DescentintoDarkness

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Campaign-level notes

Descent into Darkness will undergo a significant revision in the upcoming 1.14.7 release of The Battle for Wesnoth. When 1.14.7 is released, this page will be out of date, and much of the information regarding strategy and in-scenario events may no longer apply.

Recruitment Strategy

Ghosts will be a useful part of your force - mostly when leveled up. Prefer them for recruitment even if initially they require some help from other units, and allocate enough experience to make them into Wraiths or Shadows. Both these units are useful in general when playing undead, but in this particularly campaign it is extremely beneficial to have at least 4 Shadows available for recall as soon as you can manage it.

You'll be introduced to Walking Corpses very early on, and some tend to forget about them in favor of snazzy and more capable units - but never discount how their numbers can add up later on, especially when you want to protect those high-level specialist units of yours.

Dark Adepts will only become available to you relatively late in your campaign, so don't expect to be able to rely on Liches and Necromancers.

Bats are less useful in this campaign as in some other cases, as your Ghost-based units are just as mobile and not much slower; and sometimes invisible to boot.

Saving Parthyn

  • Objective: Defend the ford for two nights
  • (Alternative Objective: Kill the enemy leader)
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Drogan die
  • Turns: 15
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar, two Spearmen and a Bowman
  • New Recruitment options: Walking Corpse (8 Gold).


Your starting level is a small section of the Abez, with a ford between the South and Northern side. Your starting fort is just to its south, the L2 Orc Warrior enemy leader's - slightly farther away to its north. To your west, Drogan occupies another fort.

While the Orc leader has more money than you, you have a triple advantage on him:

  1. You start with a small initial force while your adversary begins with an empty fort.
  2. The scenario starts at Dawn, so the daily cycle gives you protection in turns 2 and 3, and is not too bad on turn 4.
  3. You have the ability to recruit walking corpses. Now, true, a Walking Corpse is a rather pathetic unit, but:
    • They're super-cheap
    • You get another one for every kill - and since they're typically numerous, you can probably get one of them to make the kills
    • They make the awesome Orcish Grunts ineffective, in that they can only kill one Walking Corpse per turn, so their 22 damage (at night) is not sunk into units you need to keep alive. And if your Corpse did make it somehow, a kill will heal it as it levels up
    • They level into Soulless. These are still weaklings at 28 HP, but at least they can be punishing at 27 maximum melee damage; Orcs have no impact resistance.

So you'll want to send your Parthyners North to block the ford - while recruiting as many Walking Corpses as you can to back them up later. You can take the opposite riverbank by rushing with your Human units, but may get pushed back. That's okay, just try not to fight in the water while the enemy stands on the bank, or you will be at a disadvantage. If you're on Difficult - don't panic: once Drogan's troops arrive, they should make short work of the Orcs; if you're on Easy or Medium, you should be able to take them on yourself and your small horde of Corpses.

The scenario will end early if the Orc leader is killed - which you should definitely try and make happen. Those corpses don't spawn for free after all...

Spoiler: Your Spearmen and Bowman are Loyal, but don't bother trying to level them, because you lose them forever (sob) at the end of this scenario. Also, all your recruits are Walking Corpses, and they are almost never worth recalling (except after having been somehow both leveled and AMLA'ed several times, and close to AMLA'ing again so they will heal on impact - and this won't happen here). So if you're thinking about collecting experience for anyone - it should be yourself (Malin). Still, you do want to have the Walking Corpses do most of your kills, since that will give you an extra Corpse.

A Peaceful Valley

  • Objectives: Occupy all of the Goblin villages
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die or time runs out
  • Turns: 29/26/23 (easy/medium/hard)
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and Darken Volk
  • New Recruitment options: Vampire Bat (13 Gold)

In this small map you are tasked with occupying a Goblin settlement: The Western half of the level is full of village hexes. The settlement is guarded by an L2 Goblin Knight in the mid-North of the level, who recruits (Goblin) Wolf Riders, Goblin Spearmen and Goblin Rousers. He's not too rich, but don't underestimate him.

