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“Warlords 3: Reign of Heroes” Hints and Tips – Part 2

by on Feb.24, 2010, under PC Game Hints & Tips, PC Retro Gaming

Part II: Extracts from the Chronicles of Orinocho the Mad.

“West Gate”, Kival (8 DarkLight, 1237 SE.)

“We passed through the lantern lit gates of Kival just after dusk and, after charging our men-at-arms to stay out of trouble, Jungenrol, Granitethize, Greavus, and I headed to our usual haunt for an evening’s ‘entertainment.’ It was during our wanderings that Greavus questioned us on how the Sirian’s viewed honor and diplomacy on the battlefield?.”

“Diplomacy in Etheria usually consists of short-term treaties to provide security and support, with the acknowledged understanding that a treacherous betrayal from either party will be forthcoming in the near future. It is based on a number of issues but is primarily determined by how strong your army is and the proximity of your soldiers to your opponent. If you’re close enough to empty your latrine buckets into the enemy camp, you can be pretty sure that race relations are going to deteriorate rapidly. The unfortunate effect of this is that your immediate neighbors are likely to be your most threatening foes, however there are a few strategies you can follow to improve your position.

Be charming (offer alliances) to opponents who are further away from you; at this time, they probably consider you about as dangerous as a mange-afflicted Care-BearTM and they probably have their own troubles closer to home. You can also improve your standing in their eyes by attacking a foe they are currently ‘in dispute’ with. Is Lord Bane razing their cities and spreading social diseases amongst the inhabitants? Beat up a couple of the Dark Lord’s stacks to boost your appeal and possibly garner a (temporary) alliance.

 Your immediate neighbors should be dealt with ruthlessly and with all possible haste. Deal with one neighbor at a time (most threatening first), screening your other fronts with defensive garrisons and reaction forces. once you’ve captured enough of his war making potential, raze a buffer zone of cities across your front; with luck he’ll consider other nearer cities more lucrative targets than your own, and waltz off to irritate someone else.

Diplomacy in the campaign game can be treated somewhat differently in the early chapters. The truth of the matter is that the first four chapters are quite winnable in around 12-14 turns. In these early stages, it’s usually a good idea to decline any ‘allied’ victory, just to give your heroes experience points in putting your ‘friends’ to the sword (remember the Diplomatic Mantra: ‘A friend in need is a sitting duck!’).

In the latter chapters you should try to keep as many friends as possible (the chapter briefing will give you a good idea of who’s ‘flavor of the month’). For example, in Chapter 8 you need only take on Gildus and Lord Bane; in most situations the remaining protagonists tend to bludgeon each other into mutual annihilation by the time you get to them, and the ones that don’t will be too exhausted to carry on with the conflict.”

“During our passage through some of the dingier areas of Kival, our Lordship was contemplating the defensibility of the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets should an invader manage to breach the walls. At this point, Granitethize puffed up her (not inconsiderable) chest and began to expound at great length upon the salient defensive works in Kival?.”

“Cities are the economic heart and soul of your empire; they provide the necessary finances to support your army whether it’s to salary your elite units or pay off the local breweries’ debt collectors after the odd feast. It is around these sites that most of your battles will center, so I urge you to pay attention to my following thoughts.

Many captured cities do not support the types of armies that you can utilize (or they specialize in some of the more esoteric and useless formations like the Self-tossing Dwarf Battalions of Upper Munster). Upon capturing these cities, the best strategy is to sack the stuffing out of them, then buy the unit production that you need. If the city is in a vital sector of your front, you might wish to keep the city walls in better shape; in this situation, perfidious pillaging may be a preferable alternative. In the campaign game, I rarely found any cities offering useful armies after the fourth chapter so feel free to sack, pillage and rapine your way across the kingdom. [Quoting an advertisement in a journal of war(gaming), “Bert the Barbarian reminds you to pillage then burn” – Ed.]

 Build up key cities by purchasing better defensive walls; the extra fortress stack bonus can sometimes mean your eyeballs won’t be used as garnish for your besieger’s Walled-dorf salad. Garrison your border cities with large teams of belligerents; if an army isn’t bound for some siege, battle or religious festival, keep them within the walls where they can benefit from the extra stack bonus. Sites provide improved peripheral additions to key cities and units recruited within; however only the more valuable ones that provide combat bonuses (usually shrines and blacksmiths) should be kept under guard.

