Nightmares of Meloen faction

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krotop
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Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by krotop » October 26th, 2008, 12:32 pm

Yet another faction full of bad guys. This one is filled with explicite incarnations of our nightmares. Playable on 1.10 with the default faction.

Although this faction is getting closer to a final state and not as smooth for changes as it used to be, feedback is appreciated to help to improve it.

If you want to contribute to the faction on arts, we have a cool art thread, with a mighty thanks to mysticX.

I thank every person who contributed so far to the project, would it be indirectly with small suggestions after a talk, or helping in improving my coding skills, or with work directly noticeable on the screen as soon as you open a Meloen game. But I owe two persons a special big thanks : Mist for helping me in the early times of the project and spent quite a load of free time to answer my numerous and annoying WML questions, and Niborelf who saved me a lot of time providing the 1st arts.
Two other persons I'd never be able to thank as much as they deserve are FAAB, for being a much more reliable maintainer than I ever was, and mystic x the unknown for his talent as a graphist. If I ignited the project, they are the perfectionists, loyal to the original objective, who brought it to where it is now. And for those who wonder what was this objective : a faction that is enjoyable in multiplayer once added to the default era.

Now is the time to introduce you to the big picture :


1) Historic (by Mist from an idea of me) :

-A tale of Meloen
-Excerpt from a lesson by human mage Delfador the Great as told to young Konrad in his early years of training
-From the Archives of Galdrad, capitan of the watch in the lost South.

"...sit down boy, I want to tell you something. Maybe after that you'll stop asking why am I not using all my powers to anihilate Asheviere and her cronies. See... There are nightmares in this world, Konrad, much worse than those you sometimes have when dreaming of. They have teeth and claws, they use weapons and are cunning, and they are manyfold. Many of these were created by powerful people like me, who just also had great power but unfortunately lacked restraint. Orcs are one example of that, but there's one much more literal, fortunately far away from us.

There was once an enchantress of significant skill named Meloen, wearing the silver robes of the questing brotherhood. Each of these wizards is individual unlike any other in the world, but all of them are united by one thing : each of them has a personal goal, something as worth aiming for as impossible as it may seem. Meloen, for reasons now long forgotten, was looking for the origins of magic. She spent years studying in libraries and wandering on the road, looking for manuscripts and magic users to interview, only to conclude, that in the end she found nothing of value to her search. In grim determination she turned to what she thought she knew about elven magic and started to meditate in a forest that looked sufficiently ancient and auspicious for mystics. That, of course, had no right to work, but by some weird coincidence or smile of fate, something amazing happened. She connected to te forest on all levels becoming something we might, to simplify things, call an avatar. She lived its life, wielded its strength and felt its pains as her own. It reflected her thoughts and mood, in its own way realised her wishes and made her dreams into flesh. Sounds impossible, doesn't it ? Yes, I agree, but there is a lesson in this for you, sometimes probabilities and logic are swept away by fate and luck often can turn even an impossible situation upside down. Never loose faith Konrad, allways follow your path, even when all seems lost.

But let us continue. Were you Meloen What would you feel ? Amusement ? Joy ? Admiration ? Amazement ? She must have felt all that, and much more. For years, as she explored her newly given life, powers and sorroundings, she was happy beyond words, and the forest itself became the most wonderful place in the world. She dreamt of a child, and she was given one. Story tells that a spirit of nature of eastern tribes called Panarbori came to her the night she concieved. But not all was as right as it looked. Here's another lesson for you boy, there can be no light without darkness, and the greater the shine the deeper the murk on its edges. Meloen, though changed, was still human in essence, and she was getting old. All people are to some degree afraid of dying, reasons my vary, the fear is a constant. It hadn't spared the enchantress and doubts started to creep into her mind. As wise as she was, she didn't understand that she would die and be reborn in her child like a tree does through its sapling. And because the forest allways reflected her mood, long shadows fell in parts of it, and there were things earlier unseen lurking inside. Seeing that caused her more worry and unease, things she glimpsed in the shadows grew scarier in the bad dreams she had at night. Dreams she had at night became things of the wake next morning... There was no breaking the cycle. Not long after the forest turned into black home of the worst nightmares a man can dream of and Meloen herself went completely insane.

That forest is still there Konrad, I have heard from travelers and merchants passing by it, allways at day, descriptions of terrible creatures seen sometimes at its edge. I think she is still trapped inside, kept alive by the all-consuming maddnes of the reality around her, making ever new nightmares each time she falls asleep. I'm also sure there is a way of saving her from the curse the gift she accidentaly found turned her into, but that is nothing you should be concerned of (...)"