The villages hold rather nasty surprises: 0 to 2 Goblins will spring out of each village you capture, including those that you recapture. Thus the key is not to capture villages quickly, but rather to clear all defenders and kill the leader, allowing you to gang up on villages gradually. Ironically, this will allow you to capture all the villages more quickly than with a greedy approach.

In this level you will be able recruit Bats in addition to Walking Corpses. Bats are generally very useful creatures to have:

  • They're effective scouts: Flying allows them to ignore otherwise-unfriendly terrain, and they have 8 (later 9) movement points.
  • They're good at remote village capture
  • While they aren't skirmishers, their mobility often makes it possible for them to fly around part of an enemy line and attack vulnerable units. They're similarly often able to flee to safety after having engaged.
  • They're one of the few Undead-associated units which are not vulnerable to Arcane attacks.

... but in this scenario, they won't be useful to you: It's a small map, the villages are close rather than remote, and your L1 Vampire Bat will have a hard time with the spawning Goblin guards. You could theoretically recruit a Bat intending to just level it up for later recall, but there's XP to distribute elsewhere.

If not Bats, then - it's the Walking Corpse horde again. They'll be up against units with low HP and damage, so a few of them could even take out a Goblin, especially with some terrain advantage (but caution is advised, especially on Hard difficulty). Also, the replenishment of your ranks by the dead Goblins is important here - snowball your forces. Finally, place Walking Corpses as cheap captured-village guards to prevent retaking by a convergence of the Goblin forces. You'll appreciate the irony of the dead Goblins continuing the same guard duty they were assigned to before, only this time on your behalf.

As you begin the level, Volken suggests you visit the swamp. That's a good idea, but don't do this before maxing out your Gold with WC recruitment, as the swamp is more than a turn's walk away, and you need those troops early. You see, the enemy leader will send out an attack wave, starting to hit you by turn 3 or so. In fact, the Goblin Knight leader himself is likely to join this raid, despite it being out of sight of its fort - something you may not be used to from other campaigns. He'll likely retreat soon enough (even if he's not badly hurt), so don't focus on him. You should have many Walking Corpses to set up a defensive line along the edge of the forested region to the North-West of your fort - this will give you a terrain advantage. Alternatively, you could let the enemy units come further South, into the forest, buying an extra turn before they hit you for a better defensive bonus for them. Anyway, if you support your WCs with Malin and Volken you should be fine.

As the first attack subsides, have Malin visit the swamp (no need for Volken to do so as well). You'll be introduced to Ghouls - and get 3 of these for free. The only caveat is that it takes them a few turns to move out of the swamp. These can soak up some damage when you counter-attack, or if a Wolf Riders comes down South again. When the tide turns, remember: Easy on the villages; eyes on the enemy leader (which Malin and Volken should take care of).

Notes:

  • Not all Goblin village hexes are on the grassy plain: There are 2 in the hills/Montains to the NW of the enemy leader's fort, one near your own fort (that one's revealed to you when you start out), and one that's very easy to miss to the North-East of the level, North of the Swamp. Make sure you plan your village sweep to include those.
  • It's difficult to get through this level without the Ghouls, so don't wait too long before visiting the swamp
  • As in the previous scenario - don't bother trying to level-up the Walking Corpses. Almost-leveling up a Ghoul could be useful, and/or giving Malin more experience.

A Haunting in Winter

  • Objectives: Clear the cave of enemies
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die, or time runs out
  • Turns: 36/34/32 (easy/medium/hard)
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and Darken Volk
  • New Recruitment options: Ghoul (16 Gold) Ghost (20 Gold).

It's important to not get bottled up in the passageway prior to the central chamber, or you will burn up a lot of turns. Use Ghosts to speedily enter the chamber. After a certain point, you are going to split your forces, with Ghosts heading to the Dwarves in the northeast and your two leaders and ground forces headed to the outlaws in the southwest. So, you should recruit a lot of Ghosts, at least five. Bats are useful to snatch up villages.

