Mission1: Reuniting Kernave
Posted on 12/30/08 @ 12:40 PM (updated 01/02/09
First mission of the "Fighting the Inevitable" campaign.
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It was a dark and moody day, when knights and noblemen gathered in the green valley of Siesartis. They all mourned Duc Dangerutis - the ruler of Lithuania. Many men attended, as whisper echoed in the valley.
-He was the reuniter in great urgency.
-He was a terrific warrior... Yet he always seeked peace.
-The land was indead peaceful after Voluine.
They stood and watched, as Duc Dangerutis' body was lit and turned to ashes in flames. Then a young woman started pouring sand on the remains of the Duc. The men began to sing, as they watched flames ease. Then finally the flame was extinguished, the men started bringing weapons and jewelery into the burial ground.
Suddenly a young man broke through and dropped a golden necklase into the sand, while whispering something silently. As he was doing that, two men approached him. One was a scarred man with a patch on his eye and a burnt arm. The other one was an old yet strong man with long grey hair. The old man spoke:
-Always nice to see you, Mindaugas.
Mindaugas raised his head with bitterness and anger in his eyes.
-It's a shame that...
-No, it's just war,- Mindaugas said.
-It's a travesty,- the scarred man interrupted the old man. The Bulevichs should have ended that conflict.
-Yes, but Mindaugas shouldn't have killed Vismantas.
-That stupid and arrogant scoundrel shouldn't have sieged that county. Mindaugas is not of the peaceful and kind-hearted type... It was destiny, Zhivinbudas.
-Yes, Daujota, but after that murder all of his brothers intervened and the land confederation was destroyed.
-It was ment to be destroyed. Kintibutas and Vanbutas were fihting with Bickshis, Ligeikis was sieging Erdvilas' castle,- Daujota said promptly.
-Yes, but, while we quarel amongst ourselves, the crysaders are looting our lands. The Livon ian Order has sent a massive army to Zemaitija. The Ducs have left Vykintas to fight off those murderers alone,- Zhivinbudas shouted nervously. If he falls... We're in grave danger.
-Enough,- Mindaugas said loudly.
And with that Mindaugas left the two men, jumped on his horse and rode of in the midst of a fog.
He rode fevershly not understanding why, but he senced something was wrong. And then he reachted Kernave, he saw the grim sight of a massacre and fire devastating the villages near Kernave. Suddenly a blooded man ran out of the forest screaming. He saw two Viltenis' spearmen chasing him(he could tell that from their orange uniforms). Mindaugas rushed over and stabbed them. The blooded man screamed out:
-Thank you, my Lord!
Mindaugas retreated to a nearby hill and started gathering men and resourses.
Your mission is to crush the enemy forcies in the area and raise 3000 gold for the rebuiltment of the county. Duc Viltenis' forcies have taken over all the trade routes and a village west of Kernave. Try to take this key points before charging to Viltenis' castle on the other side of the river. Also you must find Vilikaila. He once challenged your uncle for this county, but after suffering a devastating defeat he hid out somewhere in the forest. Find him and kill him.
1. Try to kill all the enemy troops in the county before the attacks get more serious.
2. You must clear all the road blockades and kill Vilikaila first, since stone is held in that area.
3. Gather stone in order to raise gold. Stone is the only thing you can sell.
4. You don't have to take Viltenis' castle, but you know: offense is more fun than defense.
In 1201 the crusaders of the Livonian Order founded a town on the coast of the Baltic Sea. They named it Riga. One year later the pope has established the military Christ kinght Order, which had to fight the pagans. Soon the Order conquered all the estonian and lettish lands. By 1207 the Order had started attacking lithuanian and other baltic lands. Reacting to the posed threat Duc Dangerutis and the other Ducs formed an alliance in order to repel the invaders. The first treaty between the Ducs has been established in 1212. The best well-known is the 1219 "Voluine" treaty between 21 Lithuanian Ducs and 3 powerful russian Ducs. Dangerutis power spanded through a big teritory, but soon a great opposition arouse to his power and the lands collapsed into civil war once more. Mindaugas was the man who continued his uncles' mission in reuniting the country.
Personality: Duc Viltenis Bulevichius "The Rat"
The only surviving son of Eitvilas Bulevich. His age is circa 45-55 years. Like Duc Dangerutis he has also tried to form alliances in order to save the land. Although he was a bad warlord, he gained many allies and friends (including Duc Karijonas). After the deaths of his three brothers(Vismantas, Edivelis and Sprudeikis) he started single-handedly controlling all of Dainava. He has vowed to find and kill Mindaugas, since he has killed all of his brothers during a conflict between his brothers and Mindaugas with Duc Dangerutis.
Counties marked in the orange colour belong to Duc Viltenis Bulevichius "The Rat"
Counties marked in the yellow colour belong to Duc Norgaila Rushkavichius "The Snake"
Counties marked in the red colour belong to Duc Karijonas "The Pig"
Counties marked in the black colour belong to Duc Vykintas "The Wolf"
Counties marked in brown are neutral.
The Black cross shows, where the mission is held.
Other things in the map are explained.
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Reuniting Kernave (updated version) – an exceptional, epic map.