-With hopes it'll prove useful in your resarch my Lady
-Aoween, scribes


2) units :

Unhatched: Meloen was afraid to die before seeing her child grow-up. But even before that, she was afraid of giving birth to mentally or physically ill child. The egg-o-bones, uncertainly keeping a monster in its shell are irrationally agressive and charge any living to complete their hatch.
-> this should be your core troop, with decent resists it can be used for holding a line although its retaliation is poor, and when a good oportunity is presented to it, it can charge the weak and do massive damages.

Scornful watcher: born from paranoid dementia of Meloen, reviving her childhood, when she was afraid of the way people looked to her.
-> provided with an attack that uses the opposite of arcane resistance for damage calculation, it's a special archer class unit especially efficient against humans, dwarves, saurians and ghosts.

Black cat : in another paranoid delirium, Meloen began to see her original mystical experience and the odd event that followed as curse, and felt that misfortune had stroken her as hard as it could that day. This delirium gave birth to the 1st black cats.
-> the caster class of the faction, compensating the lack of magic with a curse attack that diminishes the defense of the hit unit, eroding the entranched toughest lines of defense.

Unstable elemental : an incarnation of the fears of natural catastrophes.
-> the scout class, the unstable elemental is recruited as a very mobile tornado, which remains that way as long as you stick to plains, villages or castle terrains. However, each time you move to another type of terrain, it will morph into one of his 6 variations depending on the terrain. So you could have a resilient golem in mountains to tank a bit a day, or a jungle like monster entangling units, etc... Each form has a poor quality price/ratio, but the versatility of the unit is what you pay for.

Howling darkness : obviousy, born from the fear of obscurity.
-> the most expensive unit in the faction, could be used as an alternative scout, but more than that, it swiftly pass through the defense line and spread terror in the ranks of the ennemy, debuffing his damage potential thanks to 7mp, and a skirmisher+terror ability combination. No melee retaliation, though.

Life thief : the very 1st fear of Meloen, incarnated in a butterfly like spirit.
-> this specialist unit is supposed to deal with the units that neither the egg nor the eye can efficiently deal with, such as the wose or the troll. Other wise, its interest is limited.

Creepers : incarnates the degenerescence of the forest Meloen was living in. They can be seen as a bee swarm, fighting in bands and always seeking for growth.
-> an alternative, cheap fighter who is designed to be efficient in long-term strategies. They have an ability that makes them harmless alone, but quite dangerous in a large band and another "malus" ability that makes them more pricy if you don't stick them together. This unit is meant to be seen a single big unit taking several hexes and increasing in power with its growth. That still allows you to do some luring and village stealing, but you have to pay it the price.


I hope you'll find the gameplay interesting, and that you will enjoy the faction in general.

A rather old changelog
Spoiler:
Last edited by krotop on April 17th, 2012, 4:34 pm, edited 51 times in total.
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Melon
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Melon » October 26th, 2008, 6:43 pm

Nightmares of Melon?
Sounds interesting...

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Velensk » October 27th, 2008, 1:01 am

A few comments/suggestions after having played it against myself (when I got back, there was none there)

-An Era with this much thematics realy ought to try to give descriptions to their units. I'm sure you are working on this, but I thought it ought to be pointed out.
-The eyes arcane focus is awkward, as you mentioned.
-The note at the beginning of a turn saying that you lost xupkeep is annoying, and I'm not sure it's nessisary, granted I did not try the super creeper swarm, but that was because I imagine that one would be ineffective.
-The cats seem overpriced, they are usefull for fortbusting to be sure, but they are very fragile, and don't have much firepower. I think it may be a good idea to increase the power, rather than decreasing the price. Maybe give it elusive foot, and an extra move.
-Sent-by-Death could use a better name. I'd suggest Spectre of Death.
-Flying Darkness seem to be very much like ghosts in terms of dificulty to kill(plus terror, minus hp+drain), except that they are skirmishers, which makes it impossible to trap them, and thus when there is no good counter unit within reach (ulfserker, mage, adept) then they can almost always escape easily before they die. Drakes have no unit that can hurt it well, without being hurt allot themselves (not nessiarily a problem)

The faction is quite interesting, and I'm looking forward to trying to play against it (or with it) in a real game.

EDIT: gah, I forgot to save a replay of that game, I was going to post it. I beat the nightmares with drakes in that game.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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krotop
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by krotop » October 27th, 2008, 1:46 pm

Velensk wrote:-The eyes arcane focus is awkward, as you mentioned.
Right, the special is triggered thanks to an attack event, which means the damages are modified after the combat window pops up. I'll have some special care about this a bit later, since this is definitly bad, interface wise.

