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    Junior Member natej11's Avatar
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    Mar 2014

    Bloodthirsty Run

    Let me begin with a SPOILER ALERT, since I definitely don't want to spoil the lovely RPG elements of this game in a quick (or maybe not so quick) description of a min/max based runthrough.

    Seeing the recent trailer for TBS 2 got me fired up for the game again and I spent the last few days doing 2 back to back runthroughs of it. The general idea was to seek out any opportunity for combat available, including the second wave during wars, choose the hardest option for fighting that presented itself (for example the charge in option on wars), and win them all on hard. The first run I started outside of Strand in a save game I'd begun with my nephew that wasn't quite ideally set up (and also began on normal for the first battle, oops). I was still reacquainting myself with the game so I had to pull out of a few second waves in particularly nasty wars, including avoiding the second war of Summer Pass entirely.

    On my second run I got back into my groove and planned things a bit better, completing my goal of taking every fight available, choosing the hardest option, and winning every time on hard. I'll go with the details of that run because I was much more satisfied with it. And as a disclaimer while my first couple runthroughs I played the choices I thought would best fit the characters and the story (ie the "good" choices), in this runthrough I was, well, bloodthirsty, fighting anyone and anything to the point of madness no matter how pissed off Iver got or who died (sorry Hogun). One benefit of that was I was swimming in Renown, enough to buy some pretty significant items along with leveling up my heroes on curve, and by the end I think I had around 50 Renown and nobody else I wanted to promote and I'd been blowing it on supplies in later towns just to rest and up my morale.

    Right off the bat I focused on getting the right kills for the right people, making sure Gunnulf and Eirik got most of the kills in Strand and Hakon and Mogr each got 2 kills in the last battle of that chapter so I could promote them at the beginning of the next one. My main focus at first was getting armor for Gunnulf and Hakon and armor breaking for Mogr going into the Little Did They Sleep chapter. In the next chapter with Rook's group my focus is getting a quick promotion for Rook and Iver with armor breaking and, if possible, one for either Alette or Egil. If Alette then I get her str and with Egil also armor breaking.

    My favorite strategy with Rook at the beginning is to send Egil out to shield wall in front of the larger mass of dredge to slow them down while I take out the smaller group with everyone else, then once the enemy is sufficiently weakened switch him over to breaking armor (once I leveled him enough for him to be useful breaking armor). I saved up renown after the first few battles to check Skogr's market and lucked into a Worldhook, which made things immeasurably easier (especially when I got a second Worldhook in the village where you pick up the thrasher brothers). I like to arrange it so Egil goes first to run in and block a group, then Iver to position himself to protect the archers and damage a weaker enemy, then Rook to armor break and Hogun (I pick him since he has more armor and his damage isn't as important) to Bloody Flail, before finally having the archers do their damage. In a particularly hairy fight I'll have Oddleif, who goes last, toss her ability in front of a scary guy who'd otherwise wreck someone.

    I don't know if there's an option in Frostvellr before the end of the second chapter that lets you fight three battles, but my favorite one in any case is the one where you ambush the cart, then fight your way in for two battles. The upside is you get to kill Onef. F that guy.

    For the varl my turn order is Gunnulf (he's also first once he joins Rook's group) and then Hakon to hopefully take out 2 small guys and a big guy right off the bat. Sometimes it gets dicey when after Gunnulf hits the big guy Hakon's facing off with and he hits Hakon first. Then Mogr to armor break and Eirik to armor break at first, and later on I separate Mogr, Eirik, Ludin, and Bersi (replaced by Griss later) into pairs of one human and one varl so they don't get in each other's way. The idea is Mogr breaks armor for Ludin, and Eirik breaks armor for Griss. Of course it kind of falls apart since Griss can also break armor and Ludin usually ends up going for the guy Eirik broke armor off. Also against stoneslingers I'll just run Ludin in and use his ability on one, since it absolutely wrecks them between their fall back ability and moving on their next turn.

    In the Little Did They Sleep chapter I'd discovered in earlier playthroughs that the only available market for the varl is in that one village near the beginning just after you get Griss, so I made it a point to save up renown in case I found something. Which I did, a Statue of a Sightless man. I also wanted to try and see if equipping Gunnulf with an item would let him carry it over with him when you meet Ubin after Einartoft, which it did, and so I carried Statue over with him (although in retrospect I kind of wish I'd given him the Necklace of Five Rings instead. That would've been killer on Egil or Rook). Still, having a 20 str Warhawk running up and obliterating up to 2 enemies at the very beginning of the battle is its own delight.

    I also got lucky in the wars and actually one some items this time. One was a third Worldhook (and boy did Eirik make good use of it), and the third was an item I hadn't seen before (the name escapes me) that gives 2 deflection on strength attacks and 1 willpower per turn. That saved Hakon's bacon in some of the later fights. Another thing that saved my bacon, although it felt kind of dirty, was Mogr with the Necklace of Five Rings. The 1 armor the necklace gives never gets taken away, and rather than doing str attacks in one battle the dredge just kept on trying to break that last bit of armor until I killed them all. Although it's definitely a relief to see a dredge walk right by a vulnerable hero when hitting him could lose you the battle, or break an unbreakable armor instead of killing your already injured varl, it's also a bit sad in a way to see the AI derping.

