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Features → Walkthroughs  → The Necromancer → The Temptation

by Rapier

Before going into the details of the first map I'll discuss useful skills to take.

Markal starts with necromancy and leadership + diplomacy. His speciality is that neutral undead will always offer to join him. Since all undead units actually have a constant 0 morale and will join Markal no matter what, this skill line isn't particularly useful, unless you are going to use living units from other races. If you want to convert units from other races to undead, you can go for Herald of Death, but you can do it in Necro towns as well. Anyways, make diplomacy a low priority on your list (as you will have tons of undeads joining you for free!).

As for spell schools Markal starts with raise dead, and you get access to at least 1 town you can build up in every level so any spell school you choose will probably be of use. I took Dark magic and had all the dark magic spells except blind by the end of level 3. By the same token if you want to take ballistics you'll have access to a blacksmith in the last 4 levels of the campaign.

It isn't worth going for Howl of Terror because you will waste a lot of points on useless skills, and you're unlikely to reach level 30 over the course of the campaign. Even if you do get this ultimate skill to fight the final boss, it won't really give him bad morales as he probably will come with Expert Leadership. Playing a spell caster probably is the way to go with Markal as your spell power stat is going to outstrip all the others by a fair margin by the time you're on level 5. Attack is very useful for Markal, too, because it comes with the feat Battle Frenzy to boost your skeleton archers' power by 67%, plus archery to give you another 20%.

For the heroic difficulty, since patch 1.2 the final boss of this campaign has been boosted up quite a bit. So you probably want to pick Dark (be sure to get Mark of Necromancer later), Summoning (for Phoenix) and Sorcery to maximize Markal's effectiveness.

Patch 1.3 toned down Raise Dead by increasing its mana requirement by 50%, and each successive cast will lower your raised stack's maximum HP by 20%, all the way down to 1 after 5 casts. So you have to play smarter now.

Objectives:

  • Reach Vigil
  • Avoid Enemy Patrols
  • Markal must survive

Carryover:

  • Markal (Max level: 10)

Bonuses at start:

  • 20 Skeleton Archers
  • Breastplate of Eldritch Might (+2 spellpower)
  • Suffering (Dark Magic)
  •  

Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface (1.2 MB)

I would choose the breastplate as it allows you to cast raise dead with greater effect (reducing casualties in fights with neutrals). On higher difficulties the extra skeleton archers helps quite much for the first few fights. Only suffering will carry over, however you're very likely to pick it up later on in another mage guild, and you will always have better spells to cast, such as Raise Dead, Phantom Force, and Mass Slow.

At the start of this scenario you should head up and collect the skeleton unit. The Magi Hut is important for telling you where Orange Player's locations and moves are. You should also collect the Liches that are displayed a few days to your east before heading up to avoid Orange. Get the Skeleton Archer feat from Necromancy as soon as possible.

You'll pick up new objectives whenever you get too close to an Orange Hero, which is to escape pursuit. "Too close" is defined by proximity; effectively if the orange player can reach you in a turn, or knows how to get very close to you in a turn it will give you that objective. The detection range is based upon the difficulty that you play the game at, and they can detect more on higher difficulties.

Important: This mission is infamously bugged since the release, and even patch 1.3 has not fixed the problem! The bug involves a stationary eastern patrol, blocking the player's path permanently. Nothing can save the situation so the player has to restart the mission. This bug is triggered by the player loading a save while the patrol is on the eastern path -- doing so will paralyze its patrol function and it won't move forever. Therefore, NEVER load a save during the first two turns of this mission, and whenever the patrol goes east.

The best way to avoid Orange is to take routes that just don't go near them, as they're set to patrol in certain areas until they detect you. If they do detect you, sometimes moving fast even in the path they will take is enough to avoid them catching you. (They pause right when they detect you, and don't act again until the turn after). Neutral stacks will not protect you from them however, and if they catch you, you don't get a fight but lose automatically with a cut scene. Just for your information, every time the patrol is alerted, they start to go back to their default position -- the western patrol goes south, and the eastern patrol goes east (refer to the double-headed white arrows on the minimap.)

