Volume 17 - That is How the Bacon Crumbles - The Life and Adventure of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
That is How the Bacon Crumbles
The Journal of Sir Edelbert Spore
Turn 4799 – We decided to leave Bogslog a level 2. The city can already pop a unit called Swamp Rats, which Kernel has decided we will be popping here for the duration of the campaign. The quick infantry units are amphibious, allowing them to act as scouts in the swamps and as support against aquatic units.
The concern is that the SDE will be counter striking. If we invest in raising the city level now, we may just lose that sometime soon. Arthur and Kernel have agreed that it would be better to push for more substantial gains farther into SDE territory. If we can establish a solid foothold then we can discuss fortifying that position. This will also be easier on the strained treasury.
We will be staying here a few turns to reinforce the column. I will be splitting my time between the golem and improving the defenses of the city. The Arrow Frogs will be shuttling Toadie knights down to Bogslog.
The attempt made against my person was startling. We knew that the enemy would discover I was in the field but we thought it would not be noticed at least until this first battle. The hope was I would remain undiscovered for some time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Not only does the SDE know that I am here, they had the resources to prepare a trap specifically for me. Even worse, those resources were from yet another caster.
My best guess is that the Silent but Deadly Empire has between four and seven casters. We have met their Signamancer and Healomancer. Chief Dismay admitted to having a Florist. Now, in the field we see strong evidence of a Luckamancer too. According to their terms of vassalage, each fledgling nation must contribute a caster to the Empire. This means they may have another two casters. That does not consider the possibility of turning or popping another and they are an old side
Turn 4810 – The Mushroomish Kingdom is now officially at war with two sides. A contingent from the Confederated State of Hamerica attacked the column today. The units consisted primarily of mounted knights split into two approximately even groups. On the ground were lancers riding ferocious Hogwilds. These massive beasts Raged across the battlefield, goring and trampling all the way. Hamhawks collided with our Arrow Frogs in the airspace. Their strength and high Hit totals made for an interesting counter to the frogs. I must say however; the hawk’s tiny white wings and large beaked snout did not seem to match with the otherwise portly pink body.
Although they were defeated, the Hamericans did fight valiantly. The combination of our Chief Warlord bonus and my Dirtamancer bonus make the column extremely formidable, especially with all the specialty units we have at our disposal. I spent my energy reconstituting damaged golem, while Kernel focused on rotating our units to minimize casualties. We outnumbered the Hamericans too badly. The tactic worked like a charm and we obliterated the assaulting foe while suffering relatively minimal losses.
Kernel managed to capture a level 1 warlord which was supporting the porcine raid. Her name is Chicharron and it was surprisingly easy to turn her. The Chief Warlord and I spent most of the evening debriefing her. We have learned of a sea power and enemy of Hamerica and the SDE. They are named the Veganites and they follow King Tofu.
It seems Loyalty is at an all-time low in Hamerica due to the mismanagement by Regent Chump, their leader. Ever since Empress Betty appointed the regent, circumstances have steadily declined for the side and its inhabitants. Things are apparently so bad that units are regularly beginning to abandon the army. Chicharron says she was impressed by our coordination and Leadership, as well as having no desire to be croaked yet.
From all the new intel, we have made a few changes to the plan. A blocky level 2 city called Lardon is just one turn off the path we had already been travelling. We plan to divert and claim it. From there we will be within reasonable striking distance of a level 4 called New Pork City. If battle goes well, we will then be within a few turns of Fatback, their capital city. Chicharron claims that the bulk of the Hamerican forces in the area were just defeated. Most of the army was already deployed on their southern border because of their war with the Veganites. They overcommitted themselves since originally there had only been the SDE and wilderness in this direction.
If we can take Lardon, New Pork, and Fatback then we will have toppled the unprepared Hamericans. This harms the SDE by removing one of their vassals and gives us a platform from which to attack their greater territory. Hamerica bumped up against the south-eastern edge of SDE territory, making them our neighbor now that we have claimed Bogslog. The unfortunate side of the plan is that we will likely expend enough resources that we will have to halt our campaign against the SDE for the time being. Then we can solidify our position and prepare the army to march again.