Velensk wrote:-The note at the beginning of a turn saying that you lost xupkeep is annoying, and I'm not sure it's nessisary, granted I did not try the super creeper swarm, but that was because I imagine that one would be ineffective.
The amount of gold paid for upkeeping your bands of insects isn't shown into the upkeep price at the top of the screen, so I think it's preferable to have the player know how much he pays for his creepers. But I admit I should improve the way it's done, that is : make the message appear only to the player who is paying, and only if he's paying something. Later on, when I understand how this works and know if it's doable in this case, I may include in the right-click menu an option to disable the message display. About the last part of the sentence, the banding ability is a concept test, so it might be pretty poor. But I'd want to try hard, seeking for a way to make it viable if it's not good that way, before dumping this idea.

Velensk wrote:-The cats seem overpriced, they are usefull for fortbusting to be sure, but they are very fragile, and don't have much firepower. I think it may be a good idea to increase the power, rather than decreasing the price. Maybe give it elusive foot, and an extra move.
The cat is the least effective when fighting low defense units. So your first impression, against drakes, might understate the use of the cat (still useful against saurians but you're not likely to meet a lot in this match-up in my opinion). Though, this is duly noted and if you and other players still get that impression in other match-ups (especially rebels or knalgans), I'll consider tweaking him, and elusive-like foot, +1mp, eventually +2-3hps, looks like a good start to me.

Velensk wrote:-Sent-by-Death could use a better name. I'd suggest Spectre of Death.
Adopted ! :)

Velensk wrote:-Flying Darkness seem to be very much like ghosts in terms of dificulty to kill(plus terror, minus hp+drain), except that they are skirmishers, which makes it impossible to trap them, and thus when there is no good counter unit within reach (ulfserker, mage, adept) then they can almost always escape easily before they die. Drakes have no unit that can hurt it well, without being hurt allot themselves (not nessiarily a problem)
That's right, I was thinking about that lately, but I'm not sure how to adress this problem yet. I'd really like to stick to the skirmisher ability. I could decrease from 1 its mp, and decrease slightly the hps, or make the abilities available at night only, making it ZoCable from dawn 'till dusk, and adding a bit to the "obscure theme" of the unit. For the retaliation, I think it's ok for now, the fighting abilities of the unit are poor for the price, a mage or burner can still destroy it with little to no risk provided you don't do it at the wrong time of day.


Velensk wrote:The faction is quite interesting, and I'm looking forward to trying to play against it (or with it) in a real game.
That's great news, make sure to have a replay to show :wink:


@Melon : Pure coincidence I promise, I chose the name about 4 months ago. But I must say, that slightly interpelled me when I posted the faction on the forum.
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Velensk » October 27th, 2008, 8:11 pm

I've played another game, this time I saved the replay. I broke off the game early, I should have saved it, but I didn't think to because I was focused on the replay.

Nightmares won vs Knalgans. The cats did prove to be instrumental, however I'd say that poor play as knalgans more than imbalance with the cats contributed to knalgan loss, I still reckomend an extra movement for them. Inexperiance with a faction works both ways it seems as the knalgans I made mistakes reguarding my opponents (my) abilities, because I was so unused to fighting them.

As another reckomendation, use floating text for the curse special, that may be a way to represent the extra income too.
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"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Melon » October 28th, 2008, 4:07 am

I finally got around to playing this faction, the general theme and the units are both quite original and imaginative and a lot of the new abilities are really cool. The faction definitely has potential, but needs polish.

A few suggestions:
1: Egg-o-Bones has a really silly name in contrast to the nightmarish theme of the faction. I suggest renaming it to something else.
2: The unstable elemental is a really cool unit, but unfortunately it's also a very confusing one to anyone unfamiliar with this faction. I recommend you to make the mouseover of its ability specify somewhat more concrete information regarding what terrains effect it and how.
3: Arcane focus is another really neat ability, but the damage displayed in the attack menu is clearly wrong. Perhaps there's some sort of a roundabout way of calculating the damage to make the menu display it correctly. Or perhaps there's another ability that you can substitute in place of this one.
4: It would be neat if more units had alternative promotion paths.
5: The melee damage for the eyes seems way too high given the fact that they don't really seem to have the means to properly deal it (If I understand correctly they attempt to hit their enemy with their eyeballs). I suggest you to re-think the unit design to give them an attack that makes a little more sense. I've attached a few sketches that show a few alternative possibilities.
Attachments
nightmare eyes.png
Where the impact damage comes from:
Eye 1: Kicks its enemies for impact damage.
Eye 2: Whips the enemies with its tentacles.
Eye 3: Headbutts its enemies.

