The bards possessed the history and identity of the Barbarian people, but after generations of oppression only four still lived. Knowing the importance of these wise men, the Wizard, Kurl, imprisoned them in his Tower and held them for ransom - Tarnum's life in exchange for the bards.
The evil Wizard, Kurl, has captured the last four bards and threatens to execute them in three months unless King Tarnum disbands all his forces and surrenders. Tarnum and all other Heroes are limited to level 15, and Tarnum's two strongest Heroes will carry over to the next map.
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 1 - Navigating the Land|
|Kurl has chosen his fortress well. This rugged land is difficult to navigate and several important passes are blocked by impervious Border Guards. Find the Keymaster Tents of the same color in order to pass, and do it quickly.|
Kurl's announcement that he is going to kill the bards in three months unless you disband your troops and surrender has nearly broken the confidence of your troops. For months you have been saying how the bards and the history they hold in their tales is the secret to the freedom of the Barbarian people. So, what would happen if the bards died?
If you don't free them in three months, you'll soon find out.
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 2 - Find the Tents|
|"You shouldn't worry yourself over collecting resources and things, my King," says one of your captains.|
"Time we don't have, so let another do that. You should concentrate on finding the Keymaster Tents to gain passage to Kurl's Tower."
|(4, 5, 0) Tower: Day 3 - Supplies 1|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 3 - Pathfinding|
|Time, of course, is in short supply, and there is a lot of ground to cover. Hardac advises you to find someone who can teach you and your Captains Pathfinding so everyone can pass quickly over this wasteland.|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 4 - Stables|
|"King Tarnum," says your advisor, Hardac, "I met a man on the road with a fresh and fast horse. He says he got it from a Stable to the south. We must visit this Stable weekly if we are going to be able to rescue the bards before Kurl's deadline runs out."|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 6 - Build your captains|
|Once again, good advice comes from Hardac. He suggests you train your Captains well even if all they're doing is picking up resources. It's always good to keep skilled leaders at your side, especially in the battles ahead.|
|(4, 5, 0) Tower: Day 8 - Supplies 2|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 10 - Roc nest|
|"How fortunate, my King!" says Hardac.|
He goes on to tell you that there is news from town of the discovery of a nest of Rocs. A small boy got lost in the mountains, so the entire clan organized a search party. When they found the child, however, he was hiding safely in a Roc's nest. It took some convincing to get the boy away from the motherly birds, but all is well.
And with a small expense, the Rocs could be tamed for your army. The Ancestors are looking after you.
|(4, 5, 0) Tower: Day 14 - supplies 3|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 15 - A bard's death|
|A spy comes to you with horrible news.|
Impatient, or perhaps as a warning to you, Kurl has gone back on his word and executed the eldest of the four bards. This is grave news, for the Elder Bard was the wisest of the storytellers, and now his knowledge is lost forever. This act only reconfirms the urgency of your quest and the evil nature of your enemy.
That night, you find it difficult to sleep as you wonder what tales of Barbarian history are lost now that the Elder Bard is dead. In a way, you've already failed your people. A piece of them is gone forever.
Getting off your bedroll, you come to your knees and grip your hands in the dry dirt. Between clenched teeth, you swear, "I will not fail again!"
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 16 - Kurl's Accusation|
|A scout brings you a notice that has appeared overnight on the door of every home in the region. It's from Kurl.|
"The arrogance of the so-called Barbarian King, Tarnum, has caused the death of an innocent. Like a coward, he refused to turn himself in and now a poor old man has died. Let this be a lesson about the true nature of this criminal who claims he is king. Now, I must ask - no, beg - Tarnum to surrender and stop others from suffering as well."
You crumple the paper up in your fist, but say nothing. You can't shake the feeling that in a small way, Kurl is right.
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 18 - A downside to the Bard's Death|
|Kurl's letter about the Elder Bard's death has struck to the core of your people's confidence in you. Many have stopped working, and others have fled into the wilderness with valuable resources. There is nothing you can do about it except continue the fight.|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 20 - New recruits|
|Today, some troops entered your town willing to side with your army against Kurl. They have a particular hatred of this wizard and recount a tale of his atrocities in those Barbarian lands Kurl governs.|
"Kurl despises Barbarians more than any Wizard, although we don't know why. Whenever a crime is committed, he doesn't bother to investigate. He just throws the nearest Barbarian in his dungeon. And no one stays in Kurl's dungeons for long. At least, they don't survive for long."
You listen as they describe some of the tortures Kurl uses, shivers running down your spine, and realize you're dealing with the worst of the worst of the Wizards.
|(4, 5, 0) Tower: Day 21 - Supplies 4|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 25 - Learning Stones|
|You're sitting around with your troops having your evening meal when an elderly - somewhat senile - Goblin says, "In case you haven't already realized, my King, it helps to visit the Learning Stone at least once. Everyone should. There is always much to be learned from them."|
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 27 - Mercenary Camp|
|Once again, the senile Goblin who has named himself one of your advisors (he's worth a laugh at least) gives you a great piece of advice.|
"Whenever you wander upon a Mercenary Camp, have all your Heroes visit it," says the Goblin. "The training you receive there will benefit any future battles."
|(26, 19, 0) Stronghold: Day 35 - Progress Rewarded|
|Those who abandoned your campaign after the execution of the Elder Bard now realize that a single loss does not mean the loss of the war. They rejoin your cause and work even harder now, producing more than ever.|
|0, 20, 0||A scout returns having barely escaped the enemy with his life.|
"My King," he says when he catches his breath, "I found the Purple Keymaster's Tent, but it's protected by Giants - a formidable opponent for any army. You best make sure you can take them before you attack!"
|11, 12, 0||Kurl's land lies beyond this Border Guard. You'll certainly find him prepared for your arrival, but what choice do you have?|
|20, 14, 0||Hardac, your advisor, says it would be wise to visit the Rally Flag before any major battle. It always cheers the men and boils their blood for combat.|
|22, 30, 0||As you approach a magical Idol of Fortune, the ground surrounding it shimmers like a desert horizon. The bushes, trees, and rocks become the troops of your enemy. An ambush!|
|29, 15, 0||For entertainment, you pause here for a meal and wrestling. Everyone competes, including you. It's a difficult competition, but in the end you come out victorious, bringing the cheers of your men. It gives them the feeling that they're following the right man.|
|4, 5, 0||Tower|
|26, 19, 0||Stronghold|
|16, 6, 0||Ancient Behemoth||The murderous gleam in the eyes of these Ancient Behemoths tells you they are under some sort of spell. Obviously, Kurl didn't want you to claim the Gold from the Mine they protect.|
|19, 2, 0||Halberdier||The soldiers ahead fly Kurl's banner, no doubt a unit left behind to protect something important. As you approach, they raise their halberds and prepare for battle - they will obviously fight to the last man fearing the Wizard more than your army.|
|21, 26, 0||Cyclops King||"Stand back, little man! This is Cyclops Gold - not for your petty little war!" shouts the Cyclops King who guards this Mine.|
|4, 5, 0||Kurl the Wizard|
|26, 20, 0||Tarnum the Barbarian|
|27, 13, 0||Your most powerful hero from the The Criminal King scenario.|