By Royal Decree
By placing a price on the heads of the escaped slaves, Mad King Gryphonheart caused the slaughter of hundreds of Mudlanders. Even today, mass unmarked graves of headless corpses can be found in the swamps.
Eliminate Baron Paglon by conquering all the towns. All Heroes will be limited to level 18, but Tarnum and his two best Captains will transfer to the next scenario.
|Day 1 - Day 1 - intro|
|Baron Paglon slipped away just before we conquered his Castle, and now he has fortified himself in another. Mad King Gryphonheart sent more reinforcements along with a warning.|
This time, Paglon had to succeed or he would be stripped of his title.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to capture a Garrison near Paglon's Castle and fill it with some troops. We're safe as long as I hold that Garrison.
|Day 3 - Day 3|
|The familiar glint of steel in the early morning sunlight warned me to duck. Just as I dove to the ground, a steel bolt whizzed overhead, sinking solidly into the tree behind me. The Marksman scuttled off quickly into the swamp.|
Then one of my soldiers brought me the bolt. There was a piece of parchment attached to it. It read:
"By command of his Majesty, King of Erathia, all slaves walking the land without shackles and the written permission of their master will be put to death immediately! A reward of ten silver will be given for the head of any escaped slave."
I expected this response, just not so soon. Now, we'll have every thief, brigand, and pirate in the land hunting for us.
|Day 8 - Day 8|
|The Gnoll commander, Brellick, took a few troops to retrieve a couple families of escaped slaves from a nearby pond. They had been hiding there ever since they broke from their pens, and now they wanted to join my ever-growing army.|
But when Brellick returned I could see that something was wrong. The Gnolls walked with their heads held low, dragging their flails behind them in the mud.
"What happened, friend?" I asked.
Brellick shook his head and muttered, "They're all dead! Women. Pups. All of them!"
"Paglon got to them?"
"I don't think so. Not even Paglon has been this brutal," Brellick said. Then he described the bloody scene at the pond, faltering when he talked about the headless corpses hanging from trees.
"Bounty hunters!" I cursed.
|Day 11 - Day 11|
|Brellick and a few other Gnolls approached me early this morning, but it wasn't Brellick who spoke to me. One of the other soldiers stepped nervously forward.|
"Sir, I have bad news," the Gnoll stammered.
I looked at Brellick and the others. They were afraid of me, or perhaps it was my response they feared? When did I get a reputation for cruelty? Then I recalled that all these Gnolls had been slaves just a few short months ago. Whenever they had to report bad news to their masters, they were probably whipped for it. No wonder they expect me to respond similarly.
"What is it?" I asked.
"We," the Gnoll began, glancing at Brellick and the others for support, "were checking the supplies before we began the march today. Practically an entire wagon is missing!"
"Really? Are you sure?" I asked calmly. Wagons didn't just disappear, but I didn't want to give my own troops reason to fear me, so I restrained my shock.
"We think deserters stole the resources," Brellick said.
"Deserters? How many?"
"Nearly a dozen. I'm sad to say they are Gnolls, sir."
Well, the desertions had begun. I'm not surprised, considering the odds against us. The true problem is how to deal with it. Normally, swift and firm punishment would scare the rest of the soldiers straight, but if I responded with brutality these Gnolls would simply see me as another slavemaster.
"Send a search party after the deserters, but don't go out of your way. I can't force them to fight, nor do I want to."
Brellick nodded and turned to leave.
"One more thing," I said. "Order the search party to capture the deserters. Don't kill them! Don't harm them in any way."
|Day 13 - Day 13|
|Today, I joined the party searching for the deserters after they discovered some fresh tracks. Leaving Brellick in command of the army, I took half a dozen Lizardmen with me. We crept through the mud and bushes, ignoring the fat leeches that collected on our bare skin.|
Finally, we tracked them to a small cave in the side of a mound poking up out of the swamp. A few of the trees around the entrance to the cave had been burned black and lifeless by a recent fire.
"Half of you form up on the left, the others on the right," I ordered, drawing my sword. "I'm going in."
I slipped into the cave on my hands and knees. The scent of charred vegetation was replaced by the pungent odour of burned flesh. I knew what I would find even before I saw the bodies, but I still couldn't stop. I crawled to the back of the cave, trying not to breathe the disgusting air.
And I found the deserters. That is, what was left of them. Their killers had ambushed them while they slept, removing their heads, stealing their supplies, and for some reason they set the cave on fire.
These were the type of people we were dealing with. Murderers!
If only I had the time to turn my army against Mad King Gryphonheart. The man was a blight on this land. But I wasn't here for vengeance. I was here to save a people from destruction.
|Day 17 - Day 17|
|Reports of more massacres keep coming in. Women, children, and the elderly - no one is safe from these murderous bounty hunters. And I keep hearing about the lines of people who gather outside Baron Paglon's castle every morning to collect the ten pieces of silver for each head they've collected. Some even bring cartloads of their trophies!|
It's all too familiar!
"By the Ancestors! Give me just a few seconds with this scum!" I shout in a moment of weakness and rage.
As I look at my troops, I can tell my fury is catching. If I don't control it soon, I'll have an army of maniacs thirsting for blood as I did so long ago when I conquered Bracaduun.
Later, in my tent, the wise woman, Adamina, came to talk to me.
"Do you think destroying our enemy will save us?" she asked.
I could tell by her suspicious tone that she was up to something.
"It's not the only way," I admitted, "If we don't find a home and bind together as a community, we'll forever be weak. If not the Erathians, then someone else will walk in and enslave us."
"A wise choice, but I seem to recall from the ancient stories a great and horrible leader of the Barbarians who made another choice," Adamina said.