Your objective on the above ground map is to avoid the patrols and make it to the subterranean gate in the bottom right. Pick up the Boots of Swift Journey as soon as possible (click on the picture below); it is located at the end of a western branch off the middle road that you come from. On the very north of the map, you can pick up several more liches - very handy in larger battles.

Before reaching the other side of the river, try to visit the Witch Hut on the NW region, and a knowledge +1 stat bonus south of the Witch Hut. The key to shake off the east-side patrol is to stay far away from him. When he reaches the northern part of the map, sprint through his patrol passage at once. Be careful do not let him detect you before he goes far enough, or he will turn back on the next turn.

On the eastern road you can fight several water elementals to upgrade your units at a Hill Fort. Further south you can pick up some vampire lords, which are very useful units as their attack triggers no retaliation, and they recover health (even revives the fallen ones) from dealing damage. Take the detour to visit the watermill and pick up the resources east of it, if you think the patrol isn't on your tail.

After crossing the river, you can visit the stat bonus and pick up one more group of vampire lords. If you are scaring enemies away, don't let them run away as they will feed your skeleton archer pool. The Orange patrol will be activated once you cross the river, so try to be fast here as well. The Orange patrol sometimes roams to the underground portion, but they are not really chasing you down there.

Once underground there are two Purple heroes on side routes to your west, including a dungeon town in the SW if you wish to take it. There are also a few mines around, many of them guarded by black dragons! These are all there just to help you reach the level cap, and perhaps teach you a few extra spells. There are also stat bonuses close to the purple heroes.

What is important is the subterranean entrance in the top right, which takes you up into the Griffon Empire near Vigil. Along the way you can pick up a large stack of skeleton archers, but by this time you should be able to match that number already. After the cut scene you'll face the boss of this mission, which shouldn't be any problem providing you've been collecting neutral undead stacks, and minimizing losses with frequent use of the Raise Dead spell, as well as one-unit stacks to block off incoming creatures (especially effective against large creatures).

Comments

ShadowLiberal at 2012-11-23 22:50 wrote:
Found a bug/trick that can stop Orange's hero from following you into the under ground without even killing him.

Once you kill the creatures blocking you from crossing the river at the bottom of the map, orange will soon come and block the path, and stand there seemingly forever until you go underground.

I realized I forgot to loot some of the stuff right below where orange stops however, on a small island guarded by golems. So I went over, in the danger zone that triggers the get away mission. I killed the golems and took the loot, then ended my turn, still in the danger zone. Orange then moved forward, halfway towards my hero.

I used my next turn to flee east, but not underground. Orange then walked back from where he came, and began to just patrol similar to how he did at the beginning before you crossed his route.

I was then able to sneak back to the hill fort to update my army, and clear out the entire under ground without orange ever bothering me (other then wasting my time with his moves after I hit end turn).

ShadowLiberal at 2012-01-17 02:55 wrote:
There's another way to stop the orange hero, hire another hero or two in the dungeon town, and block Orange's path to Markal. If you give your wall heroes an army you can even defeat Orange's hero.
kmleong at 2010-01-07 07:41 wrote:
Da_Vane is correct, Just Bait the orange hero to attack the underground town Kill Him, Check Objective to see if it tick (Completed) Avoid Orange Patrol. Just follow the walkthrough defeating purple hero etc.
there IS NO NEED to care about orange hero left on the other island
Da_Vane at 2009-11-03 11:02 wrote:
I actually found out something worth mentioning with this map - If you conquer the Dungeon Town, you can actually fight the Orange hero that follows you if you garrison the town with Markal when Orange tries to attack. This is a good way to get your revenge!

Shad0WeN at 2008-10-19 03:31 wrote:
I also got week of the Minotaur in my game & a stack of about 20 joined my army on the way to siege the Dungeon town. When I captured it I also built the Minotaur dwelling to supplement my new tank unit. It was basically their job to serve as a guard for my shooters & remember that they always have positive morale regardless of any modifiers so it's cool to mix them with undead troops. Same goes for elementals, golems, gargoyles.

Shad0WeN at 2008-10-19 03:13 wrote:
Resources are scarce on this map, especially gold early on as you explore the surface terrain, so it may be challenging to scrape together enough cash to upgrade your forces at the Hill Fort. The nearby Trading Post is great for selling off your excess wood that you have been accumulating, however as far as mines go there is only one each of a sawmill, crystal mine & gold mine, so keep that in mind as you will want to save enough to build up the mage guild and whatever else in the Dungeon town.

