Return to Hell - Solium Infernum Game Diary, Part IV
By MARK WILSON
Contributors: Me, Rhasgaz and Richard
Turn 31-35 (Rhasgaz)
Everyone is finally back from the Crusade in Heaven, and I don’t think anyone died fighting angels. This means everyone now has a pretty decent legion because we all get merit badges for fighting God. I upgrade my legion to 3 movement which is awesome. I’m feeling pretty good about taking the Gardens and angling toward Flatline to put pressure on him if he excommunicates, since that is how he is posturing at the moment. Meanwhile Flatline bought 4 more legions, and someone else the Iron Maiden.
Generic Landlord takes the Garden back, and blocked the easiest path to Flatline. This makes things much trickier, I demand supplication but it fails. And right then, Celesto plays a charisma machine. This guts me. I was only able to do 2 other supplications before this hit, and I have barely any tribute to get my stats back up. GL lost his Infernal crusade legion to an event, and I get Fausts Contract to help counteract the charisma machine. I go up in martial to get better combat cards since Flatline hits Pandemonium at turn 35, becoming a heretic.
Turns 30-40 (Celesto/Mark)
Didn’t I say I’d be ruling Hell or dead by Turn 40? I was right.
So Flatline used his considerable resources to buy a TON of legions. Not a huge deal, and with the carpet I could still pick off things as needed. Combined with the Juggernaut Ritual and my combat cards, even his fortified base was in danger.
After this display, Flatline predictably made a play for Pandemonium and took it. No huge worry, since he had a bullseye on his back.
Rise of the Machines
During this time, I also got my 6th Order slot, built a Machine (a massively debilitating move that reduces enemy stats), and pilfered my way to parts of two more Machines, getting me very close to building a 2nd and 3rd Machine.
My stats were almost entirely maxed out, and I had resources for days to cast any of the Rituals I’d need.
I was prepared to attack Flatline, wipe him off the face of Hell with Juggernauts and destruction rituals for about 4 Turns straight (~24 individual Orders).
The Ritual Ban
The first big blow was the ritual ban. Flatline hit me with a 3-turn ban on high-level rituals. This prevented any Juggernaut rituals and those that would slow him considerably. Still, I only had to wait a few turns, at which point I’d have to strike quickly, but could still take out his capital with the carpet and Juggernaut + combat cards.
And then I did some math wrong.
One of Flatline’s Juggernauts attacked my capital. I had accounted for this, and my defenses were in place to survive.
What I didn’t account for was a second mega-legion making the journey to give combat support (which means half of its stats transfer to the attacking legion), giving him just enough to eliminate me.
See, I figured that with literally everyone bearing in on Flatline, he’d have to leave some of his units to defend. He had a bunch of them, but the one that provided combat support was staring down Richard’s forces.
I was stunned. At the height of my power, with Machines and resources waiting to unleash, I was struck down.
This is a capricious game, but a good one.
My revenge was a flurry of Destruction rituals that helped take out one of Flatline’s biggest Legions. Not much of a consolation prize, but a taste of what I might have been able to do if I had survived.
Flatline was right to take me out when he did, though. I would have been a scourge for the rest of the game, and frankly think I would have been the favorite to be able to take and keep Pandemonium.
Turns out, Flatline’s hubris did cost him. A couple turns after I died, Richard took him out. If he had defended his borders with Rituals a bit more, he might have retained Pandemonium. Flatline’s campaign against me may have been what cost him. Instead, the two (arguably) most powerful archfiends on the board both got removed in about three Turns.
Richard lost his most powerful legion to the Orb of Oblivion in the attack that took out Flatline. The Orb essentially makes your guy a suicide bomber. Effective, but sacrificial.
Still, with his early extra Order and some resources stolen from Flatline, Richard is probably in the driver’s seat.
Not that it matters for me. But I’ll be watching until the end out of curiosity.
Turns 31-40 (Richard)
Sadly, my attempt to steal the Adamantium Guard fails, and Flatline uses their special ability to reinforce his stronghold. And he buys several more legions. He’s close to the capital city of Pandemonium and far behind in Prestige, so I fear he’s going to try to seize it by force, which will put us all in open war with him. But he also demands me, which is odd. If he’s planning to take the capital by force, he’ll be excommunicated and won’t need vendettas in order to fight me. Still, I don’t want to battle him yet, so I concede. I do steal his new Lords of the Pit legion, however, as a consolation prize since I couldn’t nab the Adamantium Guard. The Lords of the Pit can fly, which is always useful.
