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The Dead Rise Here

Author File Description
Captain Diablo
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Difficulty: Hard
Made with version: 1.2
Greetings, everyone!

As I wrote on the forums, I'm taking some time during quarantine to revisit some old hobbies, and Stronghold was definitely at the top of the list. It's been ages since I've touched the editor (9 years in fact!) and it felt good to play around with it once again.

My goal here was to create a realistic looking marshland and design a unique economic scenario wrapped up in an invasion. Basically, you have to secure enough money to buy stone and construct a church; reaching 75% blessing is the only way to stop the repeating waves of Undead from overrunning your castle!

To accomplish this, you must focus on getting the pitch rigs back to work and digging out the marsh that's eroding the castle walls.

Once the Undead have been silenced, you can focus on the economic task of extracting enough pitch to fund the trip back home. Further tips and tricks can be found in the map description itself. True to my record, there's a very specific order of actions that must be discovered and taken to accomplish your mission; I'm a little rusty at the game so it may be easier than I think, but it gave me a solid challenge until I figured it out.

Without further ado, here's the story! Good luck and have fun!


From the journal of Lord Adinet, regarding the incident of the undead encountered at the Ebonmond Marshland.

January, 1070

Lord Fulcher, my uncle, has gone missing.
For six months, we have heard no word from the trading post established in the Ebonmond Marshland, where Fulcher was stationed. More ominous still, no runner sent to Ebonmond has returned home. The worst is feared. The King--my father, and Fulcher’s brother--has requested that I investigate the marshland and search for our Lord’s whereabouts. Additionally, we are to secure the trading post and remove any trespassers present therein.
To speak true, I care little for the land itself. I pray simply we find my uncle alive.

February, 1070

My retinue has been gathered, and our supplies are stored. We set off to Ebonmond on the morrow. My son, Terricus, has insisted on joining me. Though a loyal knight and skilled warrior, Terricus is still but a young man, with a young man’s foolish thirst for adventure. Would I be so lucky to witness him transform into a wiser figure! I will have to watch over him carefully in our search for Fulcher. The rest of the men are steadfast warriors of the King’s Guard, veterans all. I do not foresee any trouble in overcoming whatever obstacle lies before us.
A curious (but not wholly unwelcome) addition to our caravan is Brother Anfroi, a monk of the church. I do not know much about this man--far less than I am comfortable to admit--but he is vouched for by my father, the King. Anfroi says that he is to provide knowledge of the countryside should the need arise.
I suspect his presence here is related more to the matter of funeral rites, but I dare not confirm these suspicions. I must believe Fulcher is out there, somewhere.

March, 1070

Our departure from the King’s lands was met with little fanfare. I can only assume that our quest is a secret one. Terricus is a marvel of camaraderie. It’s taken no time for the rest of the King’s Guard to gell around his character. As such, the men’s spirits are high.
Anfroi remains cloistered in his wagon. I know not what he does. Only, these strange stick contraptions have appeared hanging from his transport. Every morning, a new stick figure. I do not like looking at them.

April, 1070

We’ve arrived at last to the Ebonmond Marshland by way of the Sinking Road. Whatever earthworks were built up in the last generation have fallen into disrepair, if not outright ruin. The going is slow. Our wagons continually get stuck in great patches of mud. To make matters worse, our horses have grown anxious, though the source of their anxiety seems hidden to the eyes of men. The lone exception is Anfroi’s horse. Perhaps those stick figures really do possess some magical quality?

April, 1070

It has only been a few days since my last entry, but I feel compelled to write on a recent development. We have noticed ruins out in the mist, ones that were heretofore unknown to our scholars. Anfroi speaks at last. He says that these lands were once ruled by a forgotten people who vanished without a trace. When I asked if the appearance of these ruins could be connected to the disappearance of my uncle, he did not answer.
This land is quiet, yet our sleep grows uneasy the closer we get to the Ebonmond trading post. Nightmares rob us of rest. Let us hope that they remain in our dreams.

May, 1070

We have arrived at the trading post.
No one is here.
The central hall is abandoned, the walls eroded. The marsh itself seems hellbent on overtaking us at every step. There is evidence of battle, but there are no bodies. Blood stains the walls of my uncle’s estate. Terricus remains hopeful. The foolish naivety of youth!
Lord Fulcher, where are you?

May, 1070

I am beginning to question my sanity. After what we have witnessed this day, I have not the words to describe my horror. In the event that we perish here, however, I must at least make the attempt.
One of the men heard scratching sounds coming from the granary. Upon unlatching the door, we were faced with the object of our quest.
Lord Fulcher himself. Only, it wasn’t my uncle. It couldn’t have been my uncle. He lunged at the nearest man and tore a hole in his neck. With grace and speed befitting a knight of our King, Terricus severed the head of this fiend. I am ashamed to say that I was paralyzed in my shock. I was supposed to watch over Terricus, not the other way around.
Anfroi rushed in behind us, bellowing that he must tend to the dying man. Instead of healing him, however, the monk stuffed a wooden cross down his throat.
I’m tired. I will write more later.

