Apocalypse Begrudge Tempestuous – Part 4


This is Part 4 of a 5-part diary of a Solium Infernum multiplayer game. For Part 3, go here. For full context, see the contents post here.

Turn 40

The Angel has taken out Skippy’s guys that were next to my Stronghold… and then went after the Sons of Typhon, who smacked it in the face and killed it.

I don’t have time to take this turn before work, and Peter contacts me during the day wondering if Zael is the Kingmaker. This is a relic you can take at the start of the game. It takes all 3 of your relic slots. The way it works is, you select a player as a “puppet” during the first 10 turns of the game. If that player eventually “wins” the game via Prestige, you win instead.

It’s a tremendously high-risk play as you’re trading all of your relic slots on a 1 in 4 chance of guessing right who is going to win, but Zael has been doing very little to attack me despite being part of the anti-me coalition with Peter and Skippy, and this has made Peter suspicious enough that he’s talking to his arch-rival to see if I can find anything out about it. I think Zael’s behaviour is a bit weird, but it’s so unlikely that somebody would take this relic in their very first game that it’s a very outside chance. Still, by coincidence I did Dark Augury Zael last turn and my max level Prophecy stat means Dark Augury now reveals his relics as well as his stats and rituals, so later that night I boot up the game and have a look.


Shit. He is the Kingmaker.

Notably I can’t see who he’s decided to Kingmake; during the first ten turns of the game I wasn’t exactly doing a great deal and wouldn’t have been a fantastic bet. But the fact that he’s gone a bit passive now that I’ve taken the lead does indicate that things are going his way, and it’s probably me.

This completely changes things. For starters, it means my chances of actually winning the game just disappeared straight down the toilet. The only way I can win by Prestige is if Zael is dead. Given the rules around wars, you’re only allowed to eliminate a player if you’ve won 3 Vendettas against them, or if they’ve excommunicated themselves by attacking Pandaemonium. Zael is probably not going to excommunicate himself, which means someone needs to win 3 Vendettas against him. I currently have 0. The only way to force a Vendetta against him is to make a Demand for an artifact (he currently has zero artifacts). This will take one turn to send the demand, one turn for him to respond, a third turn to set the terms of the Vendetta, and then at least one additional turn to actually win it. That’s probably 5-6 turns per Vendetta, plus some number of additional turns to declare a Blood Feud and kill him And there’s only 15 turns left in the game.

So I need to completely reorient my strategy. No more Prestige. Instead I need to take and hold Pandemonium for 5 turns in order to win this. And that’s going to be extremely difficult, since it’s going to be incredibly obvious to everyone that that’s what I’m doing the moment I start to move the Sons of Typhon south – there’s nothing down there except Pandaemonium. As soon as I attack it I’ll be excommunicated, and I’ll have to hold my Stronghold and Pandaemonium at the same time, against everyone else. And while I’m confident of being able to take any one player in a war, I can’t take all of them at once.

Still, what else am I going to do? Let Zael win?

I let Peter, Skippy and Tom know the score. I don’t know if this is helpful at all, but Peter and Skippy already suspect and can probably put the pieces together themselves. Meanwhile I need to do a massive buildup of legions, praetors and artifacts. I need to get my Wrath to 4 to increase my maximum legion cap so that I can buy an additional legion. And then, hopefully around turn 48-49-ish, I need to make a play for Pandaemonium. It’s an incredibly slim chance, but it’s all I’ve got left.


Turn 41

This is going to be absolute chaos. There’s no way I can hide what I’m doing. I’m moving the Sons south, now. Less time everyone else has to prepare for this, the better. I can only hope that Skippy and Peter get distracted about what happens after I’m dead, as Peter will be the leader by then.

I’ve been outbid on a cool Infernal boosting artifact in the Bazaar by Peter, so that’s not a brilliant start. I do have the Devourer, which I’ve been keeping in my back pocket all game; I will pull it out just before everything kicks off. But Skippy’s legions are scary once they’re boosted with Stratagems. I’ll need some additional juice to hold him off. The remaining artifact selection isn’t great, but I have enough Praetors already – you can only attach one per legion. I bid on a cheap artifact that negates other legion’s abilities in the hope that something better appears next turn.