But Flatline just keeps buying more legions, at an alarming rate. I decide to play an Event card that forces every legion in the game to pass a loyalty test or be destroyed. Hopefully it will thin out his army a little. But it can affect my own legions too, so I make sure to cast the Demonic Premonitions ritual first, to give my legions a loyalty boost. This does indeed protect my legions, but Flatline must be running that ritual too, since he doesn’t lose any either. I better get my Martial Prowess leveled up so I can defend against him.
I’ve only just boosted my Martial Prowess to 6 when Celesto builds the Machine of Gluttony, lowering everyone else’s Charisma by 2 points. Fortunately I’ve also just stolen a few tribute cards from him, and I’ve got enough money in the bank to boost my Charisma again. Barely. I’ve only just paid to increase it to 5 when Flatline makes his move.
Flatline used the powerful Infernal Juggernaut ritual to grant his legions huge, but temporary, battle prowess, and then conquered the capital city of Pandemonium. We have five turns to drive him out of the city or capture his personal stronghold, or he will win the game. He’s now an excommunicated heretic, at open war with everyone.
Luckily for me, Flatline’s attention is split between me and Celesto. He’s timed his attack with an Event card blocking Celesto’s rituals, so Celesto won’t be able to cast his own Infernal Juggernaut rituals. But I can. Unfortunately, I’ve just spent most of my money on getting my Charisma back up, so I have to be very careful about how I spend it.
Flatline’s stronghold is an easier target than Pandemonium, but he’s completely surrounded it with legions, not only blocking access but also granting huge combat support bonuses to its garrison. Luckily, I have the Orb of Oblivion, and a flying legion to carry it. Actually, I have two: the Lords of the Pit that I stole from Flatline, and the Darkwing Legion which I purchased just one turn ago. Either of them could carry the Orb and make a suicide attack on his stronghold, taking him out of the game. But I have to defend my own stronghold long enough to pull it off, and make sure he doesn’t see my attack coming.
Remember that legion that I bought only to send off on the crusade against heaven? Well, it’s returned, much stronger for the experience. If I cast Infernal Juggernaut on it, it should be able to defend against Flatline’s legions marching up from the south. A combat card on my stronghold will also help its garrison resist one assault, in case things go poorly. As for my own attack, it seems the Darkwing Legion is better positioned, so I attach the Orb and cast a ritual to make my legions invisible to others, in the hopes that Flatline won’t see the aerial strike coming.
It works! Flatline sent two of his legions east to fight Celesto, and managed to conquer his stronghold, taking him out of the game. But he didn’t come straight at me. Instead he captured the Palace on the Lake of Fire from me on his way north, and hit me with a Planar Lock ritual, reducing me to two order slots this turn. With my legions blocking the path to my stronghold, he won’t be able to attack it this turn, and my Darkwings are already in position. I only need one order slot to have them attack his stronghold. They do so, just as Flatline’s legions charge my defensive line. My Juggernaut Crusade veteran legion is killed, which I didn’t expect, and somehow my Creeping Doom — who were NOT Juggernauts — barely survive, but are forced to retreat. As Flatline’s legions reach my doorstep, his own stronghold is destroyed by the Orb. He’s out of the game.
The others haven’t been sitting idly, however. Rhasgaz Goreforged is marching towards the Palace and Celesto’s stronghold, both of which are now neutral since their former lords have been banished to the Abyss. I can’t stop him from taking Celesto’s stronghold, but I can get the Palace back by giving my Lords of the Pit a strong combat card and flying them there. This sets up my new border with Rhasgaz, and my Creeping Doom limps back to my stronghold to heal.
Turn 36-40 (Rhasgaz)
There are two juggernauted legions from Flatline next to me, so I retreat back into the mountains near me so they can’t reinforce each other. Im strong enough to take one on but not two. I put a praetor on my legion for extra buffness as well. I contacted Celesto on turn 35 letting him know I’m heading toward him so I can take out Flatline, or at least put pressure on him. I want him looking at me so someone else can kill him. I’d hate for the game to end now! I’m finally feeling like I have my footing in Solium Infernum, even if I’m not doing great this game. During this time Shinx beefs up his Praetor with Crimson Skull, and gives Order of the Black Ring to his slaves. I don’t know how he plays two events on the same turn, or had 2 events even. Oh well, he’s far away.