    An unexpected delight in this particular playthrough was my decision to stay outside the walls of Frostvellr for the first time, only to go back to Rook's group at the beginning of the 4th chapter and find myself in an endurance challenge against dredge. After two back to back battles the game raised the ante by taking Iver out of the 3rd battle. This is a pretty major loss near the beginning of the game, and I had to scramble a bit and readjust my usual strategy of sending Egil forward to block a large group of enemies. Instead I adopted a very defensive posture with my group backed up to a wall with raiders in front giving armer to everyone and archers in back, with Egil in the corner ready to absorb the massive hit from the battle's single big bruiser when he arrived. The battle included several stoneslingers much earlier in the game than expected and was probably the closest I came to a loss, with only a wounded Oddleif and a nearly dead Egil remaining against a couple nearly dead dredge and one untouched stoneslinger. I managed to maneuver my way to victory and was rewarded with a level 5 red item that gave 1 armor and 1 willpower per turn, which saw a little use later on Eyvinde before I got the Puzzle Box for him.

    As always, it was a delight to get Farthingjord on Rook for ridiculous armor break, although the Battle for the Bridge endurance challenge was interesting because I started it off with half my people injured from the earlier fight to defeat the Stonesinger on the bridge when Iver gets wounded, so ironically it actually got easier the longer it went on because as long as I didn't let anyone else get injured my people actually had more strength each time around. I also swapped out injured Krumr for Hogun for the first few battles until I got Iver back, which made for an interesting change. Luckily I was able to keep from getting any of my people injured, which was good.

    In Einartoft Eyvinde swaps out for Iver on the bridge, after which they both come in and Hogun takes a permanent backseat. Not too long after that when Gunnulf shows up Oddleif also gets benched. At that point the turn order is Gunnulf to run in swinging, Eyvinde to hopefully get off an Arc Lightning on 2 enemies or at least 1, Egil to run in and run interference, Iver to run in and smash an enemy with his new strength/exertion build, Rook to sunder armor, and Alette to do damage. As you can guess with Iver's shieldbanger armor break gone and the presence of so many high strength or strength avoiding (Eyvinde's Arc Lightning) damage dealers, armor breaking takes a back seat with Rook and Egil working overtime. By this point Egil's got enough armor that he doesn't need to use shield wall all the time, so he can get in some armor breaking.

    Eyvinde remains the darling in battles. His ability ranges from deceptively powerful to absolutely broken depending on enemy positioning, and I've gotten over 30 damage with it on multiple occasions. The only other ability that matches that is Rook's Mark Prey when an enemy's armor is already broken and the archers along with any of the melee are in range, although I don't get to use Mark Prey for its full benefit since Rook usually either kills an enemy with broken armor with his own strength at range or, more commonly, breaks armor to soften up an enemy for the archers.

    I also made it a point to try out Mend in this playthrough and it saved my hide (or more accurately Iver's) in the second Summer Pass war and allowed me to keep my people strong enough to take on the second wave. Without the Puzzle Box it took a judicious use of the horn to refill Eyvinde's willpower enough to make Mend worthwhile, and at first I was getting 3 or at best 4 armor back. Later on with the Puzzle Box I managed to get up to 6 (I could have gotten 7 for 2 more willpower but it didn't seem worth it), which was a huge boost for recharging whoever ended up receiving the brunt of the dredge armor breaking.

    A final delight was the final stand inside the walls of that final town whose name escapes me. On earlier playthroughs I'd tried to get my caravan sorted and even went to quell the riots in the hope of getting one last battle in humans in, but this time I just fought with Iver over and over again until Hakon arrived. I think it was 4 or 5 consecutive battles, one of which included a Stonesinger, and by then my party was set and I suffered no injuries. Again Eyvinde put in work, and a few times Gunnulf got a near perfect Tempest that pretty much ended the battles before they began.

    My last battle with Bellower encountered the annoying bug that prevents Silver Arrow from working properly (it seems to happen in the first battle every time so I have to quit and come back in to try again.) The second attempt proved far more hairy than I'd expected. I tried to be more aggressive with a different build and ended up losing half my heroes the first fight. I also had the Silver Arrow on Rook this time around (even though I usually put it on Alette since she's the DPS and I rely so heavily on Rook for armor breaking). Without his armor breaking the second fight became absolutely hair raising as half my heroes died and I was left with a very weak Alette that eventually died, an injured Egil from the first battle, and a Hakon with most of his armor broken that luckily got ignored long enough for me to break Bellower's armor and begin laying into him with Sundering Strike.

    The saving grace of that last battle was that Bellower takes a turn every time you attack him. The first few times that feels like game over as your heroes get wrecked one after another, but once you manage to weaken him it's actually better he's going rather than some of the big nasties he's got with him. The hardest aspect of the Bellower fight is that you're facing 6 enemies that are as strong as or stronger than your heroes, rather than the usual dozen or so mix of weaklings and big bruisers you can focus down while the weakened dredge cycle through their turns. It makes it all the more satisfying though to see him fall.

    So that was my most recent runthrough. I thoroughly enjoy this game every time I play, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what TBS 2 has to throw at me. If you have any questions let me know.
    Last edited by natej11; 02-04-2015 at 12:53 PM.

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