This scenario is a good opportunity to gain experience for your Ghosts. With foresight, make it a priority to level a Ghost or two into Shadows. Your Ghosts can get easy experience from killing the Dwarves as they wade through the swamp in the northeast, and you should be able to level one or more to Shadows. Then you can use a Shadow or two, accompanied by a Ghost or two, to kill the Dwarven leader. Also note that there are two routes to the Dwarven leader. One is through the swamp, but you can also send flying units over the chasm to the south of the swamp and attack the Dwarves on two fronts.

Spoiler: At one point in this scenario, a special event occurs: one of your Ghosts will rebel and run off to the outlaw's keep. For each turn until you kill him, another of your units will rebel. You'll want to keep all of your Ghosts close by until one rebels, and then kill the rebel quickly. So, delay your Dwarf hunting expedition until the rebellion occurs, or recruit several Ghosts and keep them together so that the rest can subdue the one that goes rogue. Once you kill the rogue Ghost, the other rebelling units will return to your side.

Beginning of the Revenge

  • Objectives: Either Defeat the Orc leaders, or move Malin Keshar to the mountain pass
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die, or time runs out
  • Turns: 36
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and Darken Volk
  • New Recruitment options: Skeleton, Skeleton Archer.

Note that the scenario ends when both orc leaders are dead; you do not need to move Malin Keshar to the signpost.

The mountainous geography begs you to use ghosts and their kin for mobility. Ghosts can cross the mountains and river left of your starting fortress. (So can Corpses, by the way, but slowly.) Unfortunately, the fire arrows are quite effective against ghosts, so tread carefully.

Players have used different strategies with success...

Option 1, defeat in detail: This is probably the easiest plan, with the highest chance of success. Attack the southern orc first, then the northern orc. You can recruit/recall mostly Ghosts, Shadows, and Wraiths, supplemented by Vampire Bats. Ghosts and Bats can capture difficult to reach villages and move on, thus weakening your foes. Keep Malin Keshar and Darken Volk alive by hiding them in the mountains, which have two chokepoints. Either give them a small guard force or be prepared to redirect some of your leveled Ghosts to assist as needed.

Option 2, assassination: Kill both leaders at once. Recruit/recall almost exclusively Ghosts, Shadows, and Wraiths, and split them into two, one taskforce for each leader. A minimal strike force for one leader would be four Ghosts and two Shadows. Wait patiently across the river from the strongholds until darkness descends on turn 8. Then assassinate both leaders. If all goes well, the leaders will be dead by turn 9, for a nice gold bonus. Just in case it doesn't end so quickly, Malin Keshar and Darken Volk should have already been running into the deepest part of the southern mountains for safety. Exercise restraint with respect to capturing villages with bats or ghosts near the strongholds before the strike, as the enemy may divert units to intercept, which may interfere with your assassination plot.

Option 3, feint: Use ghosts to discourage the enemy from concentrating his forces at the lake. Sending a few ghosts over the mountains and river allows you to distract the computer into sending troops back to its base, because it interprets the closer enemies as a larger threat. By doing this, you can delay the southern orcs and meet the northern orcs at the lake. Just be careful, because if you distract them too long, they build up a substantial force (rather then sending troops in piecemeal like the computer usually does) which takes a while to cut through.

Spoiler: Be careful when moving non-flying units onto the ice next to the bridge which separates you from the orcs' valley, as the ice weakens when a non-flying unit starts a turn on it and weakened ice then breaks and drowns any unit which starts a turn on in. This even applies to Skeletons and Skeleton Archers! Use breaking ice to your advantage; try to lure high level orcs to their demise by placing ghosts in the middle of weakened ice.

Orc War

  • Objectives: Defeat the Orc leaders
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die or time runs out
  • Turns: 30
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and Darken Volk

Starting with this mission you can recruit Dark Adepts.

While there are 3 Orc warlords you combat here, it is actually enough to defeat any two of them, as the third will retreat.