As far as what kind of creatures to raise: on the surface I went for Wights/Wraiths primarily & used any extra Dark Energy to pick up an extra Lich here and there. Skeleton Archers were my 3rd choice. In the underground I went for as many Vampires as possible from the Dark/Grim Raiders, with Liches as my 2nd choice.

I was able to accumulate a stack of 9 Wights during the course of the map & they really made things a lot easier - they helped with being a main offensive unit as well as serving as a protector for my shooter stacks of Liches & Skeleton Archers. If it wasn't for them I'm sure I would have had to cast Raise Dead more instead of allowing them to take a lot of the punishment. Even though they don't have much in the way of special creature abilities, Wights & Wraiths are quite durable & probably deal the best raw damage among Tier 6 creatures.
Edited on Mon, Oct 20 2008, 15:21 by Shad0WeN

Shad0WeN at 2008-10-07 08:10 wrote:
Quote:
--------------------
I highly recommend taking the first chest for XP. If you get 1000+ XP, you can (hopefully) pick up Mark of the Necromancer right away, which can make the initial game go much more smoothly.
Edited on Sun, Aug 05 2007, 11:13 by Grail Quest
--------------------

My thoughts exactly. It helped me avoid losses early on by allowing me to cast Raise Dead more often. This ability is also pretty sweet when combined with direct damage spells. I learned Magic Arrow & Ice Bolt at a couple of the shrines and when cast on a creature enchanted by the Mark of the Necromancer you get some mana back based on how much damage is done, essentially allowing you cast those spells at a reduced cost. The higher your spell power (and thus the more damage done), the more mana you get back.

By the way, the Wand of Fire Trap is always there next to the Knowledge Crystal on the West side & is very useful for taking out some neutral stacks (like Djinns & Rakshasas) that may otherwise give you trouble. One thing to be careful of though - even if you have the "use magic in autocombat" option disabled, Quick Combat will still use this wand.

Deja at 2007-10-16 03:30 wrote:
I don't think it's fair to say the purple heroes are "incompetent". Only Orange is patrolling for you; Purple is not. If you leave them alone, one Purple hero will head topside (I didn't watch long enough to see what he'd do). The other one heads straight for the Dungeon city to capture it, which seems a reasonable action for a player who has no cities.

I don't know if this item always appears, but in my game I found a Wand of Fire Trap. I built up the Mage's Guild in the Dungeon city, which happened to teach Fire Trap. But I found that Fire Trap did not get entered into my spell book. I had to unequip the wand, exit the city, and re-enter to receive the spell. This was with version 1.41.

Peredhil at 2007-10-03 16:13 wrote:
You can beat one of the Orange heroes(in 1.0,at least) if you stay inside the Dungeon town when he comes underground and attacks you.That way you won't trigger the "mission failed" script.Sadly, the other chaser get stucked in the NE corner and only Markal can reach him (but with a "mission failure" not-so-happy-ending)

Grail Quest at 2007-08-01 14:52 wrote:
Amazingly straightforward mission on Heroic. The Orange Heroes don't always beeline for you, so they are generally easy to avoid. Although stacks grew quite quickly, undead stacks were also plentiful, and next time I might not spend so much time re-visiting creature generators. Having a single large stack of ~30 Vampires will let you defeat a lot of neutrals. The amount of time allowed for wandering around was luxurious, especially in the underworld. Purple avoided me, and it took a long time for Orange to finally come down. Maybe it blocks the eastern path by script, so that it won't follow Markal too closely in the underworld?
Couldn't build up the underground town for spells as Orange came down, but will try that next time.
*
I highly recommend taking the first chest for XP. If you get 1000+ XP, you can (hopefully) pick up Mark of the Necromancer right away, which can make the initial game go much more smoothly.
Edited on Sun, Aug 05 2007, 11:13 by Grail Quest

maltz at 2006-10-01 19:51 wrote:
You only need to defeat one hero. The other will become your ally and the mission ends.
ceesr at 2006-08-21 14:25 wrote:
So, at the end of the game only the orange hero before the castle needs to be beated ? Or also the blue one inside the castle, I can not even manage the orange one, how many troops are needed to win this battle ?

wimfrits at 2006-08-11 06:31 wrote:
However, although the orange patrols are quite persistent, the purple ones in the underground seem incompetent, and at one point rode straight past us. Just as well, in view of lack of maneuver options down there. All good fun.