I have just realised, though: if I go for Pandaemonium I need to hold both it and my Stronghold for 5 turns to win the game. Holding the Stronghold is going to be the hard part because it’s very close to Skippy and if I lose it I’m dead. But Peter does have that “make a PoP uncapturable” artifact — the Black Monolith — and I assume that includes my Stronghold. If I can nick it, and I have enough +Deceit resist to stop somebody from stealing it back, my chances suddenly become a lot better.

It’ll piss Peter off, and just when we were starting to be friends again. But it’s all hollow words; they’ll have figured out by now that this is the only thing that I can do.

Turn 42

The problem with Solium Infernum is that your paranoia really does start to get the better of you after 40 turns of plotting. I am starting to wonder if this is all an elaborate scheme between Skippy, Peter and Zael to get me to excommunicate myself and give up the Prestige victory. It was awfully convenient that Peter came to me with the idea that Zael was the Kingmaker – but if that’s the case, at least one of them would be screwing themselves over. Either Zael has genuinely picked me as his puppet and is giving that up, or he’s picked one of Skippy or Peter and they’re gambling on a coin flip that it’s the other one and that they can still win. The comedy option is that Zael picked Tom, in which case his Kingmaker crown is genuinely useless and it’d make sense that he’d leverage it the only way he could – but then he still loses when Peter or Skippy win.

There might be some angle to this that I’m missing. Maybe I’m discounting the desire for revenge a little too much. I think the odds are that this is all exactly as it appears to be, especially because nobody knew I’d only just gotten max level Dark Augury and could see Zael’s relics. I’m going to look bloody stupid if I’m wrong, giving up an assured Prestige victory for a one in ten shot at Pandaemonium – but I simply cannot take that chance. If this is a trick, it’s an unnecessary one, because I was locked into this course of action as soon as I saw the Kingmaker crown.

Boot up the turn, and immediately something goes wrong.


Somebody targets me with this Paladin event, which takes out one of my artifacts. Unfortunately for me, it’s the one that lets me summon The Devourer, which was my big surprise for the coming war against Skippy and Peter. That’s just halved my chances of pulling this off.

And my Pilfer Artifact ritual against Peter failed as well. This is all suddenly going extremely badly. I’ll just have to try again. The Black Monolith is potentially game-winning, and too important to be left alone.


However, this artifact, the Orb of Oblivion, has just turned up in the Bazaar. Its Oblivion ability is mutually assured destruction; anything that kills the legion it’s attached to will also die. If I buy a cheap legion with 3 movement (and there’s a couple of those available at the moment) and strap this to it, I might be able to suicide bomb somebody’s Stronghold as my opening move.


I’ve also got a Capricious Wrath event card that will randomly kill an opposing legion. Don’t know which legion it will kill, but every little helps.


I notice Skippy is also moving up a legion towards Pandaemonium. It’s complete shit, but its Teleport ability will let it bypass Tom’s territory, which is otherwise blocking the approach to Pandaemonium for Skippy and Zael. He’s doing this for one of two reasons:

  1. He’s trying to body block me. If my calculations are right, this won’t work; he goes first this turn, but then I’m before him in the turn order meaning that if I attack Pandaemonium next turn with my first order there’s nothing he can do about it.
  2. He wants to strap the Orb of Oblivion to it and suicide bomb the Sons of Typhon after I’ve attacked Pandaemonium. Which would be annoying.

I toss some more Souls and Hellfire into my bid for the Orb, just in case. Skippy can make even weak legions pretty powerful with Wrath rituals, which I’m reasonably sure he’s maxed out by now, but I’ll just have to worry about that as and when he does it.


I can’t get distracted though. Peter has a legion within striking distance of my Stronghold, and it’s powerful enough to one-shot it. I need at least two adjacent legions to body-block him, which means moving the Army of the Fallen back up and then also buying another legion from the Bazaar and moving that into place. That’s 3 actions.