Turn 4815 – News from Home Journal,
The valley defense fort was attacked by a significant force of SDE infantry. I do not know many details but they held out. The fort is not permanently damaged. The Toadie commander survived and leveled twice. Our casualties were high compared to most of the battles we have had so far, but our leadership was low compared to theirs and the SDE had heavily prepared for this fight. Luck was on our side somehow.
The enemy force retreated into the jungles after taking heavy losses. Scouts are tracing them now to see what they do, but it looks like they are moving away to rendezvous with more troops. This should buy us some fair amount of time before they attack again. Arthur says the next attack will probably be at Bogslog because the Empire will want the city back as a jumping off point.
Turn 4819 – Peaches Found Something Unsettling,
A few turns ago I ordered the princess to go to the Magic Kingdom. I wanted her to begin to study magic in a greater sense, especially since I could not be there to work with her. She was given prerogative to choose any discipline of any class of magic. Understandably, she chose Hippiemancy.
The problem arose within the MK itself. Every Hippie that the princess contacted was pleasant in demeanor but ultimately unwilling to teach her. Florist, Signamancers, nor even Date-a-mancers would agree to talk with her for more than a few minutes. As this continued a few turns, Peaches became suspicious and began asking different questions.
Apparently, Walt Dismay has considerable connections with the Glade of the Hippiemancers. He has been using this influence to dissuade the free casters from working with us. It seems that Peaches is going to be unable to find lessons within the Glade. The barbarian casters have great fear of our adversary Chief. The princess says that it was difficult for her to get an admission of this circumstance at all.
The SDE does not have the same influence on other parts of the island though, so our resident Florist is going to go outside of her class and study something else. Looking over the available options she has chosen to study Turnamancy. Her reasoning is that as a fledgling side we will need all the extra resources we can muster, so her being able to Turn units would be extremely helpful. She says that an improved understanding of negotiation would also be an invaluable skill for her to possess.
I agreed with her reasoning and then course of action. It does not matter to me so much what she studies as that she does study. There is so very much to learn in this huge world and I want her to sample of it.
Turn 4823 – Great News Journal,
New Pork City is now a Mushroomish territory. The battle went well although we lost a few more Arrow Frogs than Kernel would have liked. This city had a good charge on the tower, which was enough to dissuade any serious attempt to take the site by air.
I have noticed that we have been facing an abnormally large number of knights and elite archers. I mentioned this at the tactical meeting today and Chicharron had an answer. Apparently Moneymancers decrease the cost of unit upgrades the way a Dirtamancer decreases city upgrades. Rather than field mass infantry, Hamerica prefers to field smaller numbers of knights supported by heavy mounts.
Seeing what a Moneymancer can do in battle should be interesting. My understanding is that most of their abilities are noncombative, but I am certain Chief Warbucks will have surprises for me. We should be in Fatback in five turns.
Turn 4826 – Interesting Encounter Today,
Scouts discovered a group of Wherewolves in a hex near our path. Kernel and I agreed that Chicharron could use the extra xp so we had her put together a party to lead. Unfortunately, she had limited options because most of our current troops are slow moving golem which need to stay on the straight path to Fatback. She took two Arrow Frogs, four Swamp Rats and a high-level Granite Guardian that had just enough extra move to complete the diversion. As an added precaution, I accompanied her with a stack of Terracotta Infantry.
Chicharron led the fight quite well but the Wherewolves nearly overwhelmed her stack. I was forced to intervene with my Terracottas but we were victorious. The warlady gained level 3.
The fight was a bit of a mystery because we should have won relatively easily. I suspect the fight went poorly because of our opponents natural Findamancy. I have very little experience with Findamancy and it is one of my least understood disciplines. My best guess as to what happened is that the Wherewolves used their abilities to Find openings in our defenses. By knowing where to strike they increased the effectiveness of their attacks both in accuracy and damage. It is just a theory though, I don’t even know if Findamancy can do something like that.
Turn 4828 had begun and the Mushroomish army was waiting two hexes out from the Hamerican capital of Fatback. The column was waiting for a final wave of reinforcements to arrive before moving in to engage.
