Defeat all your enemies to win the scenario. However, if Catherine is defeated in combat the scenario is lost. Catherine will be allowed to advance to 18th level and carry over her experience, skills, and spells into her next scenario.
Starting bonus: 30 Pikeman or 20 Archers or 8 Griffins.
Green - Friendly Town
Red - Enemy Town
Grey - Neutral Town
Yellow - Underground Passage
A# - Allied Towns
O# - Opponent Towns (a,b,c,d,e,f,g indicates which enemy)
N# - Neutral Towns
M# - Mirror Entrances (a) and exits (b). two-way unless stated
E# - Exit (a) entrance and (b) exit
S# - Seer (a) and the location of the item (b)
G# - Guard Tents (a) and the location of the Guard Tower (b)
J - Jail
X - Ambush
Catherine starts at level 12 with 5-8 skills learned. She will always know Archery, Logistics, Diplomacy, and Leadership. Ballistics, Offense, and Estates are common 5th/6th skills and I have occasionally seen her start with various other skills including Wisdom, Armorer, and First Aid. It is probably worth restarting the scenario until you have a Catherine without First Aid and with the capability to have both Wisdom and at least one school of magic. The Conflux towns can build Magic Universities so you can pick up the school of your choice. If possible, try to get Catherine to Expert Wisdom so she can benefit from the L5 mage guilds in the Inferno towns.
Sorsha and Cuthbert start at level 4, but their starting skills are far less important than Catherine’s.
I recommend taking the 20 Archers for your bonus. They offer the strongest contribution to your starting army. Both you and the enemy start with powerful heroes, three moderately developed towns, and substantial numbers of troops. The enemy will almost certainly capture two of the neutral towns on their first turn putting you at a disadvantage until you claim at least one for yourself.
All three of your heroes should visit their starting towns. Catherine and Sorsha should buy spellbooks, Sorsha should pick up the 50 Crusaders in Pandathalyn (A3), and Cuthbert should pick up the 100 Marksmen in Marshallston (A1). Now it’s time to invest the rest of your starting gold. I recommend upgrading Catherine’s Archers to Marksmen and having Catherine clear the Familiars to her southwest, the Horned Demons near her starting position, and move towards the Imps to her east. Hire another hero from the Tavern in Defiance (A2), leaving a Castle hero for Cuthbert, and have that hero go where the Familiars were to pick up the three Treasure Chests for gold, the Bow of Elven Cherrywood, and the Bowstring of the Unicorn. If you avoid picking up anything else here (for now) except what is necessary to reach the Chests/artifacts, this hero will be able to deliver the artifacts to Catherine at the start of her second turn.
Sorsha does not need to hire or upgrade any troops. The 50 Crusaders are easily capable of clearing everything in her starting area except the large Efreet stack guarding a treasure horde. In Marshallston, hire the starting Castle hero from the Tavern, give their troops to Cuthbert, and have them visit the Redwood Observatory. If possible (it will depend on the Treasure Chests), buy a City Hall in Pandathalyn and a Marketplace in Marshallston, and then spend any remaining gold on upgrading Cuthbert’s starting archers to Marksmen and hiring additional Marksmen and Griffins from Marshallston. Sorsha and Cuthbert can start clearing their areas while Catherine heads east and south to capture Goldenton (N3) and track down Olema, who has the strongest enemy starting army. Goldenton is a good place to upgrade Catherine’s Swordsmen to Crusaders.
I recommend giving Cuthbert reinforcements because Fiona is likely to invade his area before the end of the first week unless Catherine is able to quickly come north (this depends on what Olema does). His 100 Marksmen alone are too vulnerable to defeat Fiona, but he can win handily if they are supported by the troops you can recruit from Marshallston and the surrounding dwellings. Use his extra hero to help with flagging dwellings and transporting troops around.
If Catherine can quickly defeat Olema she can head north to help capture Endelstadt (N2). Otherwise she should stay in the Goldenton area and Cuthbert should prep to make a push on Endelstadt in early week two after receiving reinforcements from Marshallston. Building priorities are to get City Halls wherever you can and Citadels in Marshallston and Pandathalyn. It is possible to purchase a Portal of Glory in Defiance in week 1, but I recommend waiting until week 2 for that. Instead, build a Castle, Stables, and Training Grounds in Marshallston and save some gold to maximize Cuthbert’s week 2 army.
Once you control all five Castle towns you can relax somewhat: you are out producing the enemy and the two central towns naturally guard the main routes across the map. Send scouts to explore, pick up treasures and flag dwellings, and try to get some visibility on the northern passage so an enemy army can’t sneak across to Marshallston. The southern passage isn’t a problem since enemy heroes going that route have to pass near Goldenton to reach Pandathalyn. Use secondary heroes to shuttle troops from your starting towns to your main heroes and the forward Castles.
If you’ve preserved a decent amount of your starting armies and destroyed the enemy starting armies I recommend hiring reinforcements from Endelstadt and Goldenton and making an immediate push into enemy territory with Catherine and either Cuthbert or Sorsha wielding their combined armies. Two week’s worth of Inferno troops can’t stand up to dozens of Crusaders and Marksmen backed up by substantial numbers of Pikemen/Halberdiers, Cavaliers/Champions, Royal Griffins and maybe Zealots. Otherwise, consolidate your side of the map and work on flagging mines, and consider invading Nothenden (N1), Southerdale (N4), or defeating the Efreets near Pandathalyn to access the substantial treasure horde they are guarding. The combined growth from 3-4 towns over a couple of weeks should build up a strong force you can use to invade by week 3 or 4. All three of the Inferno towns start with the same development so the order you attack them is a matter of convenience.
To build up Catherine for later maps in this campaign I recommend trapping the enemy in O2a. A hero positioned in front of that town completely blocks enemy heroes from exiting, making it safe for secondary heroes to deliver reinforcements to ensure the enemy stays trapped. Catherine is now free to visit stat boosting buildings (make sure to visit the Library of Enlightenment), pick up Earth Magic from the Conflux towns, and build up and visit all of your Castle and Inferno mage guilds for powerful spells (the Conflux guilds are limited to level 1). If Catherine is still short of level 18 she can visit the Tree of Knowledge and Altar of Sacrifice. When you’re ready, conquer E2 to win the map or, if you’re daring, let an enemy hero out so Catherine can get another +1 Power from the Order of Fire and one more chance at a good level 5 spell before you finish them off.