While the esteemed City-Bank might offer tempting returns for your investment, there’s no reason to horde your money unless you’re playing a custom game and gold counts for VP; you’re better off using it to purchase more powerful army production or upgrading walls. In the campaign game, only several heroes and magic items make it to the next chapter and any gold you still possess will become the property of the Imperial Revenue Service at Chapter’s end; make use of the money while you still have it.”

“Our discussion was interrupted by the ringing hooves of a fine white stallion cantering down the cobblestone street bearing a grey cloaked form. It turned out to be the famed Elfish Wizard Samilaril (known to the Sirian Knights as ‘Grand Elf the Grey’) mounted upon his legendary steed, Similefax. After some cordial greetings, the elf informed us that many other Sirian Knights were also making their way to the tavern and we decided to proceed to our destination as a group. As we continued, Sir Jungenrol began to cite many of his past glories, rapidly boring us senseless with dubious stories of fierce dragons, their hordes of treasure, the fair maidens they routinely tied to trees?and how gosh-darn grateful the maidens were once they were rescued. Granitethize, whose attention wavered at the best of times, began juggling her brace of throwing daggers in wide, wobbling trajectories (unfortunately our warrior maiden was never the most accomplished juggler; the last time she performed at a ceremonial banquet in Highguard, she managed to accidentally “assassinate” most of the rival Horse Lords sitting at an outer table). Samilaril, observing the densely packed streets thronging with passers-by and wishing to avoid a major health insurance pay-out, removed both hands from his robe and, gesticulating wildly, transformed the deadly blades into a brace of gravity defying pork chops, attracting the attention of most of the scrawny dogs within a two block radius. In an effort to placate Granitethize, who was looking daggers at the elf, Samilaril began reciting some of the more ancient tales of the elfish heroes of the ‘Age of Terror’ several centuries ago?.”

 “When you first obtain a fledgling heroine, don’t send her off on her own to get skewered by the first trip-wire spear trap she encounters; assign a couple of armies to support her until she gets promoted a few levels. Search the multitude of ruins scattered across the land as often as possible for gold, magic items and allies; contrary to popular belief Archons don’t possess green cards and can’t be found delivering pizza in city back-alleys. Any allies found should be shunted off to the front to earn their keep. Assign them to your most powerful stacks; in most Etherian battles, 90% of all combat is performed by a handful of army stacks (the rest of your army usually acts as a replacement cadre for these elite formations).

Questing is a useful but nebulous pastime; it can garner you a lot of experience points (XP), but the points to time spent ratio is usually not that generous. The easy quests don’t yield enough XP and the difficult ones are just plain time consuming. In many cases, persistent offensives with hero stacks can generate experience quicker than performing a ‘Goose Lady Immaculata of the Order of Scantily Clad Virgins’ quest. If you must indulge in questing, pick one that can be accomplished quickly; the average quests appear to be the most balanced.

In the campaign game, always enhance your three best heroes with quests and extensive combat as only this trio of anabolicly charged individuals will return in the next chapter. As their individual talents will be best utilized leading hero stacks, use your second string heroes (recruited during the chapter) to investigate ruins.

Not all magic items manage the transition from chapter to chapter; as a good rule of thumb you can expect a random three to four items to make the dimensional jump. To avoid losing your ‘Oar of Awe’ (+8 Naval Movement) in favor of the ‘Widget of Whimsy’ (+5 Diplomatic Daintiness) select the items you’d like to keep and drop the rest before the chapter ends; with luck (and there is no guarantee) you should end up with those articles in your inventory at the next stage of your campaign.

After many trials and tribulations, your experienced heroes will eventually gain a level and all the perks and privileges that go with it (key to executive washroom not included)?but which enhancements should you choose? Morale and Leadership usually pay off big dividends in the form of stack bonuses. If your hero stacks are already generating modified combat values of 14 or more, Fear can also be a powerful addition (especially in the latter campaign chapters when Lord Bane shows what he has stashed under his robe!). Finally, as heroes tend to move a lot slower than most armies, increase their movement ability to keep your hero stacks more mobile.