Edelbert was leaning against one of his golem and trying to calm his nerves. Battle on this scale was still new to him and it made him uncomfortable. Kernel thought they had enough forces to take the city without crippling losses, but there could be any number of nasty surprises waiting. This was a capital fight after all.
Eventually a flight of frogs entered the hex and descended to the ground. To Edelbert’s great surprise, lashed to one of the mounts was Turnip. A small group of Toadie immediately rushed over to help remove the daemon from its seat.
The Dirtamancer went straight to his oldest friend. “I was not expecting you Turnip. How are you doing? When did this change of plans happen?”
“Glum” Was, unsurprisingly, all the daemon Chief had to say.
“It is good to see you.” Edelbert stepped in to embrace his friend with a hug. “Now that you all have arrived I believe it is time to begin. We should find Kernel and solidify any last-minute changes of plan.”
“Glum Glum GLUM” Turnip cast on the Dirtamancer without any warning.
Edelbert did not notice any change at first. He felt normal and had not picked up any specials. It was rare for the caster to understand what Turnip did with its Date-a-mancy but this time he figured it out quickly. His leadership had temporarily raised by a point, which was enough to boost his in hex bonus another point as well. All the golem in his hex would be fighting at +3 because of his Dirtamancer leadership on top of the Chief Warlord bonus.
Sir Spore did not know how to react “Wow, that is new. Can you do that to the others?” was all he said.
“Glum” Turnip said with a rare smile.
“Well we should see to that. I am glad you are here Turnip. Could you grant me an extra special? I figure it will be helpful in the coming battle. Actually, I have an idea.” Edelbert withdrew from his sack a pair of golden tokens emblazoned with a clover leaf. “Okay, I am going to use this Luckamancy item and then I want you to cast on me. Hopefully this will improve the result of the ability, granting me a particularly useful special. If it works, we can use the other token on Kernel” With that the caster flipped the coin
“Weirdish” Turnip chanted “Glum glum glum?” It then asked.
Edelbert had gained the Negotiator special. Presumably it would assist him in making deals with other units. Not likely to be useful in a full-scale battle, he thought, but it was still an interesting new special.
Once inside Kernels tent, Turnip set to buffing the warlords. Using the coin Kernel received the Raider special, which provided him a combat bonus when assaulting enemy cities. It was almost too perfect not to have been instgated by the coin. Chicharron was granted the useless Fangirl special. Immediately she began gushing over Chief Kernel.
A final meeting then took place. The plan was for Edelbert to puncture a hole in the wall allowing the army to begin pouring into the city. Chicharron would lead the charge through the breach and then push toward the garrison. Once the walls opened, Kernel would break off from the main force and punch another hole with the siege. He and a few stacks of Toadie knights would enter through the second breach and make for the tower. Ideally, they could find Chump and end the battle without having to defeat the whole city. This would leave prisoners which should be easily turned.
Soon the action would begin.
Even with a full screen of Hard Rocks and Granite Guardians, Edelbert was having to dodge as arrows rained down from above. The enemy’s elite archers were earning their upkeep on this turn. Still, it was not enough to slow the group’s advance toward Fatback.
Rather than break the walls down they planned to bypass the obstacle almost entirely. As soon as the Dirtamancer could touch the walls, he cast to bore a large hole straight through them. The army rushed the breach and combat began inside the city.
After a short time Chicharron signaled it was safe for Edelbert to follow, which he did. Inside the city his host of golem were engaged with scores of knights. It seemed the Hamericans had prepared more capably than their former warlady had anticipated. All in all, the battle seemed to be progressing according to plans.
Once inside Sir Spore began his primary task, restacking units. He recalled injured golem and replaced them with fresh reinforcements. As soon as he had a substantial group to target he cast “Humpty Dumpty” and mass repaired the group. He was only to do this twice, which would leave him with enough juice for an emergency offensive spell or two.
Just after the first casting Edelbert felt something strange. A pulse moved through the city followed by a thunderous boom. At first the caster thought something had exploded but there were no signs visible. Then he realized that what he was hearing was a woman’s voice projected at immense volume. All that Edelbert had time to make out were the words “Make it rain”, to his caster ear clearly the trigger words of an incantation.