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Niborelf » October 28th, 2008, 8:00 am

Melon, be careful , we can rename the faction if you continu. :D
I'm the guys who try to create units's images.
For the first 4 suggestion, i will wait krotop.
The eye is as the black cat and the unstable element, it's difficult to make. The others will appear in the next version.
I prefer the first of your eye. I will try to make it.
Thx for your suggest. And thanks for Velensk to test this faction.

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by JW » October 28th, 2008, 8:02 am

That Eye unit reminds me of the yet to be created Aberration faction for the EoM.
Hmm... :hmm:

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by cobra » October 28th, 2008, 10:09 am

JW wrote:That Eye unit reminds me of the yet to be created Aberration faction for the EoM.
Hmm... :hmm:
Thats what I was thinking. I think the units name was something like....mind eater or something like that, I am not actually sure though. :geek:
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by krotop » October 29th, 2008, 7:26 pm

Velensk wrote:Nightmares won vs Knalgans. The cats did prove to be instrumental, however I'd say that poor play as knalgans more than imbalance with the cats contributed to knalgan loss, I still reckomend an extra movement for them. Inexperiance with a faction works both ways it seems as the knalgans I made mistakes reguarding my opponents (my) abilities, because I was so unused to fighting them.
Ok, would you still recommend the elusive-like movetype or did you find them resilient enough this time ? I'm asking because it seemed to me that you put the cats on relatively iffy slots, slots that I wouldn't put an orcish assassin myself without expecting him to die. I'll add 1move for the next edition, again thanks for the nice inputs.
Velensk wrote:As another reckomendation, use floating text for the curse special, that may be a way to represent the extra income too.
That's a good idea, a lot less intrusive than the message pop-up. I will try to do that, when I find the time since there's so much to do yet.

Melon wrote:I finally got around to playing this faction, the general theme and the units are both quite original and imaginative and a lot of the new abilities are really cool. The faction definitely has potential, but needs polish.
I'm glad you think so :)
Melon wrote:1: Egg-o-Bones has a really silly name in contrast to the nightmarish theme of the faction. I suggest renaming it to something else.
Ok I'll change that, the few names I can come up with at the moment are as silly as this one though.
Melon wrote:2: The unstable elemental is a really cool unit, but unfortunately it's also a very confusing one to anyone unfamiliar with this faction. I recommend you to make the mouseover of its ability specify somewhat more concrete information regarding what terrains effect it and how.
Right, another thing that definitely needs to be done. Still, it's good you point that out, I was forgetting it, now it's on top of priority list before I forget again.
Melon wrote:3: Arcane focus is another really neat ability, but the damage displayed in the attack menu is clearly wrong.
I opened a thread in the wml workshop and Sapient gave some clues about how to solve the problem.
/me adds coding a new arcane focus on the ToDo pile.
Melon wrote:4: It would be neat if more units had alternative promotion paths.
That's ok to me, but I lack good ideas for it, and I'm not sure if that would add to the faction yet. Niborelf thought of making an alternative path to the Spectre of Death, allowing to promote to an incarnation of time, eventually with another cool ability. I'll probably open a brainstorm on this once I have fully described all lvl1 units to make people proposing ideas have a good idea of the spirit of the faction. However, I don't think I'll add a massive amount of alternatives, 2 or 3 tops I guess.
Melon wrote:5: The melee damage for the eyes seems way too high given the fact that they don't really seem to have the means to properly deal it (If I understand correctly they attempt to hit their enemy with their eyeballs). I suggest you to re-think the unit design to give them an attack that makes a little more sense. I've attached a few sketches that show a few alternative possibilities.
And again that's quite some nice sketches. To me, #3 really hits in the bull's eye (huh huh huh...) : the altered vegetal theme not only suits perfectly the historic and makes sence in the faction, but also its psychedelic look and the relation between plants and psychotrope effects (no, I'm not specifically talking about cannabis here) suits the fact it's performing mind attack, another thing I have to add to the description. For the sake of information, originally, its special was called mind before Mist suggested arcane focus which is more generic and reusable by other persons. For the amount of melee damage, I think it's fair, but you're right, the concept of the attack was bad. Hopefully this should get better thanks to your input.


@Niborelf : Ooo! welcome to the forum lad.