There are several strategies you can employ in this scenario:

  • Split holding action and attack: Recruit a first force and send South to the bridge to hold off the attack by the South-Eastern and later also South-Western Orcs - at the bridge. Then recruit and send another one West-by-NorthWest, to meet the North-Western Orc leader's (limited) forces, then take him out. At that point, if you've had particularly good luck on the the Southern front, you might want to go after that leader next. It's more likely, though, that you'll want march your forces in the NW South to attack the SW leader, or possibly have Malin recruit a few more units before a Southern attack.
  • Onslaught: Recruit one large force and use it to take out either the NW or SE Orc leader - before the other Orcish troops can catch up with you (NW is probably safer for this purpose). Then you'll probably want to take out the SW Orc leader.
  • Diversion & ambush: If you've managed to acquire several Shadows, you can try slipping them behind enemy lines and assassinating one of the Orc leaders. 2 Shadows may well fail, while 4 Shadows will likely succeed and possibly be able to defend themselves for other units before retreating. This tactic is not recommended, seeing how you will still need to defend Malin and Darken Volk from the Orcish forces - and if you can do that, the assassination becomes somewhat gratuitous.

If the balance has shifted in your favor, you may want to delay killing the second Orc leader to maximize the experience gain for your forces.

Return to Parthyn

  • Objectives: Kill Drogan, then escape to the Northwest / Kill Orc Leader
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar dies or any people from Parthyn die before Drogan
  • Turns: Unlimited
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and a Wraith, Shadow, or Spectre (if available)

Your first objective is to kill Drogan; if any other human unit dies before Drogan, you lose. You'll need to be careful here, because Drogan is surrounded by troops from the Parthyn garrison in his fort next to the ford - and they will attack. The trick is to get Drogan himself to come out from behind them, which should happen if he sees an "appleaing" target. Indeed, if you expose a unit with no ranged attack (preferably some L2/L3 with good resistance and HP, like a Revenant or a Spectre), say, in the NW hex of your keep - he will come shoot at it with his crossbow. With the help of a skirmisher and the troops in your castle you should not have much trouble doing him in on Turn 2. Don't skimp on recruitment during your first two turns, though - you'll be needing those troops, and not just for the Orcs.

When you've taken out Drogan you discover that, oops, your sister and the people of Parthyn hate you anyway. The Orcs have not yet gotten South over the ford (the first Goblin riders will probably arrive next turn). Also, your goal has changed: You're supposed to escape to a signpost on the North-western edge of the map (so, West of the Orc leader's keep). No problem - except for the two separate forces making their way in your direction...

So here are your options:

  1. Face the Orcs head-on, so your entire advancing force manages to cross the ford as the Parthyn troops arrive at its Southern side. This makes sense if you've managed to dispatch most of Drogan's troops already in Turn 2, and all of them by Turn 3 - and if you've had gold for a good two turns of recruitment and some recruitment on Turn 3 even.
  2. Leave the ford open for the Orcs to cross, and cross it yourself on its right edge (probably in the 1-hex-wide stretch of shallow water). Hopefully, the Orcs and Drogan's troops will notice each other, clash, and take some of the heat off of you. It might be helpful to have a few walking corpses as a distraction to direct your enemies to where you'd rather they go.
  3. Stand your ground and fight. You don't have to flee immediately, after all. You will face stiff opposition though, especially when the city's recruits start arriving around Turn 5. You'll probably probably take significant casualties, which means you'll have to recruit more troops initially to account for that. Note that if you can't manage Option 1 it's rather unlikely you'll manage to survive this alternative.

So what should you choose? Well, let's consider Option 3 first. Your extensive recruitment means that you'll be losing quite a bit of gold per turn. However, this level has no turn limits, so if you manage to best your enemies (and not kill them) - you can capture all the villages, dismiss the lower-level troops, and recoup all the gold you want.

But here's the thing: If, instead of running away chased by Orcs and Humans, you simply kill the Orc leader - that will give your sister, and her forces, pause. And having reconsidered their assumption that you and the Orcs are in league, they will actually let you go and the level will end immediately. So - much less gold-bleeding due to your recruitment. That's why option 1 is probably the most appealing. Remember, though, that the Orc leader is an L3, and you want to keep your higher-level troops for the next scenario, so try not to get them killed. As always, a large contingent of Shadows should get the job done with some support from a unit which can dish out some initial punishment without dying.