Magic is another acquired hero skill that merely functions as another means to enhance or penalize your armies’ abilities. As most spells are self-explanatory in effect and the optimal time to utilize them is obvious, I won’t expand upon this aspect of heroes except to recommend some of my favorites. Berserker gives each army an extra die-roll in combat; while it won’t enhance their combat values, it does increase the chance of obtaining a hit. Its high mana cost does make its use highly selective, though. Invisibility will allow your hero stack to wander aimlessly behind enemy lines sacking and pillaging to your heart’s content. Finally, Augury will allow you to randomly expose portions of a map ‘shrouded’ in fog; obviously this is only useful in battles where ‘fog of war’ is active.”

“The Wanton Wench”, Kival (9 DarkLight, 1237 SE.)
“It had been a fine evening fraught with strong wine, immoral debauchery and lusty singing. The barmaids had retired with some of the luckier patrons, the barkeep was stone drunk under the counter, and the jugglers were making their way out of the tavern, many of them bleeding from their hands and quietly wishing that they hadn’t taken up Granitethize’s bet. Around one of the larger tables, the older (and more unattractive) knights were still awake. Having failed in their endeavors to grab themselves a wench, they began to clamor for the retelling of the Bane Wars saga, and the valiant deeds of the Sirian Knights who were responsible for the Alliance’s victory. I’ve included an abridged version of the saga below for your edification?.”

 Chapter 1: Marthos Siege
“The initial stages of the siege should involve the capture of the four southern cities (Duerkoth, Wayreth, Corhallia & Stagshead); they’ll be lightly defended by neutrals and Lord Bane will be more interested in the towns within the Northlands and Heartlands. Make sure you investigate the accessible ruins to acquire allies and extra gold. Wait until you acquire three heroes before taking on the City of Marthos itself; the allies they provide should counter the fire elementals and demons Lord Bane attracts in the interim.”

Chapter 2: Uniting Agaria
“Screen your northern borders with the Therians and send your armies east across the Barton river (the Therians will have their hands full with Lord Bane and should cause you little trouble initially). Make sure you send a hero south to investigate the two ruins. Expand rapidly across Agaria, making sure that you antagonize only those opponents who stand in your way. The city of Barthel is a good stepping-off point for your latter offensives against the Gildines and Elenians later in the campaign (the shrine here offers a useful blessing for your legions).”

Chapter 3: Free Selentia
“The Trarg to the south can be an initial nuisance; screen them with your Galtruor garrison until you’ve subjugated Lord Bane’s enclave around the Desolia Hills and the neutrals to the north. After you’ve defeated Trarg, sweep south of the Desolia Forest in the center (make good use of the Dark Shrine at Wraithwall) and along the south shore of Iean Bay. In the endgame, Lord Sartek will probably be your most threatening opponent due to his powerful armies and strategic position. Finally, watch out for the skilled marines on-board Selentia and Princess naval units!”

 Chapter 4: Alfland
“Your initial task is to subdue Alfland; tackle them quickly before they can expand and force you into a two front war. The neutrals here are quite weak, so send your heroes off to scout out the many ruins in the area. If you can locate some flying allies, you should be able to clear the area south and west of the Alfheim Mountains quite rapidly. After this your economic base of cities should be enough to finance an offensive north against Lord Sartek and Lord Bane, finishing off your glorious campaign by tidying up the Orcs at game end.”

Chapter 5: Silvermyr
“The first mission with a concealed map, it is, nevertheless, a fairly simple chapter to complete. Follow the paths through the woods, assigning a hero to each stack to take out the neutrals along the way. Lord Sartek is situated to the north-west and due to his limited room for expansion, should be targeted first; it’s quite possible to kill him off by turn 5. From this point on, sweep slowly southward tackling each opponent in turn. Make good use of vectoring to get your armies through the forests and mountains rapidly. A word of warning: although you might not move quickly through forested regions, many of the opponents can; watch out for sneaky enemy maneuvers through these regions!”

Chapter 6: Crossing Ar
“As with most of the early chapters, eschew pointless diplomacy to enable your heroes to garner more experience through combat. The Dog and Goat Tribes will be your first targets and should put up minimal resistance. After this initial skirmish, it’s usually advantageous to attack Lord Bane in his right flank as he expands east and leaves his vulnerable, minimally defended cities behind his spearheads. Screen the Forest tribe (who usually expand towards the River Carbo north tributary) and the Horse Tribe to allow you to concentrate on Bane. You are advised to be wary of his hero stacks; some of them can pack a nasty surprise in the form of Fire Demons and Dragons!”