JW wrote:That Eye unit reminds me of the yet to be created Aberration faction for the EoM.
I quickly read the thread you bumped, a lot of ideas are divergent from the Nightmares of Meloen, but some are indeed surprisingly close. I know, now, what were some of the filler arts I picked coming from. I need to put Eternal in the credits, that unknown : Child of Rage line was annoying. Would you mind if I borrow it as filler until the Aberration faction is playable, or maybe I should pm Eternal about that ? Talking about aberration, it's the name of one of the races, along with nightmares and insects, that I created for the faction. It's a bit of a & d Cuyo Quiz proposed in his 1st post in that thread.
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by JW » October 30th, 2008, 3:33 am

krotop wrote:
JW wrote:That Eye unit reminds me of the yet to be created Aberration faction for the EoM.
I quickly read the thread you bumped, a lot of ideas are divergent from the Nightmares of Meloen, but some are indeed surprisingly close. I know, now, what were some of the filler arts I picked coming from. I need to put Eternal in the credits, that unknown : Child of Rage line was annoying. Would you mind if I borrow it as filler until the Aberration faction is playable, or maybe I should pm Eternal about that ? Talking about aberration, it's the name of one of the races, along with nightmares and insects, that I created for the faction. It's a bit of a & d Cuyo Quiz proposed in his 1st post in that thread.
Oh hey, I was just having a memory. I wasn't trying to claim ownership of the idea in this thread or make a claim about any art, or anything in that vein of thought. I'm sorry for having to clear that up.

Also, all art here is GPLed, but if you want to talk to Eternal I'm sure he'd be cool with that too.

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Skizzaltix » October 30th, 2008, 5:19 pm

egg-o-bones
Death shell?
Skeletal hatchling?
Dark egg?
Calcarius abomination?

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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by krotop » October 30th, 2008, 6:32 pm

Dark egg would fit since Niborelf designed it that colour. To me, it doesn't represent the chaotic nature of the birth and the fear of Meloen of having a child born with handicaps or natural over-agressivity, but from an exterior point of view, if travellers meeting this creature were to name it, they'd probably call it dark egg, yes. I'll take that one, but I leave open space for a change if I, or someone else, can come up with something better. Thank you anyway :)
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by krotop » October 31st, 2008, 3:45 pm

Update bump.

I tried to address most of the points evocated here, like the cat move and some interface fixes for the specials. Descriptions are now next in the list of things to do.

I also thought it would be nice to have a small icon to remind which units are under a curse :
Image

Edit : aouch, I got ooses in the latest game I tried on the server. This might have something to do with the curse ability, just to warn you... If you also get this problem please report it, though.
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Re: Nightmares of Meloen faction

Post by Velensk » November 1st, 2008, 1:35 am

Some replays for you and an anyalysis

For the first one against the drakes. Nightmares have a seriouse problem against drakes. They have all of three units that are effective against the drakes themselves. Creepers, Darkness, and Spectre.

Darkness and Spectre are quite effective at hurting drakes, however they are both very expensive, and both die very easy to either firebreath or drake melee power (or both incombination.

Creepers die very easy to drakes too, but they are very cheap and at night do major damage. However they are also slow, which means that drakes can easily outmonuver them and smash them at day when they do 4 damage per strike (when they arn't being killed by burner flames)

Proposal: Make spectre of death a little cheaper (18), and decrease it's melee power slightly. Possibly make another unit capable of killing/hurting woses.

The second one is him testing all creepers vs orcs. The orcs got buckets of luck, but I don't think that it would have been a problem even without extreme luck. However I think that in combination with other units, and on a diffrent map, the creeper swarm may be a problem. I would sugest as a measure to help avoid that giving creepers a -30% resistance to fire/cold. This way archer arrows kill them in one hit at night, and the other factions (minus knalgans and possibly rebles/loyalists) will have some serious counter unit(s). Mages seem just a bit to expensive/fragile to counter creepers.

Woses will work for the rebels, I imagine that humans can out monuver creepers and attack them at day, when it isn't a huge issue. I think that dwarven fighters on hills ought to be tough enough to beat off the creeper attacks, 5-5 chaotic is about 10 damage at night to a dwarf on a hill if the creeper survives the dwarf attack. The dwarf will kill roughly half the creepers that attack him. In the end the figher would probably die do the shear numbers, but he'd do enough damage that the rest of hte knalgan forces should have no trouble mopping up.
Attachments
2p_-_The_Freelands_replay.gz
Prolem against drakes.
(13.91 KiB) Downloaded 550 times
2p_-_Den_of_Onis_replay.gz
All creepers not the way to go
(15.85 KiB) Downloaded 558 times
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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