A Small Favor - Part One

  • Objectives: Malin Keshar and Darken Volk enter Karres' manor
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die or time runs out
  • Turns: 28/26/22 (easy/medium/hard)
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and Darken Volk

You start the level in the woods, near the outskirts of Tath. You're not actually going into the heart of the city - but the manor you want to infiltrate is on the inside of the guarded perimeter. It's night, and it's a safe area of Wesnoth, so there are few guards on duty and only a single officer in charge on call in a castle; that's General Taylor. The head trainer of the Tath city guard is having trouble sleeping apparently (maybe he has a nose for the undead?), and a couple of men who aren't manning the guard posts. Finally, the manor entrance proper is guarded by a couple of Mages.

It's not possible for Malin and Keshar to get past the guards and reach the manor undetected - only an invisible unit get in between consecutive posts. Also, if even a single guard is alerted, he'll immediately sound the alarm - which will make General Taylor wake up a hefty contingent of guardsmen.

The level has many villages - most within the Tarth city borders, owned by the enemy, but some are owner-less, in the woods. Those you can just go ahead and capture. The enemy villages may be captured without alerting the guards only by invisible units.

As for the guards themselves - on Medium difficulty, you'll be facing Spearmen (L1) mostly, with some Pikemen (L2) and Heavy Infantrymen (L1), and the mages are an L1 and an L2, so light fare; on Hard it should still be, well, not that hard. The head trainer is a Lieutenant, and then there's the General and possibly his troops. Note that your initial castle has only 3 hexes for recruitment - that's a hint.

There are a few options that players have tried with success:

  1. Leader Assassination. Use several Shadows (or Nightgaunts) to assassinate the guard General; their Nightstalk ability gets them past the perimeter guards and directly to his castle. Take him out in one turn or two, or he will recruit heavily. Moreover, either the manor entrance watchmen, or some guards to the south of the castle, will be alerted. Thus it is somewhat risky to try this even with 3 Shadows.
    Keep Malin and Volk out of sight. After you've taken out the enemy leader, finish off the alerted guards, out of site of other ones; then pick off the remaining guardsmen one by one, while capturing villages at your leisure. Once that is accomplished, send Volk directly to the manor, but send Malin to the enemy commander's keep. Wait here accumulating cash each turn until the penultimate turn. On that turn or nearly before it, when you have many villages to support your troops, recruit all units you would like to take with you into the manor ("Part 2", the next scenario) - as you will not be able to recruit inside. Finally, move Malin towards the manor (note it takes 2 turns to get there from the keep). As you join Volk, the scenario ends; the gold won't carry over into the manor, but it will carry over to the first scenario after all the parts of "A Small Favor" are over.
  1. Spectre-acular Cover Action. For this course of actions, no Shadows are necessary. You can use about 6 Wraiths/Spectres and slip them around the north of the map, as near to the manor entrance as possible, while staying out of sight. Malin and Darken Volk should take the same route, but can't get as far as the Ghosts. Then take out as many enemies as you can with your Wraiths, targeting the Mages first, and rush towards the manor with your heroes. You should be inside before the battle gets ugly. But - remember to recruit what you'll need later on before leaving the woods.
  1. Bait and Ambush. Each guard will only leave its post to attack you if it can personally see you, and General Taylor doesn't actually recruit all that much. So, pick a lone guard to be the first you alert - and make sure you kill it on the first round of your attack. If you can do so with a couple of Shadows - all the better, since, you'll disappear on the next turn. Then let the enemy force come to you - yes, it seems Taylor will also not continue to recruit. After his force is gone, continue picking off one guard at a time, luring each of them away to where you have sufficient units to gang up on the poor soul. In some cases you could risk it and do 2 at a time. This strategy is more likely to work if you have a few higher-level units to recall.


Remember to stay safely out of sight as much as possible (Ctrl+V will show you the enemies' moves, and their sight range is +1 of that, just like their attack range).

Which units to bring into the manor?

Troubled Adept asks: "Dear Walkthrough authors: I have raised many units from the dead, and now as I'm about to embark on a field trip to this lovely cave, they're all pestering me to take them with me! Whatever should I do?"