From the top of the tower burst a massive ball of glitter moving at high speed. The orb rapidly ascended the airspace, climbing and climbing. At an indeterminate height the sphere burst and spread out like an umbrella covering the hex. The glitter began to fall.
For Edelbert’s part he simply watched. He knew that this was magic, almost certainly Moneymancy. The thing was that he had no idea exactly what was happening, and he doubted he could do anything to counter it. Besides, the rapidly falling glitter was beautiful to behold as it twinkled and shined.
Suddenly and with overwhelming force, Kernel issued an order to the entire assembled Mushroomish army. TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.
This was the strongest order Edelbert had ever received and his feet were moving before he had consciously registered the command. As he began to run a faint tinkling sound began, like the start of rain against a tin roof.
The Hamerican knights moved in practiced unison. Each held aloft their shield and interlocked the edges with the unit next to them. They huddled together within their phalanx and waited as the glitter began to come down in earnest.
Mere steps from an overhanging roof, something sharp struck Edelbert in the back of the knee and he went down hard on his back. Now looking to the sky, he realized what was falling, not glitter but tiny metal discs. Thousands of coins were raining down all over the city.
With a sudden thud that knocked the wind out of Edelbert, a Granite Guardian dropped down to cover him with its bulk. All around he could feel Hits shaving off his units. The call for cover must have come too late because much of the army was taking notable damage.
After a long few moments the rain of pain stopped. The golem on Edelbert was nearly destroyed. It had taken a significant amount of damage by screening, but did have enough left to stand and release the caster from the ground.
Looking around Sir Spore could see that the army had lost its momentum. The order to take cover had scattered the troops and undone any organization which had been present. The caster was not sure what to do. Too much was happening, and he was not a tactician.
Thankfully, Chicharron with a couple stacks of golem came charging from inside of a stable and reengaged the enemy. Quickly, presumably by her orders, the unled troops regrouped and entered the melee. The streets were full of moving units and the sounds of combat returned to fill the air.
Once again, Edelbert set to grouping injured golem so he could heal them. A short time later he received the now familiar buzz of a Thinkagram. One nice thing about Thinkagrams was that you knew who you were talking to before they spoke. King Arthur was waiting on the other end of the line. “Edelbert, how is it going on your end?”
“The enemy just hit us with a devastating offensive spell. I was hurt but have survived and am pushing onward. I am about to heal another wave of golem. Anything I need to know?” Edelbert had learned to keep it brief to conserve the Thinkshroom’s juice.
“Kernel is cornered on the east side of the garrison. The Hamericans have noticed his gambit and sent troops to counter. He wants you to approach from the west and attempt to access the tower. Primary target is Regent Chump. The words came with the strength of orders.
The Dirtamancer sent an affirmative and set to work. He quickly restacked for an assault using fresh golem from the dwindling reserves. The damaged golem received orders to bash through a building and come out on the flank of the main battle. Hopefully this would swing things in Mushroomish favor again as well as providing a diversion. He worried it may be costly but did not hesitate, this was his best plan.
Moving through the city was easy. It seemed the enemy troops were engaged or in the garrison. Nothing else was moving and silence reigned as he moved away from the battle. Precious seconds ticked by, turning into minutes. Eventually Edelbert found a street which had the garrison walls at the end.
Once he had access, gaining entry was easy. He formed a doorway and simply opened it up. Unfortunately, on the other side enemy units were waiting. A brightly colored group of tiny units were formed into two stacks faced away from the doorway. Each wore a pointed hat and carried a tiny sword.
Edelbert’s first instinct was to seize the initiative and charge the rear of the enemy units but something stopped him. “Chief Grubby?” the caster asked aloud.
All the tiny people spun around, completely surprised to be facing the opposing force through what was a solid wall. At the center of the group was a heavily bearded little man. He looked at the caster and in a surprised voice said “Edelbert? They told me a Dirtamancer was coming. I never would have thought it was you.”
“I had no idea the Hamericans had Loan Gnome allies. How have you been?” Sir Spore was flabbergasted.
“Things have not been well. That is not the point. You are the enemy of our ally. I will allow you to turn and leave out of respect. If you do not, we will have to engage.” The gnomes took on prepared stances.
