On The Frozen Throne, Part I

My name is Dryggve, Prophet of the Idol of Beasts. The time of man is ending, the imprisoned idol will rise, and ice will again cover the world. I am a giant of frost, descended from old Rimtursar, sprung whole by the power of the Idol of Beasts, from the glaciers of Niefelheim, the Land of Eternal Frost.

This is the chronicle of the ending of the age of man.

Dominions 4 is a fantasy turn-based 4x game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) like Civilization, Alpha Centauri, and Master of Orion. It is most like the classic Master of Magic, in that you choose a pretender god, with schools of magic, cast spells, recruit units, and try to take over the world. It has over 3000 units, 3 different ages, each with over 20 nations to choose, 800 spells and countless variety.

But the most important feature and the primary difference from 4x games in the past is the game is designed to eliminate micro-management. Every decision you make during a turn is a meaningful one.

The Idol of Beasts awakened me. I stepped away from the glacier, first, being the chosen of the Idol of Beasts. I became the prophet of the Idol of Beasts and its power flooded through me and out of me into the land itself, and the land turned cold.

Pretender gods spread dominion, from themselves, their prophets, and their temples. The land under the sway of a pretender god changes to become more favorable to the god. These scales of favor are set during pretender creation. If all dominion of your god is eliminated, then no one believes in you any longer and you will cease to exist.

I began to awake my brothers. Seven were carved from the ice, each of us sacred giants of Niefelheim, the power of the Idol blessing us with its glory.

Not only do your pretender gods (and mages in the game) learn and cast spells from the seven schools of magic, but if they have powerful magic, their sacred troops receive a holy blessing. The Idol of Beasts can cast level 9 nature magic, so all of my sacred giants regenerate, in addition to having many more hit points than normal.

Niefelheim my home, and the nearby lands of Faldenburgh and Linshire already grant their fealty to the Idol of Beasts. I turned my eyes towards Black Harbor, a rich farmland to the north. Our giants marched there and found many small tiny fat people, each as big as a single toe. They fell to our blades. Their kind now serve us, sending us gold and feeding our giant bellies.

We moved south to Dershid, a human farmland. This fruitful land was filled with humans, armored in heavy metal. 70 men stood before us, over 2 dozen in heavy armor and riding astride giant warhorses as large as a Jotun man.

But not as large as a Jotun Giant.

All the wounds they inflicted upon me and my brothers closed as soon as they opened. Each of my seven brothers killed 9 men, leaving the rest for me.

If this is all the land has to offer me, then soon the Idol of Beasts will cover the world in ice!

Regeneration giants are nothing to mess around with! I'm running a simple and straight-forward bless strategy. My giants are great sacred units, and regeneration both increases their hit points and heals them for a percentage of them. Effective. I'm not concerned about the independent countries. I'm concerned about the other 3 human opponents in my game!

The ancient Jotun Gygja hags began arriving from the ancient forests, swamps, and from places even more strange; drawn from hiding by the call of the Idol of Beasts. First Verdandi hag of blood, nature, and death, then Gersimi the astral prophetess. They brought with them ancient spell lore, on the conjuration of creatures, construction of magical trinkets, and the ability to evoke energies and alter the nature of things.  They called their sisters Gyda and Idun, before they left on a journey to Black Harbor to discover any secrets it held from us.

Mages research to gain access to new spells. Once I have some mages in the schools I will be casting from, nature, death, water, and astral, I send them searching for magic sites, while continuing to recruit more of the Gyajas for research. Magic sites if found will produce gems, which will fuel spells and spell-casting.

Gyajas are giant ancient hags that cast spells in combat. But if forced into melee, in addition to bashing with their quarterstaff, they can slap opponents to permanently shrink them! (That's one unique unit out of 3000+ for those keeping count)

My scouts bring me reports of my neighbors. In the seas to the south, lies R'lyeh, home of ancient horrors. To my east is Arcoscephale, nation of seers and augers and delvers into heretic mechanical contraptions. To my west lies Ermor, row upon row of human soldiers, organized and armored, with mages ready to raise them from the dead as soon as they fall. 

It matters not, they will all freeze in the end, feeling the cold grip of ice, and being buried for an entire age, one of beasts and giants.

That's my friends, plagueale as Ermor, a nation styled after ancient rome with access to astral and death mages, and Raphael as Arcoscephale an homage to ancient greece, with oracles and flying pegasi troops and icarids, troops with waxen wings. I have yet to encounter my other friend on this map.

To my surprise, one of the heretic oracles of Arcoscephale walked right into land of Linshire, preaching the word of some false divinity. The Pancreator is gone and the Idol of Beasts is the most powerful god. The local provincial defense filled his body with arrows. I sent him back to Arcoscephale, with a missive, that it was not wise to anger the ancient frozen earth.

The fool responded with more blood! Flying ponies and tiny human troops invaded Linshire! Yngone my legendary commander held out as long as he could. They were very nearly beaten back by my troops, but in the end, they outlasted my defenses. Yngone was forced to flee. The men were routed, many dying that day.

Apparently the seers desire their death. For if they can tell the future, they know where this path leads. Where I would have let them be, it appears such fools cannot be ignored. Me, and my immortal brothers, now 14 number will march, scouring Arcoscephale from the map.

And so I begin my march to punch Raphael in the face* for poking the ancient giants of frost. This play report is live, and I don't know what will happen when I strike back. I imagine he's somewhat unprepared to kill my army of regenerating giants. We will soon see. *I thought something else than face.

Dominions 4

I am in no way associated with Illwinter, and am simply writing play reports about the game because of how much fun it is to actually play against human players. If it sounds interesting, check it out, and then drop me a line—I run a dominions server and am always up for a game.

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1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to pop by and say awesome write up! Stories like these attach a character to the little 10 pixel sprites we're so used to seeing in Dominions and make the feeling so much more real. Keep it up. I'd love to read more!

    Also kudos on taste for games!


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