Chapter 7: Duernoth
“The Mines of Duernoth can seem a daunting proposition at first glance, but there are a few simple strategies you can follow to capture the Dragonshard. Keep your eye out for hidden ruins; they normally appear in the form of trapdoors when you approach their vicinity. Work your way north through the mines, capturing the twelve accessible strongpoints south of the Duernoth River. The key defensive position is the bridge leading directly into Hengehall. Position a powerful hero stack here to block any enemy offensives. Placing the hero stack on the south end of the bridge will force any amphibious assaults to be launched from their boats, knocking off a few combat points as well as blocking the only access to your strongpoints. At the same time send a hero stack along the Gate Stream to the east; they should capture and raze a few fortifications there before vectoring back to the main body as they don’t really have the firepower to withstand Lord Sartek. With your empire protected, it’s a simple matter to send out your spare hero stack to raze Sartek’s citadels one by one.”

Chapter 8: Burn the Ports!
“Capture the coastal towns to Avadain at the mouth of the Tirianin river. Head north with a hero stack and eradicate Lord Bane’s presence towards the Mountains of Death. Check out the local ruins to locate flying allies or magical items. Use a hero stack to fly south to subjugate Lord Gildus’ forces on Griffon Isle. Try not to peeve the High Elves or Ragnar’s Tribe and they should remain positively aligned until game’s end, making useful allies in your battles against the darkness. Use naval movement to perform ‘hit and run’ raids against distant cities. Most, if not all, of Lord Bane’s holdings west of the River Ehlariel can be razed to the ground; the dozen or so you control will be sufficient to provide you with the armies required to win this conflict.”

Chapter 9: Death Awaits!
“Spread out and explore around your starting areas; there are some nice ruins nearby! Your first mission should be to link up both enclaves to minimize the frontage you will have to cover. Advance a hero column along the west edge of the Mountains of Sartek to take the towns and ruins in the area. Your second column should march along the Lietia Forest road while your remaining hero crosses the Deathspring River and heads west towards Durbul. Send a scout along the western shores of the Lake of Blood to reveal the map to the north; the other forces in the western enclave should mass near Kival and march on Durtarion if possible. Vector a hero into Skullguard Keep if you wish to explore the ruins. From here on it’s a war of attrition. Lord Frellen will probably become your biggest threat and most opponents will be merrily razing cities left, right and center. Leave Gharedlun and Graww alone; they will eventually stab you in the back, but until they do, enjoy their comradeship.”

Chapter 10: Bane’s Citadel
“The final battle of the Bane Wars once again makes use of the choke-point strategy used in Chapter 7. Capture the five citadels within the Barbican and site a powerful hero stack on the south end of the River Morphia central bridge. Scout out the four towers south of the river for allies and extra gold. The bridge defenders should be able to withstand three to four large assaults each turn, allowing your other heroes to start razing the enemy citadels deep in their rear. Throughout most of the game you will be outnumbered; it is vital that the bridge defenders hold out to the last man!”

“Mausoleum Hill” (10 DarkLight, 1237 SE.)
“At the hill’s summit we dismounted and stepped forward to survey our surroundings. on the horizon the Deathskull Mountains beckoned, heralding the accolades, glory and treasure that would be ours in a few weeks time. I examined each of my companions in turn and knew that their expressions mirrored my own: lust, excitement, power, greed, bloodlust and terror intertwined around our collective souls. Maybe there is more to life than endless slaughter, enduring sieges and limitless power. Maybe the songs of heroic deeds, feminine conquests and drunken binges shouldn’t be sung within our hallowed halls. Maybe there is more to life than being a Warlord. Then again?maybe not!”

©1997 Strategy Plus, Inc. (reprinted with permission)

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4 Comments for this entry

  • RodentDung

    Good yarn. I took a liking to the lively medieval lingo jollying up your walk through. I am stuck like a pig in a fence on the Duemoth mission and hope your wisdom will help me out on my next (like 7th) attempt at that beast of a mission.

    To the bridge it is then…

  • Calmer Llama

    Crikey, it’s been over 13 years since I last played the game. Let’s hope I wasn’t high on powdered substances when I wrote that piece! Seriously though, good luck with Chapter 7!

  • anon

    Calmer: well, you published it on Feb.24, 2010. And let’s hope an employer researching you doesn’t stumble on your “substances” comment.

  • Calmer Llama

    It was republished here in 2010 as you stated; however the original work was written in 1997! In any event, I don’t believe excessive sherbet consumption is cause for termination in the workplace 🙂

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