Edelbert had an inspiration. “Turn, that is a great idea Chief. Why don’t you turn away from Hamerica? I would bet that these guys owe you a substantial amount. We are winning. They are about to fall, there will be no chance that they pay you if they do.”
“What you say is true, but we do not abandon our allies in their time of need. Such a thing is unheard of.” Chief Grubby seemed offended at the very idea.
“Once we take the treasury, the Mushroomish Kingdom will pay back your tribe the amount that the Hamericans owe you. We cannot offer you alliance, but we will allow your tribe to leave unharmed and well paid. Or would you prefer to croak today?” Edelbert knew that his stacks could completely overwhelm the gnomes if it came to that. He also knew he needed to hurry.
The members of the tribe began to look back and forth between each other. One of them reached forward and put a hand on Grubby’s shoulder. The Chief looked pained. “This is my entire tribe. The Hamericans keep our numbers low because we are not powerful combat units. What you say is reasonable Edelbert. Pinky Swear to me the terms of our agreement. We will un-ally and leave this hex.”
“I Swear that the Mushroomish Kingdom will ensure the Hamerican debt to you tribe will be repaid in full. We will also treat the tribe of Chief Grubby with respect and friendship. How is that?”
“It will suffice.” The little leader said almost to himself. Instantly the gnomes were no longer enemy units but neutral units. “One of my tribe will guide you through the garrison. You are seeking to end Chump to stop the battle? I know where he is.”
“Lead on then friend” Edelbert was beginning to think maybe the Negotiator special was useful after all. He would have to remember this. What if he could Turn any troops he encountered. He knew Loyalty was very low on the Hamerican side.
“I must go with my tribe. I am sending Nobbin, one of my most trusted units. He will lead you safely to the Regent.” Grubby bowed slightly to the caster. “Thank you for allowing us the opportunity of survival. We must go now if we are to escape the city before it falls.”
Nobbin was dressed in sky blue clothes. He set off immediately without so much as a word. Moving through the garrison went quickly. The guide gnome clearly knew where he was going.
After a short walk, Nobbin pulled up to stop in front of a large set of oaken doors. “This is the war room. The Regent and Chief Caster should be in there. I have no idea what kind of guard they may have with them. Good luck.” At that the little man darted back down the corridor and out of sight.
Instead of opening the door, Edelbert ordered his four Hard Rock golem to smash it open. His stack would enter the room ready for combat and hopefully get a surprise round.
Crickcrackaboom. The doors splintered open at the golems assault. Seven golem and a Dirtamancer all charged into the room ready to croak some foes, only to find two unstacked units.
Sitting behind a large desk was a slightly orange skinned man. He had the Signamancy of age and a terrible haircut but was otherwise dressed very professionally. His blue suit and tie clashed slightly with the surrounding office but did fit the man very well. His face showed pure terror.
Standing in front of the desk was a portly woman with a look of concern. Her curly red hair accented her pinkish skin and brown freckles. She wore a tight fitting red dress which emphasized the alluring bits of her full-figured form while playing down her excess curves.
Without a defending enemy to engage, Edelbert stalled for a moment. “Regent Chump and Annie Warbucks I assume.” The Dirtamancer spoke to fill the silent moment of confusion.
“What are you doing here? The battle is still outside. How did you get past my defenders?” The Regent yelled at Edelbert, clearly angry.
Chief Warbucks looked to the fuming man. “Does it matter. They are here now. We are done. You have failed Hamerica, Chump. I should have let Empress Betty croak me with Overlady Piggy and Chief Kermit. You were a terrible ruler and I hate you.” She then turned to Edelbert and his stack. “I only ask that you do me the mercy of croaking Chump before me. I would take great pleasure in seeing his end.”
Something strange occurred to the Dirtamancer at this moment. Chump was orange while Annie was pinkish. In fact, all the Hamerican soldiers he had seen shared the pinkish skin and portly stature of the Moneymancer. He wondered if that was the natural Siganamcy of Hamerican units. That would mean Chump was not popped there. The Regent probably came from the SDE and was instated after having travelled to Fatback.
