- 1 Strategy Guide for The Rise of Wesnoth Campaign
- 2 Scenarios
- 2.1 A Summer Of Storms
- 2.2 The Fall
- 2.3 A Harrowing Escape
- 2.4 Diverging Campaign Path
- 2.5 The Oldwood
- 2.6 Temple in the Deep
- 2.7 Return to Oldwood
- 2.8 Clearwater Port
- 2.9 Fallen Lich Point
- 2.10 Sewer of Southbay
- 2.11 Southbay in Winter
- 2.12 A Final Spring
- 2.13 Peoples in Decline
- 2.14 Rough Landing
- 2.15 A New Land
- 2.16 The Ka'lian
- 2.17 Diverging Campaign Path
- 2.18 A Spy In The Woods
- 2.19 The Vanguard
- 2.20 Return of the Fleet
- 2.21 Rise of Wesnoth
- 3 See Also
Strategy Guide for The Rise of Wesnoth Campaign
[Comments by Easuth] Over the course of this campaign, you will need to level up to some:
- Paladins (lots)
- Silver Mages (at least one, preferably more)
- White Mages/Mages of Light (at least four)
- Royal Guards (lots)
- Assorted other units, maybe some Bowmen and Grand Knights, Great Mages are nice
[Comments by Jonadab] Actually, I played through the campaign with just one Royal Guard (who was strong and quick, and I let him tough-up several times). On the whole, most of the enemies you encounter will have better melee than ranged attacks, so it is better tactics to attack them with bowmen (and mages, if you can avoid being hit back with too many units). When you do need to attack with a strong melee attack, you will generally have your advanced horsemen (Paladins, and whatever Lancers or Grand Knights you may level up). Also by the third scenario you will be able to recruit thugs, which being chaotic are a rather better complement for your mages and horsemen than swordsmen would be. In my estimation it is not necessary to have very many Royal Guards. The other level-up paths for spearmen are, IMO, even less useful in this campaign.
However, you do need a limited number of "damage sink" units (units that can absorb damage without getting killed), and the Royal Guard is excellent in that regard. Burin also serves that purpose very well, and Haldric at level 3 can also take a hit or two. You can pick up one of the white mages you need by choosing the swamp (see below), and he'll be loyal, which is nice, but yes, you will still want to level up 2-3 additional white mages, as they will be your only poison-curing healers, and you will encounter orcish assassins on numerous occasions. And, several Great Mages will be very nice to have. This makes levelling up mages an important strategic goal of the campaign overall. I like to go every-other with the mage levelups: white, then red, then white, then red, and so forth, although after four or so white you may want to make the rest red.
[Comments by Owke] Just finished on medium difficulty. I largely second all of the above, but instead of lots of Paladins I would just level up two, for undead disposal purposes. Make the rest of them Grand Knights, since they easily kill most low level orc or saurian units in a one blow. A mage of light, one paladin, and five Grand Knights make a perfect assault team !
[Comments by cph] Yes just 2 paladins, and you don't need the second of those until The Return of the Fleet. Important not to be too reliant on horsemen through the middle part of the campaign, as there are many hard levels underground, in swamps, in water, or against saurians; use The Vanguard to get to 2 paladins and 2+ grand knights.
Pikemen/halberdiers are useful in many levels; pierce attacks work well against drakes and against the dragon, and they are handy for defensive roles esp. repelling wolf riders. They are less good against undead, though, and don't get that +1 royal guard speed bonus. So I leveled up any non-quick spearmen to swordsmen, and the first 4-5 quick ones as pikemen (to give me some halberdiers for Peoples in Decline).
Due to many undead opponents, you will want to recruit many thugs at times, and get a few (the quick ones, since you need them underground) levelled up. These, plus Lady Thief, give tactical options at other levels too: some decent chaotic troops form an ideal reserve, since you can attack with your lawful troops at dawn, and by nightfall when you need to heal them, use some chaotic troops to either continue the attack or to shield your healing lawful units.
A Summer Of Storms
At first it's best to hire 2 horsemen and 3 other units, possibly spearmen. Note, however, that you will not have any healers until you level up at least one mage to White Mage status, and the sooner you can do that the better. Red mages will also prove very useful in subsequent scenarios, so consider recruiting at least two mages. In any case, send the horsemen with the king over the brige, and the others should follow or start going over the mountain, to avoid being attacked from behind. Then you should probably hire bowmen and more spearmen. Whatever bowmen you can get advanced will be useful later on for fighting the many trolls and grunts you will encounter. Send them on the "over-the-bridge" road and hire some more troops. Start going with the troops and prince Haldric on the "over-the-bridge" road and by this time the king and the horsemen should have arrived, use the king wisely, he has leadership. When the rest of your troops arrive, you should get to the enemy camp.
[Comments by Jonadab] So for recruiting in the first scenario, I would start with two horsemen, and one each mage, bowman, spearman. After that I would go for additional mages and bowmen mostly.
[Comments By Imperative] I would actually go with sending the King off with 3 Horsemen to capture the nearest houses, then retreat into the swamp area until you have your lawful bonus to kill off troops during the day. To hold them back I use spearman and a mage (to level him) whilest I send 1 mage and 2 spearmen up the mountains to flank the boss.