I need another two actions for the Sons of Typhon to reach and attack Pandaemonium, which is another turn at least. I might wait another turn after that so that I’m Regent on the turn after I get excommunicated, which would let me go first and potentially blow up Skippy’s base before he can react.

That leaves me with 7 actions before the Big Play. Two to move the Hounds of Hell to threaten Skippy. Another 1 to strap the nuke to them (assuming I have the winning bid). Leaving just four moves to do other things. The margins are getting pretty damn thin.

Turn 43

More paranoia. Peter is Regent the turn before I am. What if he excommunicates himself by hitting Pandaemonium with a Destruction Ritual, and then one-shots my base before I can react?

Madness. I’m still in the Prestige lead, but Peter is only 15 points behind me and 40-odd points ahead of Skippy. All he has to do is sit back and watch me explode while holding off Skippy, and he’ll win. It’s Skippy who might make a desperation play, but aside from the one legion he’s moving towards Pandaemonium there’s nothing obviously sus going on there.


Ah shit. The Bazaar is shut. That’s going to really mess everything up, as I was banking on buying at least one more legion to hold off Peter. Once I’m excommunicated I lose access to the Bazaar regardless, so I effectively can’t buy anything else for the rest of the game. I’ll have to make do with stealing things. Or trying to, anyway.

On the bright side, my second attempt to steal the Black Monolith from Peter went through. That should buy me some time.


On the not so bright side, despite me bidding over twice as much as the Orb of Oblivion was worth Skippy still won the auction for it. (That or the game didn’t accept my overbid somehow because it required me to click “Place bid” again after adding the extra tokens, or something stupid like that.)  This is getting very sticky. I think I’m going to have to try to steal it from him. That or try to blow up his suicide bomb legion somehow.

A realisation. That artifact I bought a couple of turns ago that negates opposing legion’s named abilities? Oblivion is a named ability, albeit on an artifact rather than a legion. Have I mentioned that the in-game encyclopaedia has maybe three sentences per item/mechanic and doesn’t go into anywhere near enough detail for Solium Infernum, a game with so many edge cases it doesn’t actually have any solid sides to speak of? So I have no idea if it will actually work or not. It’ll be a last resort only.


Usually I spend two actions per turn collecting tribute, but since the Bazaar is shut there’s not much point amassing more than I already have, so my actions this turn are expended on moves and rituals. The Sons of Typhon could take Pandaemonium this turn, but I’m swerving aside and ending my turn next to it instead. Army of the Fallen is moving up to a position where it can support my Stronghold; adjacent legions provide 50% of their combat stats as support, so the more legions I have next to the Stronghold the harder it is to take. And I’m moving my starter legion back towards the Stronghold as well. It’s crap, but I’ll need everything to survive this.

Meanwhile, I do a Dark Augury on Skippy so that I can see inside his vault to potentially steal the Orb of Oblivion next turn. I also speculatively target his strongest legion with a Convert Legion ritual – I doubt it will work, but the Bazaar being shut makes it extremely awkward for him if it does. And my last action is spent on the kill-a-random-legion event.


In-game diplomatic activity has completely ceased. Nobody is amassing prestige any more. Everyone can see what’s coming. Zael is absolutely passive; I wonder if it’s worth hitting him with Daemonic Interference now? This will shut down his ability to cast rituals and he might be planning to hit me with Deceit rituals next turn; on the other hand I have a whopping 13 Deceit resistance to his 7 Deceit power.

Or, both Peter and Zael have their Prophecy high enough to cast Malediction of the Seer, which would prevent me from being Regent. They probably wouldn’t do that this turn though.

Another possibility is that Skippy has levelled Destruction to 6; he was on 5 the last time I checked 8 turns ago and he did have a lot of Hellfire, which is required for levelling Destruction, and level 6 gets you the very nasty Planar Lock ritual which reduces the target’s actions by 3. I have 11 Destruction resistance so have a decent chance of shrugging it off – but the problem here is that they only have to be lucky once to completely wreck my plans. There’s a good possibility I start getting seriously hit with stuff this turn, too, if they think I’m going directly for Pandaemonium and don’t wait for the excommunication.