Maybe it was the Negotiator currently within Edelbert. It could have been his preference to peace over violence. Divine inspiration was just as good an explanation. Chief Spore had a wild idea. Internally he sent the signal to the Thinkshrooms to contact him and communicate what he was saying to the King.
“Golem, barricade the doorway.” Edelbert spoke for the theatrical benefit of the waiting enemy units. “You grapple the Regent, do not officially Capture him but pin him tightly.” He pointed at one of his Granites.
The overlord jumped out of his chair. “What is the meaning of this. I will not be manhandled.”
Edelbert smiled a genuine grin. “I have a proposal for you both. Regent Chump, you will willingly abdicate your Seat of Power to Annie. Once that is done you will be escorted to the city gates and released to make your own way. I will even give you a gem from my personal fund to ensure your upkeep.”
The Regent’s face became even more orange as his anger escalated “That is outrageous!”
Annie looked on the developing conversation with a look of shock. She appeared to not know how to respond.
“Overlady Warbucks, you and the true Hamericans will ally with the Mushroomish Kingdom and fight against the SDE with us. We will help you sue for peace with the Veganites and hopefully even convince them to fight the SDE too.”
King Arthur sent his consent silently through the Thinkamamcy channel.
Annie stepped cautiously nearer to Edelbert. “You cannot be serious. We do not have the troops or resources to rebel against the Empire. The Veganites hate us. You have already taken a large bite out of our cities. As appealing as your offer is I cannot see how I can realistically accept.”
“Never!” Regent Chump tried desperately to free himself from the grip of the golem.
“We will return Lardon and New Pork City, but you will have to repay the Loan Gnomes that were your allies. I have already agreed that they would be paid once we seized your capital and I will not go back on my word to them. You will get your side back and give all your fellow Hamericans a chance to live another turn. Do your people really want to croak for a shriveled Chump?”
“No, we do not.” The Moneymancer turned to face the Regent. “Give me the Seat. You have lost Chump.”
“I will not. The Empress has appointed me to this position and it is only by her authority that I can be removed.”
Edelbert silently ordered the golem holding the Regent to squeeze. “Oh, there is another way you can be removed. My plan will be better for everyone though. Do the descent thing, show some compassion for your troops. Release them all before we are forced to croak or capture them.”
Chump snarled as he spoke. “Releasing me into the wild is a sure sentence to croak. I am a courtier unit after all. Your attempts to negotiate using my life are futile. I am as good as croaked already. I will not abdicate.”
The Dirtamancer had not considered his plan in that light. “You are right. What if we allow you to turn to our Kingdom and we will use you as a city manager. You get to live and in comfort too. Hamerica will continue and so will you.”
Once again, King Arthur signaled his ascent.
Chump glared daggers at Edelbert before he finally spoke. “I cannot fight or escape. I have no leverage to negotiate. Even ending myself to deprive you of your spoils is beyond me now. I will do as you ask. Annie come to me.”
The Moneymancer stepped around the desk to face her current Overlord.
Edelbert allowed the golem to release its grip.
Regent Chump reached out his hand and took Annie’s. “I hereby abdicate my powers as Ruler of Hamerica to Annie Warbucks.”
The difference was instant. Chumps suit seemed to lose some of its clean-cut quality. He still was well dressed but there was a sort of shabbiness at his edges somehow. Overlady Warbucks dress changed from cotton to silk. A diamond necklace appeared around her throat. The office shifted too. The massive desk disappeared and was replaced with a small writing table against the wall. A couch and three comfy chairs appeared in a circle at the center of the room.
Overlady Warbucks turned immediately to Edelbert. “I officially declare an end to Hamericas alliance with the Silent but Deadly Empire. As well, I offer alliance to the Mushroomish Kingdom with exact terms to be negotiated and Signed into contract.”
“As Chief Caster of the Mushroomish Kingdom I accept your offer.
Annie and Chump went from being enemy units to being allied units in an instant. Chump then turned to Edelbert’s side just as quickly.
Chief Edelbert Spore faced the new leader. “Overlady Warbucks, if you would please accompany me to ground level. I suspect that our Chief Warlords would like to know what is going on.” He smiled at how confused Kernel must be right about now.