May, 1070

After some rest, I’ve come to accept Anfroi’s advice.
We must stay here, even though it almost assuredly means our death. The King was aware of the malicious presence in Ebonmond, and sent Anfroi to cleanse the land. However, one monk alone is not enough. It will take the involvement of the diocese to properly secure this cursed marshland, which means a payment of gold and stone. In the meantime, we must fend off whatever monstrous apparitions attempt to stop the cleansing ritual.
We have a lot of work to do.

AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Stratego Hi Captain Diablo,

Totally frustrating! I was overrun and struck down even by the second invasion of the "Undead", right from the start. What did I wrong? Food in the granary was out and I wasn't able to get the popularity up anymore. To amass gold in a reasonable way was an issue as well.
Captain Diablo
File Author
Hey Stratego!

I can't remember if I wrote hints in the map description, but I'll write some things here in a (hopefully) non-spoilery way.

As you've astutely pointed out, popularity, gold, and food are the three resources you'll need to juggle throughout the mission. You'll have to correctly identify which of these three you can sacrifice at any given time in order to support the other two.

Try to look at the map holistically: you may need that well, but do you need it *right now,* when the small gold refund might do more good in the short term? Similarly, although you need to generate pitch, do you necessarily need it before the church is complete and the invasions stop?

As for popularity, this mission is a bit atypical in that you're not trying to rapidly grow and expand; you're dealing with a small pop count, and can afford to dip into the lower 50s. Treat popularity as a resource you can "trade" in for extra food and gold.

Edit: Speaking of popularity, did you know that you only net -1 happiness with max good things, low taxes, and half rations? Interesting, yeah?

Does anyone need those gallows around, really? What about the redoubt position to the southwest?

Dig early and often, with every available man. Focus on repairing the outer wall first.

Once you begin purchasing stone for the church, something helpful will happen.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. I was worried this map would be too easy after taking so long a break, lol.

[Edited on 08/27/20 @ 10:19 AM]

Stratego I'm sorry to inform you that your hints don't help at all ... there's no way neither to repel the invasions nor to stop them.
Captain Diablo
File Author
Okay, here's the first few things you need to do:

-Sell pitch, buy stone
-Use archer / spearman / good bandits to dig out moats
-Delete well and the redoubt to the southwest
-Build good things
-Set food to half rations
-Set taxes to low taxes

You can also relocate the pitch rigs to be closer to the keep.

The rest is just up to micro. :)
Stratego Uff, blood, sweat and tears ... you won't believe it ... I've finally made it! However, disregarding your hints, I tried a different strategy ... maximum taxation throughout the entire game (cruel taxes), deleting the granary, building a church as quickly as possible making the invasions stop immediately ... accompanied by a persistent trade of wood/pitch, and eventually the collection of pitch completed by a small contingent of just three pitch diggers after having disbanded some of my spearmen.
Thanks a lot for such a clever concept you have put into a magnificent map! Congratulations!
By the way, I would not tear down the well, as you may need it towards the end when a fire breaks out!

[Edited on 08/27/20 @ 02:20 PM]

Captain Diablo
File Author
That's awesome! I'm so glad you found another way to beat it! Thanks for sticking it out, and please leave a review if you feel inclined. :)
Map Design4.0

What shall I say? I‘m torn between two ambivalent emotions: frustration and enthusiasm. I confess, in my first attempts of tackling this scenario I got deeply depressed, as didn’t figure out which primary steps had to be done in the right order and not to be overrun by those nasty enemy hordes. To put a stop to the repeating invasions the only way is to build a church including 75% blessings. This achievement goes with the purchase of stone through the sale of different goods as wood, apples or pitch. This map promises a high level of playability as micromanagement is needed to completely fulfil the main quests on your proceeding towards victory.


Once you have beaten this crucial race against time, your position will be secure and furthermore the pitch quest will no longer become unattainable. The author has composed a finely tuned eco-invasion displaying a complex variety of strategic thinking, compelling you to incite all your Stronghold skills, and not to fall down desperately. A successful finishing depends on your staying power and ability of reacting on various unpleasant events like plague, bandits or fire. To say nothing about the fact, that you are not allowed to produce or trade any kind of food.


Captain Diablo obviously hasn’t unlearned yet how to create a marvellous Stronghold map in spite of his long absence for nearly 9 years! Here you may find all the aspects and secrets Stronghold is about; both an excellent usage of the game editor and a clever presentation of map designing embedded into a vividly written story are forming a unique masterpiece!

Map Design:

If you are looking for a marshland scenery, then this one will represent a classic example of that category. You feel included into a waterlogged barren landscape, where no trees are growing, where agriculture is impossible; a spot of land, totally saturated or soaked with filthy waters and mud. Some scattered ruins or dilapidated houses witness those former hopeless attempts of settling there. You are facing a small circular wooden fortress in the centre of the map with a few preset buildings, as the keep, the granary, a well, an armoury and a fletcher’s workshop, surrounded by squalid palisades on eroded soil. And far outside in the misty bog there are three pitch rigs waiting for the diggers to come. All these things together depict a very dismal atmosphere, perfectly done with love to the details!


Somehow, the description reads like an excerpt from a historic diary. An ingenious concept with some hidden hints being implemented into the storyline, underline the author’s exquisite talent as a map maker.

Thanks for an unusual and demanding creation!
Captain Diablo
File Author
I'm blown away by the kind words, thanks Stratego. :)

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