Well, dear Troubled, remember that there are no villages in caves, which means no healing for your troops, except by leveling-up or if they have draining attacks. So Wraiths and Spectres are probably the most useful. Nightgaunts, and perhaps Shadows, are also useful in that their skirmishing ability allows them to move into the back of a narrow space and kill on the same turn as first being noticed; but - they're not as useful as outside, since the manor is lit so they'll be visible. You should have some units which can take a beating - either sacrificial L1s (e.g. Ghouls or Skeletons), or higher-HP ones (Necrophage, Revenant). It's particularly useful to have units which are close to leveling-up - even if they're otherwise not so useful - since you can have them up front at the end of a turn, take some damage, and then either heal immediately or with another kill. Skeletons are pretty good for this. Dark Sorcerers have reasonable HP will take no-or-little damage when attacking non-Mage Loyalist units (e.g. Spearmen, Swordsmen, Pikemen, Fencers etc.) and will hold their hown against Mages too.

As for how many units to bring in - don't overdo it. On Medium difficulty, 7 or 8 reasonable units in addition to Malin and Darken should be enough. You will need that carry-over gold later, you see.

An interesting option for Parts 2 and 3 is to bring in a Walking Corpse or Soulless (if you don't have a Necromancer) - which allows you to make additional sacrificial units inside. If you're short on better units, this might not be such a bad idea. Remember than for the price of 2 recalls you get 5 corpses to start with...

A Small Favor - Part Two

  • Objectives: Defeat Mage Lord Karres then move through the northwest passage
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die or time runs out
  • Turns: 30/27/25 (easy/medium/hard)
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar, Darken Volk and any units that survived the previous scenario
  • Other: You can't recruit or recall; only the units from last scenario will be present

You start with the units you recalled at the end of the last mission, but you don't have to pay their upkeep for this scenario (nor are there any villages, anyway). Since there are no villages, you won't be able to heal your units unless they have a drain attack.

Anyway, your first task is to kill Karres, who is a Great Mage and is put into one of the rooms at random. Each room is filled with mages of one variety or another. They won't leave the rooms of their own accord, although a couple of Swordsmen and other human units wander the halls, but these shouldn't be a big deal. The mages, however, can be quite deadly. Always make sure you have sufficient forces to wipe out at least three Red or White Mages before opening a door. (You open doors by placing a unit in front of the door). However, most rooms only have one or two Mages in it, and they may be level one Mages. The skirmishing of Shadows and Nightgaunts is useful in wiping out mages. If you let the mages counter-attack, you will risk losing one or more units. Head northwest with Malin and move on.

There doesn't seem to be any bonus for an early finish, so if you get the objective early, you can hold off and harvest some XP.

A Small Favor - Part Three

  • Objectives: Find the book and then escape
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar or Darken Volk die or time runs out
  • Turns: 30/27/25 (easy/medium/hard)
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and any units that survived the previous scenario
  • Other
    • You can't recruit or recall; only the units from last scenario will be present
    • You no longer control Darken Volk

Darken Volk will operate separately with an army of allied undead. Hmmm, in all previous missions you commanded him directly... could this be foreshadowing? Head to the northwest to grab the book. Then head to the northeast to exit.

[Mal Shubertal: The enemy here is all mages, which can kill even one of your level 3's if you get unlucky. But on hard in 1.12.2, Darken Volk's army is strong enough to take them by itself. So I just let them do the dirty work and headed straight to the exit once Volk picked up the book. ]

Alone at Last

  • Objectives: Take the book from Darken Volk and bring it back to Malin's castle
  • Lose if: Malin Keshar dies
  • Turns: 24
  • Starting units: Malin Keshar and one unit
  • Other: Ghosts and Bats (and the rest of their unit trees) cannot pick up the book

The situation is that you must take the book from Darken Volk, but two additional forces will appear in the middle of the battle, bent on killing both your army and Volk's, making the task more than a little difficult. When the battle reaches its peek, you probably won't have much money (and may have Malin away from a castle), and your forces will be outnumbered and at great disadvantage.