In this mission, two special concepts await the player right from the start. That of "estates" he or she has to conquer, and that of serious restrictions. It's all there already in the first question, where to place the granary. In the first attempt, I chose a location near the keep and got some of the hunters shot from across the river. Had to consider the map. Only hunting is possible, the herds of deers swarm all over the lands. So it's helpful to place the granary and the hunters' posts not into an edge of the map. But in its middle the workers also get shot: By the soldiers of hostile villages as well as by their hunters!. For some time, you're nailed down into your close homeland with 24 or 32 peasants. You can watch some huts and posts getting empty time after time when the workers had come into the deadly range of the enemies. Accordingly low is the starting popularity which immediately confronts you with another dilemma, the care for gold. The market is open for stone only, and to get this resource you have to battle first.
Slowly your army grows. You have to lead the troops back and forth, to attack and clear a village or an outpost and next to defend your own town again. Here we have a concept many of us appreciate at Stronghold 2, the estates. Hardly a map for SH1 or Crusader succeds in creating such an epic feeling (as far as I know - "Telyn, Guarding the flank" comes to my mind). A colourful table of the Baltic provinces is provided to increase the idea. Just the yellow state is pink in-game. Every part of the lands conquered allows your hunters to walk around more safely, and more hunters to swarm around. What a joy to watch them working unpunished.
In the far west a big bridge is well defended and requires a lionhearted charge. The surviving troops may push forward and conquer the second estate from where nasty wood cutters and hunters come and may disrupt your production. When the pink Lord is shot one request is fulfilled. And the second part of the mission can begin. (Of course it's advisable to silence the third village, too.)
Still you are nailed down in a certain sense. In the economical system all levels highly interfere, so the system keeps being highly endangered. The aim is 3.000 gold, enormous for such a poor settlement as yours is. To raise gold effectively, the only chance is to occupy 3 quarries and ever more ox drovers. So there's need not only of more hunters but soon also to set rations on half. What about popularity? Let's place good things, for which you need gold, therefore stones ... You see the circle? Exciting. Have played the mission many times, and never without the granary running out of food several times. Alert phases. Which type of workers do you want to disband first? This hits the stomach.
Towards the end of the game conditions become stable. Time for minor corrections and for watching the landscape and the rows of hunters and oxen.
PS: On average I had some 60 hunters and a population of 104. Once tried to use more than 100 hunters before placing the quarries and to abandon good things instead. Well, suffered shortage of food nevertheless. Bandits ruined the popularity, fires broke the chain. And nothing was left of the anyhow few and limited measures to respond with.
You have your usual enemies, the invasions. Bandits and fire events are thrown in, too. But there's much more to struggle with. Visible are the hostile villages. And soon the various restrictions reveal themselves: As weapons you must rely on bows only. At the market you can only trade stone, imagine. Worst of all, for food you've got only hunting. And please notice: you cannot replace the granary!
As a result you have to fight on all the vital levels of the game: against different enemies, for popularity to keep staying above 50, for the income of gold to train archers. The pieces of meat become precious. Sometimes you have to wait a long time before you can get the next gold to train new archers each of them becomes very valuable, too. Had 14 bows in the armoury and could not spare money to use them. On very hard, I clicked on my defenders after every invasion, sorted out the severely wounded and grouped them into the second line.
The only flaw point are the later invasions. After an appropriate increase of attacking forces they become rather ridiculous in the period when the settlement has reached a point of saturation. Then some occupation on the good old fighting front would help holding up the tension.
Both concepts work well and deserve admiration.
Certain strategical points are to conquer, often neighbouring keeps that don't turn to your side. The new areas are needed for resources, wood and – above all – stone. On the surface this resembles the attractive concept of estates in Stronghold 2.
Seldom I saw a map with such a number of restrictions. This challenges the player a lot and leads to the very core of the game.
In landscaping the middle area is original.
Map Design: 3.5
The landscape looks quite diversified and interesting. Different shapes and surface colours obviously illustrate the different estates. Originally modelled are the waters meandering into the side valleys. Likewise the middle section where rocky edges encircle marshy hollows. Placing wood cutter huts in that area is exciting. A careful job.
The idea of stone quarries in enclosed hollows is nice. Also there are different types of forests.
I disliked the big plain area south-east of the keep and the huge cluster of marshland. Bushes, scrub and little stones are missing. The big river on high level is questionable.
As for the villages, the moved and curved walls are good, providing a natural impression. These settlements appear a bit poor on the inside. At least the western one deserved some buildings for illustration.
The win condition works well in the updated version. The conditioned win message that comes with the victory is atmospheric.
The various messages of different characters, one aftre the other, in quick succession, felt confusing.
The story is lively. The explanation of the historical background explains the outline of the map and boosts its feeling. On the other side, the political map of the Baltic States contains more countries than the map imitates. And the number of rulers confused me in matching who was meant to be who. The Rat for example has two settlements on the map.
This map is not "easy" at all. A special challenge and fun for every dedicated player.
There's a recent Crusader invasion called "Mountain Pass" which also plays through the restriction almost to hunter's post solely. Found it interesting to experience the clear distinction between the games. While in Stronghold 1 you sometimes fall to starvation, in Crusader reigns abundance.
[Edited on 01/20/09 @ 03:19 PM]