill you and everyone here, then take it all myself.”
The old man lifted his hands. Fifty archers appeared out of the trees.
“Put the sword back, fool, or you will be useful for nothing more than target practice.”
Malcolm slowly sheathed his sword.
“Now back out of these lands and never come back. The next time we see you, you will not be spared.”
Malcolm turned slowly, then suddenly whipped out his sword and stabbed the old man right through his face, shielding his own face with his shield. Fifty arrows went straight at his head. They slammed into Malcolm's shield, knocking him off his horse.
“Attack!” roared Malcolm. All of his knights raced at the archers, while the enemy soldiers screamed into the forest: “The high priest is dead! The high priest is dead! Kill all of the heathen warriors!”
Hundreds of enemy swordsmen swarmed out of the marshes. Malcolm's knights fought fiercely, but would soon be overwhelmed.
“Retreat!” yelled Malcolm. “Retreat! Back to the outpost!” His knights turned, riding back through the mountain pass. Crossbowmen jumped out the forest, firing into the bloody mass. And, as Malcolm rode back, he saw his chance. There was Matthew, right in front of him. And Timothy was not too far ahead. Malcolm raised his sword, and swiftly killed Matthew. Nobody noticed. Nobody except one. Julian saw it happen. And suddenly he knew what Malcolm was doing.
Malcolm rode harder. He couldn't miss this chance, this one chance. He raised his sword, preparing to strike.
“Timothy!” shouted Julian. “Timothy! Behind you!” Timothy turned and saw the blade. He raised his shield just in time. Malcolm's sword bounced off the metal.
“Men!” yelled Timothy. “In the marshes!” Timothy's band broke out of the wave, riding with him into the forest. Malcolm looked around with rage. He only knew one thing: kill Julian.
Suddenly an arrow hit his horse. It fell on top of Malcolm, crushing him. He looked up. Blood was covering his eyes; he could barely see. He couldn't move. He couldn't breath. He gasped for breath. Nothing came. Finally an enemy soldier come over and stabbed his spear through Malcolm's heart. Malcolm died then, never to become the Lord of the Marshes. Only the cruel, ambitious ruler of a petty outpost.
* * *
Julian looked out of the window of the keep. He was the new ruler of the Accursed Outpost, as the only captain to definitely be alive. He didn't know what to do. He turned to the other window and looked at the mountain range far to the northeast. Suddenly he knew what he would do. He would do what Malcolm had been sent to do. He would do it even better. And he would save Timothy, or if Timothy was already dead, he would avenge him. He would do it. He couldn't fail.
* * *
Zayn, the new High Priest of the Marshes, looked out of the ruined tower that was used as the high priest's chambers. Those fools that had come into his lands, had killed the old high priest, and had rode into the marshes killing those who got in their way would die. He would send word to Lord Shadi. Lord Shadi would send men to kill those heathens. And he, the High Priest Zayn, would also send men. Horse Archers to kill the knights that entered his realm, and knights to kill those that got away. The heathens would die before the end of the month, every last one of them!
Hey everyone, this is my newest map, the Accursed Marshes! You'll get a few large invasions and a ruined castle full of enemies to kill, and a fair amount of resources to gather. You'll have to deal with fires, bandits, diseases, failed crops and thieves. Hopefully it will be a challenge, if you need hints I can give you them, if it isn't hard enough I can update it. I hope the story doesn't have any problems as I used a new type of HTML tag. Anyway, have fun!
And thanks to
Artofmath and AZ ViTrAzhAs
for playtesting my map.
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Hey von Schmidt, my first review of one of your maps. ;)
So before I start I see that the score may be rather low, but don't get any wrong impressions this was a wonderful map and I enjoyed every aspect of it. So the map was really enjoyable. I think it was a really good idea to make it an eco-invasion *thumbs up*. So I played the map twice ,but I'm not going to post the strategy, so I don't ruine the experience for others. Rather I'm going to write about the weaknesses of the map. The first one was that I had no problem conquering the map. I really don't used the soldiers round the trebuchets, rahter I placed them near the signpost as a little surprise. In my oppinion the map wasn't perfectly balanced. Although there were lots of raids and attacks if you start in a nice way you quickly grow to a major force. I think it was a big mistake to make one of the sides of the castle impassable. I just moved my soldiers to the right part and made it strong as hell. The economic goals were pretty good and reasonable. I just made the time ;)
Well as in most maps the playability of the map is tightly connected with the balance. If for some reason the enemy is too weak or you have an unfair advantage (like terrain) it's really easy to beet almost everything thrown at you. There is not much to write here I recomend conducting lots of playtests (there are tons of experienced players) and get everything better next time.
Well I have to say that this was a map I haven't seen in a long time. An eco-invasion. Im giving you full marks mate because most of the designers are somewhat affraid of economical maps because they don't seem to get much dl, including me :D. But your map was outstanding and really interesting the marshes (of course) where the biggest eyecandy and I think they were a great idea.
Map Design: 3.5
I have to say that this map was a bit to fantastic and unreal when it came down to the landscape. The earth wall infront of my castle was really unnatural. It may have been pilled up by soldiers there mate but it's kind of silly dowing only one side :( Most of the rives looked kind of fake, some of them suddenly stoped other came out of nowhere (or stoped im not sure :D ) But in order to have an awesome map I think the oldschool Crusader with it's rough landscape and edditor are the best choise. Parts of the terrain suddenly ended (imagine what it will look like if the sahara suddenly became green lands full of trees and such) it just doesn't fit. But even though the terrain was out of place I still think it was perfectly modeled and made.
The story was really interesting and I think it went really good with the map.
A godly map for me this was. :D
A great fun challenge! Very good design. Some panic speed movements, some careful thinking times, some well planned rush attacks. This game is lots of change and variation. I have many different strategy choices, which is lacking in many other games. And on top of all fighting, the player always need to think of economy development. It took me a few tries to manager the start of the game and a few more tries before I could do the economy right.
I think maybe initial enemy knight attack can be too hard for most players, but it is possible and actually possible in more than one way. There is also excellent balance between defence, attack, and economy. Focus too much on defence and you will have trouble in attack and economy development. Focus too much on attack/economy and your lord might get killed. When forget to keep your people happy, you get big economy trouble later.
There are three large empty flat areas (east, middle, and inside my castle). Maybe add something in those. Hills, roads, rocks, creek, oasis… anything is better than just flat emptiness. Also, why make the cliff at end of my castle so much square? Why not make it more similar to mountains near the enemy castle? All the water looks artificial. There is no flow of water in or out of the map. The big tower with many blue archer have no access. Maybe add small gate next to it? I really like the enemy ‘castle’. Lots of details. A little annoying to find iron mine places. I would prefer to place iron on map only in places where mine can fit. Desperatly searching for iron mine places is not fun, challenging or strategic value. Just plain annoying.
Engaging and a few surprise twists make reading enjoyable.
Nice to combine challenging defence with tight economy development. Also requiring a decent attack mission before economy can run is very good design.
This is not for beginner. It take some patience and time and careful thinking to win this one.