I only recall meeting 2 purple heroes in the underground, which got immediately trampled beneath my skellies. I don't think they had a patrol function like the orange heroes.
NickMP at 2006-08-10 17:58 wrote:
Played on Hard. The most difficult bit was beating the archmage stack at the underground entrance - I needed to reload and accumulate force a bit first. The hill fort in the NE of the overground map can be useful.

Like all the pursuit scenarios, this gives an enjoyable sense of fear as one dodges the patrols. However, although the orange patrols are quite persistent, the purple ones in the underground seem incompetent, and at one point rode straight past us. Just as well, in view of lack of maneuver options down there. All good fun.

maltz at 2006-06-22 13:37 wrote:
The Orange patrol bug goes that if one loads a game, the patrols stop patrolling. This can be a game killer if the 2nd patrol stops on the only route to the right. I had to restart my game when it happened.

We can actually abuse this bug to our advantage -- when the patrols walk to the most distant spot (far north), we save and game and load it. This way they are almost out of concern forever!

By the way, Howl of Terror is not so hard to get in this campaign, one can have it way before level 30. There are 4 witch huts in the first 3 missions, and one of the required skills (dark revelation) provides a free level up. I think the fastest possible level to get it is lv 26 (if all witch huts give something useful, which is very ulikely). If half of the witch huts turn in something good, then it is lv 28.

***

Edited: As of patch 1.3, the starting Orange patrol bug has not been fixed.
Edited on Sat, Sep 30 2006, 21:35 by maltz

maltz at 2006-06-20 16:50 wrote:
To Da_Vane: I just had the same thing happened to me last night. I read around and found that this mission is F*ing BUGGED. As long as we load from a save file, the orange patrols stop moving. The only way to go around is to never load the game, and keep playing until we pass the left half of the map. I am going to try it tonight.
Da_Vane at 2006-06-20 08:03 wrote:
Ack! Orange has just sat down in the only path to the underground and hasn't moved for TWO WEEKS!? I can't even run past, because there's no way around without a fight... :(

Robenhagen at 2006-06-06 15:48 wrote:
:up: I had a similar experience with the orange trying to conquer my town, unfortunately I was in the garrison and kicked his butt. This had no effect on the objective to avoid enemy patrols.

Grumpy Old Wizard at 2006-06-06 10:14 wrote:
Orange went underground after I killed one of the heroes there. He went far north and into one of the side caverns. After hanging out there for a few turns he decided to conquer my town.

It is worth it to explore the underground instead of just going for the exit. There are a couple of power ups down there, artifacts, a spell shrine or 2, and you can build up the mages guild in the town for some spells.

stefan.urlus at 2006-06-06 00:30 wrote:
well, i'm playing on normal .... and he just sat at the redwood observatory and let me collect away, found this a particularly easy mission ....

Campaigner at 2006-06-02 18:14 wrote:
Capture the town and he didn't follow me.

Damn, I must play quicker so the walkthrus don't catch up to me :p

DaemianLucifer at 2006-06-02 16:54 wrote:
No,it didnt follow me.But it did sense me when I was under him,so I got the objective about escaping the pursuit again.

Gaidal Cain at 2006-06-02 16:29 wrote:
I believe the orange hero starts to follow you if you capture the purple town.

Rapier at 2006-06-02 15:29 wrote:
I wasn't aware that orange would continue to pursue you that far. I spent several turns in the dungeon and orange just stopped.

Did you stay close to the subterranean gate? So that Orange could reasonably expect to catch you? If not maybe it detects your proximity irrespective of the underground (despite it having no way to catch you if you stand underneath orange…)

levi28 at 2006-06-02 14:50 wrote:
Just a comment: orange will follow you under ground sometimes. I couldn't figure it out when and why but it happened to me. Not imediately, but after like 4 turn ( I took my time and went to the Dungeon town to build some mage guild there) he came after me and actualy took the dungeon town but after that he stopped and didn't followed.

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