Sod it, I’ll stick to the plan. Daemonic Interference is another little surprise I’ve been keeping in my back pocket and I don’t want to reveal it too early. Just one more turn…

Turn 44

The kill-a-legion event killed one of Zael’s. Which was a disappointing outcome, as I did have a better-than-even chance of taking out one of Skippy’s or Peter’s, which would have helped me a lot more.

Apart from that the last turn went almost perfectly.


The Sons move into position next to Pandaemonium, and afterwards are targeted with two Deceit rituals from Zael (or somebody pretending to be Zael), Forged Orders and Strategic Confusion, which would have otherwise stopped them moving. Both bounce, and award me 16 Prestige into the bargain thanks to Expose Treason. Shame that doesn’t matter any more, really, although it is nice to know that Zael is actually worried about my upcoming Pandaemonium play.

There’s some manoeuvring from the other players. Peter moves a legion down to try and take the Wood of the Suicides (the +2 Deceit strength PoP) but doesn’t manage it this turn. Skippy moves a legion away from his stronghold, and then something very weird happens: it’s targeted with an Infernal Juggernaut ritual, which would otherwise boost its stats by a ridiculous amount, but the legion… resists the ritual. It was definitely Skippy’s ritual, he’s the only person with Wrath 6 and thus the only person who can cast Infernal Juggernaut. If the ritual had succeeded that legion might have been in a good position to one-shot my Stronghold, and it feels like a bug that it failed.

(Postgame note: as far as we can tell, the reason Infernal Juggernaut failed is because Skippy’s legion was in a Ruins hex. Ruins block ritual effects, and – ludicrously – this appears to include friendly rituals.)

Crucially, Skippy does not move his suicide bomb legion. He doesn’t attach the Orb of Oblivion to it either. My Dark Augury against him succeeds, and reveals nothing I don’t already suspect: his relic is a crown that gives him +1 action, and his stats are Wrath 6, Destruction 5, Deceit 4. That last is surprising given that my speculative Convert Legion against his Adamantine Guard went through and I now have a very beefy set of guys lurking next to my Stronghold.

Still, Skippy can probably bulldoze them if he puts Infernal Juggernaut on his starting legion, the Blood of Astaroth. In addition to boosting all stats by 8-12, it’ll also increase its move by 2, to a total of 4. And that puts it in range of my Stronghold from its current position.

My plan to counter that is the Black Monolith. I can just stick that on my Stronghold, and it becomes uncapturable until somebody manages to steal the artifact from me.


Other moves, then. The Adamantine Guard go to the south of my stronghold; this will prevent Skippy’s boosted legion from taking them out as a driveby. I queue up a Pilfer Artifact on the Orb of Oblivion, and the Hounds go towards Skippy’s stronghold in preparation for the suicide bomb attempt (assuming that’s successful). And I target Zael with Daemonic Interference; it’s not that likely to succeed since Zael’s been levelling his Prophecy stat, but he’s the player most likely to disrupt my plans with rituals and if I can land it it’ll be a big help. I can see a problem coming next turn where I’m going to need to Collect Tribute a couple more times in order to keep powering my rituals, but I should have enough to pay all required upkeep for next turn at least..

However, the first move of my turn has to be the attempt on Pandaemonium; this means that only Peter will have a chance to stop me with a ritual, and only if it’s his very first action. I’m really hoping my combat strength calculations are correct. Pandemonium has 11-13-17 and 23hp, and the Sons have 15-24-0 and 25hp. Since damage done is just the difference between each stat, I’d do 4 damage in the Ranged phase, 11 damage in the Melee phase and take 17 damage in the Infernal phase – however the Sons also have a “Melee Twice” attribute, which means I’ll actually deal 22 damage in the Melee round. This is a total of 26 damage, which means I should kill Pandaemonium before it ever gets to the Infernal phase.

Hopefully, anyway.

Click here for Part 5

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