The two extra forces are:

  1. Sir Cadaeus the Paladin is bent on making both you and Darken Volk pay for your attack on the city of Tath:
    • Arrives on turn: 8.
    • Inital force: 2 Paladins, one Mage of Light (+ Cadaeus who will stay put to recruit)
    • Finances: (on Medium) 150 gold on arrival + 20 base income.
    • Recruits: (on Medium) a Mage of Light, 4 mostly Heavy Infantry, 1 L1 Mage.
  2. Dela Keshar is making good on her word to climb up the ladder for inheritance.
    • Arrives on turn: 12.
    • Initial force: None.
    • Finances: (on Medium) 220 gold on arrival + 20 base income.
    • Recruits: (on Medium) 1 Swordsman, 1 Longbowman, and a mix of L1 Loyalist and Outlaw units (Spearman, Bowmen, Thugs) - like in Parthyn basically.

Now, this is a small level, and there really isn't room for 4 forces on it... your castle is on the West of the level, slightly to the South; Darken Volk is on the East and slightly to the North. Cadaeus sets up camp in the South-Eastern edge, and Dela in the middle of the Northern edge. Your and Dela's side is separated by a narrow river, which at some point widens to surround a small island; and there are two connecting bridges, although the crossing is not a big deal at most points.

Now, Cadaeus' forces are extremely dangerous. While there's not too many of his units, the Paladins and the Mage of Light are the Humans' Undead-killer units, and, indeed, will kill most of your units in a single turn at daytime. And - guess what? He arrives on the second night, so his forces will start hitting you and Volk during the third day. ... but here's your silver lining: Cadaeus will advance on Darken Volk first, unless you're very much in his way, and no less importantly, Volk's forces will attack Sir Cadaeus' - if you've not already engaged most of them by that time. Effectively, Volk could be a bit of an ally, albeit one which is trying to kill you.

When Dela shows up, you will have lost any land to which you can run and hide. On the other hand, at least you're better equipped to deal with her units, and she arrives at Dusk. The Parthynians (sigh)... poor judgement through and through.

Remember, though, that this level is not about defeating all enemy forces, nor even all enemy leaders. There are just two things you need to do, which are kill Darken Volk and bring the McGuffin, uh, I mean the book, back to your castle. Note that not all units can carry the book. Indeed, it so happens that all the fast units can't be used: No Bats and no Ghosts (nor Shadow, Wraiths, Spectres and Nightgaunts). The best choice is probably a Dark Sorcerer with the Quick trait, or Malin himself; and even with one of these units it takes 4 long turns to make it back to your castle... while probably engaged in painful rear-guard combat.

A silver lining is that for the next level you don't really need extra money above the minimum starting gold, so you can at least splurge with recruitment.

At any rate, here are two proven strategies for clearing the level:

  1. Assasinate, Grab, Run. Recall several squads of units:
    Assasination squad: Nightgaunts and Shadows - less than 2+2 would probably not be enough)
    Book carrier squad: Dark Sorcerers, Wraiths (escort only), Spectres (escort only), and slower units if you must - but not that many overall.
    Diversion/cannon fodder: Go cheap here and mostly recruit.
    The assassins will circle Volk's forces from the North and assassinate him. The carriers and escort make a run for it; along the way, don't get too deep into confrontation with Volk's forces - you have a book to grap after all - but you don't have to completely avoid them either. Try to have the diversion get close enough to Volk's troops to make them want to attack. Run back with _all_ the carriers and the escort once you get the book. You will lose units in rear guard action during the retreat, but you can at least try to choose which ones. Some assassins might need to lay down their (un)lives for the (dubious) cause.
  2. The Northern End Around. Summon all your good troops and move everyone almost all the way North. Try to avoid full engagement with Volk for as long as you can - which will not be easy, since his units should be making contact by Turn 4.
    Once Sir Cadaeus arrives, Volk's forces will shift attention Southwards, and you can start moving East (still being North of the river). As you do so, Dela will arrive close to your forces, where she will build a stronghold and recruit. You now turn the tables on her and surround her stronghold - thus preventing her troops from moving and her from recruiting. YOu know kill her recruits, then her self (this was not possible with older versions of Wesnoth, now it is.) Make sure you dispatch her quickly, or else Sir Cadaeus' forces will crash into your own after killing Volk. Now face Sir Cadaeus' assault wave, while send a few units. off South into the river, out again and to Volk's castle to get the book and take it back to your stronghold.
    A variant of this strategy is to send, during the first few turns, some units due South-East as a diversion, trying to pull Volk's attention Southward. This feint can use some Ghost, Bats, and possibly even Malin himself, as the enemy really likes to focus on him for some reason...