So, she suspected I wasn't who I said I was, but how much did she know?
"He was wrong! If we can't learn from history, then we are doomed to repeat it, aren't we?" I said.
Adamina nodded. There was nothing more to say.
|Day 19 - Day 19|
|Perhaps the Ancestors inspired my dream, but I woke knowing that bringing these people to their homeland wouldn't be enough. What would they do when my time with them was over? Who would lead them?|
That was the point, wasn't it? As the Barbarian Tyrant, I led my people astray. I taught them how to be brutal, merciless, uncaring. It would take much for them to unlearn those lessons. It would take a leader, a teacher, someone to guide them. Finally, I knew how to correct the errors I made!
And I knew the same would be true for the Mudlanders. Just as my people, after I freed them from slavery, needed a good leader to guide them. I also knew that I couldn't be that leader. One day, the Ancestors would call me away. They needed one of their own.
|Day 22 - Day 22|
|Who can lead the Mudlanders when I am gone?|
That is the question that was on my every thought until I saw the young warrior, Droglo. He was what they call a 'swamp-boy', a human raised in the swamp among the creatures. Although not a slave himself, he had spent much of his life battling the Erathians.
But it wasn't his resourcefulness, or his battle skills, or even his charisma that convinced me he would be an excellent leader of the Mudlanders. It was his compassion.
Some Gnolls brought Droglo to my camp as a prisoner. The Gnolls had been responsible for some Erathian captives when the boy released them, so they brought me Droglo instead.
When I asked the boy why he let the prisoners free, Droglo said, "Because they were innocent. I heard the Gnolls accusing them of slaughtering some children, but I know that is not true. I already killed the thugs responsible for that crime!"
"Don't you think they are still guilty of other crimes? For instance, slavery?"
"Yeah, well, I don't think they chose to lock our people up. There've been Mudlander slaves here before they were born. The way I see it, it's that Mad King's fault and the fault of his father and his father before that. Those soldiers held slaves, same as we Mudlanders work for our masters. It's how things are!"
That's when I knew Droglo would be the perfect leader for these Mudlanders. But first, I had to turn him into something more than a simple 'swamp-boy'.
|Day 25 - Day 25|
|Baron Paglon realizes that he is trapped. There is nowhere to run, and there will be no more help from Mad King Gryphonheart. So, Paglon has offered me a deal - half his wealth if I let him go free.|
I have refused. Paglon was worse even than Lord Onsten because he supported and even encouraged the Rogues who have been roaming the countryside gathering the heads of escaped slaves. Perhaps with Paglon out of the way, some of the murders will stop. Then who will pay the bounty?
|7, 24, 0||Several ambushers spring from the dense vegetation and attack.|
|3, 5, 0||Castle|
|7, 28, 0||Fortress|
|12, 13, 0||Castle|
|30, 32, 0||Fortress|
|3, 5, 0||Ingham the Cleric|
|7, 29, 0||Your most powerful hero from The First Law scenario.|
|12, 13, 0||Baron Paglon the Knight|
|19, 29, 0||Your most powerful hero from The First Law scenario.|
|30, 33, 0||Tarnum the Beastmaster|
|5, 24, 0||Gnoll||The Gnolls immediately fall to their knees and begin to plead with you, wanting desperately to join your army.|
|5, 32, 0||Archer||"We have orders to shoot escaped slaves!"|
|12, 30, 0||Rogue||"Excellent! More heads for the bounty!"|
|17, 20, 0||Monk||A group of Monks stand vigil outside the Garrison, apparently awaiting your arrival. They turn toward you as they approach and begin to chant.|
"We will send you to whatever gods you worship, heathens!" a Monk shouts.
|17, 33, 0||Archer||"The miller pays good taxes to Baron Paglon and deserves our protection. Any who approach will be dealt with - harshly!"|
|21, 21, 0||Serpent Fly||The Serpent Flies dive bomb for your head but pull up at the last moment, buzzing by you. Gleefully, they create quite a display as they soar above you.|
"Ssssee? We are ssstrong enough to join you!" they cry.
|23, 34, 0||Lizardman||"Do you have any food? Paglon hasn't seen fit to feed us in three days," say the Lizardmen.|
After you give them food from your own meagre stores, these Lizardmen ask to join your army.
"At least we'll have food in our bellies," they say.
|25, 32, 0||Archer||"We'll put an arrow through your skull if you approach! This is Baron Paglon's mine!"|
|27, 25, 0||Lizardman||Someone forced these Lizardmen to guard the other slave pens, but with no troops in sight they will gladly join you instead.|
|31, 27, 0||Rogue||"The King's Gold is off limits! Stand back!"|
|34, 21, 0||Lizardman||"Greetings! We used to be this Scholar's slaves, but he freed us in exchange for helping him get out of Paglon's castle. That job is done, so we'd like to join you."|
|34, 34, 0||Rogue||"We have orders to kill all rebels. Drop your weapons or die!"|
|1, 26, 0||Necklace of Swiftness||If you want this Necklace of Swiftness, it looks like your going to have to fight the Griffins protecting it.|
Do you attack?
|23, 31, 0||Inexhaustible Cart of Ore||Some of Baron Paglon's soldiers struggle to move this Cart of Ore, especially since they don't have any animals to pull it through the thick mud. But they would certainly defend it if you try to take it, so do you want to attack now?|
|33, 14, 0||Ring of Life||All clues led you to this place where the Ring of Life can be found, but your scouts report that some Zealots and Monks hide nearby to ambush you when you go for the Ring.|
Do you want to fight the Monks now?