Celesto is dead by turn 37, killed by rampaging Flatline monsters. Since I’ve moved his way anyway, I take the opportunity to take over his stronghold, gaining +3 prestige a turn and the amulet of shadows. I also noticed that Richard killed Flatline by suiciding a flying troop on Flatline’s Stronghold, using the Orb of Oblivion. I move my legions around, as Flatline and Celesto are dead. I feel like Richard is our biggest threat now in Hell, so I beef up my legions and maneuver to attempt a strike on him. The biggest problem is the fact Richard is super beefed up, with 6 order slots, 6 martial for juggernauts, and CC cards that get +1 boost on them due to his perk. I know this due to fiend back channel talk and an infernal eye that was used to scry a CC earlier in the game. All this adds up to someone that we may have a shot at taking out now, but our position grows worse with every passing round.
I move my legions closer to Richard, taking Celesto’s Stronghold for +3 Prestige and the amulet of Deceit, which is cool. I put a combat card on Fulminata, and throw a fireball at Pandemonium on turn 40. I’m thinking to take out his slaves and flying legion, or making a bee line for the strong hold. The legions are scary since he can juggernaut them whenever, but if I waste my time hitting them, he can just buy more, and again, he’s getting stronger every turn. He can also take my stronghold in 2 turns with his flier if he so chooses, once I am excommunicated.
Turn 41-45 (Rhasgaz)
I’m now a heretic. How did it come to this? I never wanted to betray Hell! I scry Richard’s CC on his stronghold, and it is powerful. -7 Ranged, +6 melee, +2d6 HP, and +6 infernal. It will be hard to crack but if I don’t do it now, I’ll never have a better shot. I use Fulminata coming from the north to attack Richard’s Slaves, so he can’t Juggernaut them. If he moves them first, I make sure Fulminata is moving into the cantons he will most likely be as well. I plan to use my other legion to move on his other two legions and the Palace on the Lake of fire and take them all out in one turn. (At this point I don’t realize your legion stops moving after the first attack). I also try to stop his flying Lords of the Pit with a ritual so they get trapped and destroyed. The ritual will kick off on the first order but isn’t guaranteed to succeed. I let Shinx know what I’m planning as he has legions near by and I don’t want them to get in the way.
It’s at this point of communication that Shinx and I hatch a plan. Instead of fighting all Richard’s legions, Shinx will hit the stronghold with lightning on turn order 1, and I will march and attack the stronghold with my main legion. The regent should skip me and go to Generic Landlord, allowing Shinx to hit before me and giving me a leg up against that beefy combat card. I still go after Richard’s main legion with Fulminata because why not, and try and stop generic landlord’s legion from moving as well. I wait to see if our gambit has worked or if we are dead.
It didn’t work. On Richard’s first order, he puts another 4 attribute changing combat card on his stronghold, which makes my attack completely suicidal. I did kill his main legion though, and move to take his POP away from him out of spite with Fulminata. I also try to assign a CC to my stronghold, as Generic Landlord is actually angling to hit me soon.
Alas, when the turn crunches, I find that I am dead, taken out by Generic Landlord, someone I had stopped thinking about as they had been basically legionless and ineffectual for the last 10 turns. It’s turn 43, and I had such high hopes to see this game to the end. As I am cast into the abyss, I take solace that someone cast a fissure, swallowing 2 of Richard’s legions as well. They fall screaming alongside me.
The next two turns see Shinx lose all his legions and die as well. Richard’s legions are tired from juggernaut, and at 0 stats and no movement for 4 turns. I wonder if Generic Landlord will take advantage, but that is not for me to care about any longer. They are both still playing by the rules though, so it might drag out longer than I think.
So with that, Rhasgaz and I were eliminated. Richard is still in a war with Generic Landlord, though, so we’re going to let him finish things out here in our little chronicle.
Rhasgaz and I will be back in the final installment of this game report, to unpack our experience and recount our tragic mistakes.