Whatever initial course you take, the end game is the same: you will need to retrieve the book with a nonflying unit and head west, back to your stronghold.

Grabbing villages after a few at the start won't help you in this scenario. You will likely end negative on gold.

If you decide you need more gold to play this scenario, you have to go all the way back three scenarios to A Small Favor - Part One. There, one way to get gold is to use Shadows to steal the enemy's villages without him noticing. However, your first option above, the grab and run, should not require much gold.

Note: This scenario was rebalanced some time after v1.8.5, so if you are playing an old version, there will be many differences.

Descent into Darkness

  • Objectives: Defeat the Troll leader
  • Lose if: Mal Keshar is destroyed
  • Turns: n/a
  • Starting units: Mal Keshar

The first segment of the mission is pretty self-explanatory. After you reach the small keep you need to decide which way to send your troops to the large castle, there is a main passage and two side passages. I'm not sure it matters, but I successfully advanced through the main passage. You will face some high level trolls, including Troll Shamans capable of throwing deadly fireballs at your Undead minions. Wraiths and Spectres and quite good at killing Troll Shamans, since they deal arcane damage. You just have to make sure that you kill the Shamans before they get to attack you. Note that all the trolls deal impact damage, which your Skeletons are weak against, so you may want to avoid recalling your Skeletons.

Since this scenario is quite easy, it's a good chance to train your units and see strange monsters. On the other hand, the Campaign is almost over, so there's not much point to it...

In both side passages you can find a Troll Shaman, a few Trolls and lots of villages. But the left passage is more interesting: in the middle of some water there's a surprisingly lush tree - which, in fact, is an Ancient Wose, waiting to ambush you. Shadows and Wraiths will kill him easily, though. At the top left of this room there's a path that leads to the hardest step of the scenario: 3 Giant Spiders. Try to make them follow you outside through the corridor to surround them one by one.

However, it is possible to avoid all that if you wish. Once you find your castle, just recall at least two Nightgaunts, three to be safe, and send them up the main passageway. They can kill the troll leader before he knows what hit him, leading to an instant victory.

Endless Night

  • Objectives: Defeat the foolish hero
  • Lose if: Mal Keshar is destroyed
  • Turns: Unlimited
  • Starting units: Mal Keshar

And so we reach the conclusion of the campaign. We learn that Mal Keshar—formerly Malin—has become a somewhat powerful lich that has gained a reputation for himself for fighting the orc armies (and anyone who comes in his way) every summer.

For this reason, heroes of every race that has been victimized by Mal Keshar's troops follow him to his lair, wanting to finally put an end to his advances. In this scenario you will be fighting this foolish hero, which will be either an elf, a loyalist, an outlaw, a dwarf, or an orc, chosen at random. You will be fighting them in your cave, so you have some advantage, but every time you beat one of these heroes, the scenario will repeat itself and a new hero will come for you, with more gold on his side, so it will be increasingly difficult to fight their armies.

You can play this scenario as many times as you want to. You really have to beat only the very first hero—when Malin is defeated by any subsequent hero, the victor will give a short monologue and the campaign will end.

Addition by cMaster: If you care to play this scenario more than just a few times, it might be worth noting the small cavity to the right at the bottom of the map. You can easily place 11 units inside (you won't be able to recall more than 10 units + Mal Keshar) and it's got a choke point of only two hexes. Use this to chew away any enemy foolish enough to enter the choke point, and forget about the seven villages. Your enemy will not be able to pay the upkeep of his troops anyway. Correctly used you should not have to fear any number of enemies!

This page was last edited on 2 March 2019, at 17:40.