|Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here!|
|What a handsome fella.|
What you see above, is the "avatar" that I will be playing with. Pretty well-rounded by all means, but not excellent at anything. Three charisma will ensure that I will get a steady flow of Tribute cards to keep my game going on, and two cunning means that I can pretty easily raise it to four to gain not only extra order slot, but also some nice tricks up my sleeve. Duke of Hell ensures me some influence in Hell. My public objective is Lust - no reprecussions if I fail to satisfy the objective, and if I do succeed in my objective, I gain lots of prestige, which is needed to win in this game. No perks, as they are often too costly, or when they give me points for creation, the drawbacks are too heavy.
|The usurpers to the throne of Hell|
Here we see our contestants for the skullthrone of Hell - me, the ever-so-lovely Sythiese the Sordid, Understairs Man, a certain special Jon Irenicus (you can read his AAR of this same game here), The Bored One and Larence. Larence. What kind of name is Larence? For an usurper of Hell, for Abyss' sake! Pfft. He should be called "Larence the Lich" or something like that. Now he is Larence the Guy-From-Next-Door-Who-Stays-Up-All-Night-Playing-Video-Games. Sheesh.
Oh yes, I almost forgot. I started the game as a regent, which means that I get to draw one Event-card, and of all the phases, my actions will be done first. What is an Event-card, you ask? Well, Event-cards are powerful cards which may turn the table of the game completely - such as invoking a crusade against Heaven, or closing the mouth of Hell, which means that nobody can get tribute from his/her minions. What card did I draw? I'm not going to tell, not yet at least. ;)
|Where did he get that GOLEM? Damn!|
To Abyss with Irenicus. He was faster, and claimed the Woods of Suicide to himself. This is not a good sign for me - I have no steady source of Prestige, which is required for all diplomatic actions (such as demanding resources, which is a prequisite for a casus belli). And on top of all this, I have no chance to reach the PoP next to Bored One's border, since he has blocked my access there. I'm stuck between three great powers, and I am likely the first one to be eaten, if I can't play my way out of this. I decided to place a bid on Haagenti on the Bazaar. Haagenti is one of the mightiest Praetors in all Hell, and is likely to crush any given opponent in a duel. If I can get my hands on Haagenti, I can start extorting Irenicus for tribute and Prestige, which I so sorely will be needing.
Did I already mention that I hate Irenicus' guts? That bastard somehow topped my offer for Haagenti, and now has the mightiest Praetor in Hell. Blast and damnation.
What will follow, I think, is this - Irenicus will make demands of me. If I refuse, he will start duel with me (or maybe he'll try to assault my legion). If I succumb to his demands, I lose prestige to the point, when I have no teeth and no power to start any diplomatical initiatives. Isn't this just bloody wonderful? So, I decide to try to hire another Praetor, and increase my tribute.
Ah, yes, the duels. Let me tell you a bit about them. They are a way to satisfy a Vendetta. Vendettas can be claimed if someone insults you, or if someone refuses to succumb to your demands. If you don't claim a vendetta, you lose prestige. If you claim Vendetta, you must accomplish your objectives (such as conquering X cantons or, in the case of duels, winning the duel) to reclaim your Prestige and the same amount of Prestige from the receiving end of the Vendetta.
|Did I mention that Irenicus is a huge dick?|
Unsurprisingly, Irenicus demands Tribute cards from me. That is all right by my book, part of the game and all that, you know. But then he goes and insults me. Insults. Me. What an ass. So rude. Tchk-tchk. Not very nice, now was it?
|My brave toad-warrior|
Here is my brand new Praetor, Orias. Ugly as sin, but that's how you get those bloody toadmen. And they do smell quite bad, thanks for asking. Now, he might be able to win Haagenti in a duel, if I play my cards right and luck favors me.
I trust you, my brave toadman.
I refused to comply to Irenicus' demands. This turn Irenicus must decide whether he will let the Vendetta die (quite unlikely), or if he will claim a Vendetta and with what terms.
As we can see, Irenicus has moved his legion away from our border. At this point it would be very, very stupid to assume that he wants an armed conflict. A duel will follow soon, I believe. Nevertheless, I decided to place a bid on an artifact in the Bazaar. Hellfire Ballista.
|A beatuy, isn't she?|
Hellfire Ballista. Even the name alone invokes a sense of something terrible, something powerful. And by the Abyss, isn't it powerful. Not only does it add +4 to my ranged stat for a legion of choice, but if I succeed to do damage with it, it is effectively doubled. A weapon to fear, indeed. And she is mine.
What else... unsurprisingly, Irenicus decided that we shall meet at the fields for a duel. Somebody has also bought Temeluchas from the Bazaar. A worrying turn, as Temeluchas is the second most powerful Praetor in Hell, when it comes to duels. Hopefully Irenicus didn't buy him, I wouldn't want him to have all the cards. Next, preparing for the duel.
|Would you look at that tactic? Sweet mercy.|
Like so. I expect that Irenicus will strike with full force the first phase, after which he'll take a backseat, when I'll strike. After that it's just chipping away health. If everything goes well.
|The current standings in Hell|
As we can see, there's alot in game for this duel. The winner claims all 16 points of prestige, making him/her a poweful player in the game. Loser will be in quite a bad position. I fear the worst.
|Damn. I hope you enjoy the Abyss, Orias.|
Orias has been defeated. He was of no match against Haagenti. I'm in pretty weak position now - only one point of Prestige, and no means of increasing my Prestige. I am one of the least influential beings in Hell now. Hopefully that will guarantee me some peace until I can figure some way out of this mess. Hopefully.
|Go to Hell, Irenicus. Oh wait.|
Irenicus taunts me. What a dick. Also, Larence the Guy-From-Next-Door has brought some demands against me. 3 Tribute Cards. Since we share no border, he is most likely prepared for a duel. I think. I have very little Tribute as it is, I don't think I want to give Larence any of those. You can stick them up where the sun won't shine, love.
Meanwhile, I will try to stock up on Tribute, to increase my stats and gain me some extra order slots. I need them desperately.
|Testament of Tyrants, property of The Bored One|
The Bored One, my dear neighbour, has conquered the Testament of Tyrants, a Place of Power. As it happens, it lies just next to border of Sythiese the Sordid. This might prove to be interesting. Conflict between the two will follow rather soon, I believe. And if I play my cards right, I can benefit from it greatly. Better keep an eye out for those two.
Larence now has grounds to claim a Vendetta on me. I fully expect him to do so, unless he plans to let it die and see me begin harassing Irenicus. Very, very, very unlikely, so I'd better stock up for a duel. And, this is the last turn to set my threat list.
Here is our current standings. I decide to leave my threat list as it is - Irenicus will most likely be the one who I will face in the field of combat, and I have no doubts that I might battle everyone else - Larence seems to be the least likely candidate, even with his current demands on me.
A little surprisingly, it wasn't Irenicus that leads the statistics, but Sythiese. He has a horribly, horribly strong bodyguard-legion. Even though one could win it in the ranged-phase of combat and deal some damage, the legion's comeback on melee and infernal would be horribly, horribly strong. Better keep that in mind, I don't want to risk combat against that beast.