Turns 41-50 (Richard)
So, I’m still alive, and the two most threatening archfiends are dead. Things are looking up! But not for long. I’ve barely had time to take stock of things when both Rhasgaz Goreforged and ShinX cast Destruction rituals at Pandemonium, excommunicating themselves. And they’ve both marched towards my stronghold, aiming to hit it from opposite directions. A thin strip of Generic Landlord’s territory blocked ShinX’s march, so he’s not quite in range to attack my stronghold this turn. But Rhasgaz is, and he caught me out, as I just ordered my Creeping Doom to march away from my stronghold to head him off. So they’re out of position to defend.
But I still have a combat card on my stronghold from before. Rhasgaz’s legion is pretty powerful, however, and there’s a chance he could win, even with the card. I can take one action before he strikes. What I really want to do is surround my stronghold with legions and cast Infernal Juggernaut on them, like Flatline did with his stronghold. They’d bolster my stronghold’s garrison, and outmatch any direct attack these fiends might mount. But that will take too long.
I decide that a second combat card on my stronghold is in order. Then I cast Infernal Juggernaut on my Creeping Doom and Lords of the Pit, and order them both back to my stronghold’s defense. Lastly I bid on a new legion in case I need it.
Rhasgaz decides to attack my stronghold straight away, but the combat cards are enough to defeat his legion. Meanwhile, ShinX has marched into my territory from the west, but now I have my Juggernauts in position. He goes first, but he can’t defeat my garrison now. At least not without some preparation. I decide to attach a new combat card to my stronghold just in case, and then I have my Juggernauts run rings around my stronghold to kill any legions he moves close enough.
But that doesn’t go to plan at all. An event card opens a great fissure next to my stronghold, swallowing my Lords of the Pit and my newly purchased legion whole. Fortunately, the combat card on my stronghold was still powerful enough, even without combat support from those legions, and ShinX’s attack on my stronghold is thwarted. I’m then able to have my Creeping Doom kill ShinX’s remaining legion, and head west to capture his stronghold. Meanwhile, Generic Landlord has conquered Rhasgaz Goreforged’s stronghold, taking him out of the game. By turn 45, Generic Landlord and I are the only archfiends remaining.
Over the next few turns, we both march around, conquering Places of Power that used to belong to our rivals. I take Celesto’s stronghold, as well as one of ShinX’s Places of Power that still has its tasty Prestige-doubling Fountain of Ichor attached. Generic Landlord grabs some other Places of Power, farther from my territory. Even so, I’m in a good position now. I’ve reached high levels in all my attributes and can just focus on earning Prestige. My new Fountain has even generated some Curses of Diabolism, which I can cast on Generic Landlord to make him lose Prestige each time he requests tribute. I throw the first of these at him on turn 50.
Turns 51-72 (Richard)
At this point, I’ve tired of war. My spies inform me that Generic Landlord is far behind me in terms of raising his attributes, so I decide to ignore him while I focus on earning as much Prestige as possible. I cast the Forbidden Lore ritual, which doubles the Prestige generated from each of my Places of Power, and maintain it every turn. I also work on getting secret objectives, which can earn me a whole lot of Prestige if I can complete them before the end of the game.
One of these is to own the reigning champion of Pandemonium, which actually requires me to engage with Generic Landlord. I can’t have my praetor challenge the reigning Pandemonium champions until he’s won a duel against another archfiend’s champion. But Generic Landlord is smart enough to forfeit our duel, once I’m finally able to force one. Oh well. I use high-level Prophecy to discard that secret objective and focus on others instead. I also buy up some Relics to generate additional Prestige every turn. With those, plus my large collection of Places of Power (including the strongholds of two former rivals) and the Forbidden Lore ritual, I’m soon earning a preposterous 39 Prestige every turn. I’ve taken a huge lead.
I keep casting curses on Generic Landlord, fulfilling secret objectives, and casting Burnt Offerings rituals to convert money directly into Prestige, until finally Generic Landlord has had enough. On turn 68 he excommunicates himself. But I’ve defended my stronghold with a ring of legions, and he doesn’t have much chance of taking it. He captures the Palace, but I get a Juggernaut legion in position to attack his stronghold, and take him out on Turn 70.
As the only archfiend left, I have my legions march around to claim the Places of Power that Generic Landlord left behind, until the Infernal Conclave draws its final token and declares me the new ruler of Hell on turn 72.