Saving the Shock Troopers pays off in later scenarios. To save all three, move them south towards the outlaws and recruit two spearmen to stand in their places. This will hold off the orcs for a time. There are two basic strategies to kill the outlaw leader. You can either march west with a large army and use part of it to hold nortwestern orc. Use the rest to fight outlaws and kill the leader. This strategy requires a lot of troops but it can bring you plenty of experience, and can bring a quick victory. Another way is to assassinate the outlaw leader. One way is to wait till orcs have killed all outlaws and assassinate outlaw leader with knights. This strategy is risky because orcs can kill the leader before you. Another way to assassinate the leader is to send mages protected by a spearmen through the mountains to the outlaw keep. Two mages and three spearmen are enough. If you use assassination strategy it is a good idea to fight against eastern orc nearby your keep. This way you can secure your back and earn experience.
A Harrowing Escape
There is Dwarf Steelclad in the village at 8,5. Its not far from your camp, so send Lady Outlaw there. Dwarf joins you because "It has been a long time since he felt the satisfying crunch of Orcs under his Axe."
You should recruit at least one, possibly two mages here, and use them for killing goblin spearmen and finishing off injured wolf riders in the hills & mountains bordering the valley. It is essential to have at least 1 (preferably 2) mages either levelled up or about to level up before going to the Swamp.
[this is just my comments after playing it once in medium - Allefant] In medium, simply recruit what you want, and go along the road. You get enough villages to pay upkeep for quite some army, and can give some of them a bit of experience. [Windscion: leave a few units in the rear, as the enemy can cross hills quickly.] [Samsara: Footpads and Outlaws will also cross hills at reasonable speed. You will, however, only capture about four enemy units that way (in easy). Still, better than having the enemy catch villages behind you!]
(Drake Raider added this note:There are two castle tiles about halfway down, try to send Lady Outlaw and Brunin the Lost to them, they make good guards incase th enemy tries to come straight up. You can also send a couple groups of units down SE to the lake so you can prevent the Green team [SE] from comeing up the river. You can also kill the two Orcish Grunts on the southern castle tiles and then move L.O. and B.t.L. to them.)
Diverging Campaign Path
Orcs again. But you chose that way. You are given plenty of time, so use it wisely. The enemies send lots of orcs, mostly weak ones. So recruit and recall. I took 1 castle of recruits and almost all my recalls, even HI. Then go south. If you go west, only your knights and horsemen will arrive and fight at daytime. My choice was to go south. Take the bridge and defend against the enemy closing in from the west. Take out Yellow with a fast assault team (they should take a healer along), but be careful about the leader. Your main force moves west, takes and holds the second bridge, and takes out Blue. Your assault team stays in the south and goes for the last enemy leader - they won't face any serious resistance. The enemy moves north to support Blue. The HI guarding the bridge might gain a level or die. Mine took the first option, but that depends on the experience it starts with. That way you can finish early (25 turns) and keep your losses low (3 horsemen at the leaders, because they were charging, and he hit 4 times wiht double damage).
The 'Dark' Option: Using Footpads. If you chose to work with the the outlaws in the last round, then this works good. Footpads are cheap. And they are fast. And they have good defensive abilities. Plus they fight well in the dark, and in the forest. So recruit lots of footpads-pawns and quickly dispatch to the upper west and south, followed by higher level units: mages, horseman etc. For the time being, we will be leaving the middle enemy alone. To the upper west, send several footpads into the forest and capture the village and set up a defensive line. This cuts down the enemys gold and increases yours. Don't attack at first, just defend, until more of your slow higher powered units arrive. I sent a level 2 horseman and a red mage along with level 2 lost dwarf. The strategy here is to pick off the orcs, and send the horseman to capture villages. While this is going, to the south you send your footpads to capture any villages you can and, more imporantly put a footpad on the hex that is adjacent to the bridge, there by stopping easy advancement of their greater numbered troops. Probably sending a thief or two would be good, as one enemy got into one of the villages on the north of river, and it took a lot to dislodge him. I sent the white mage along with this group and also had some level 2 trappers. The intention is to engage the enemy so that they are fighting from the river squares, at a huge disadvantage. I also sent some level one bowman for the orc-wolves.
The Swamp Of Esten
You should kill the eastern enemy quickly. Send Burin with knights, a white mage, and some other mages east at start. Mages are effective against scorpions. Try to attack dark adepts with Burin or horsemen before they have chance to attack you. You can send some horsemen from the second castle you recruit to strengthen the eastern front.
There is also a free loyal White Mage hiding in (a random) one of the temples - visit the temple close to the keep asap, and if not there, try rushing Lady Outlaw to the temple at 19,5.
After you have killed the eastern leader and eliminated troops there you can send the eastern army south against next leader. Send a second army south with Haldric. Bowmen and shocktroopers are useful on southern front. Bowmen can shoot outlaws and scorpions. They also retaliate against dark adepts so they are good for defence. Shocktroopers survive even if they are attacked with several outlaws. A couple of horsemen and mages are also useful. You can also add spearmen or swordsmen in southern army. If you have a rogue send him also south. An assassin will be very useful later. There are temples in the swamp. Searching them is good. However, some of them contain nasty surprises. So keep extra troops nearby when you enter one.
The main bulk of your force should head East to the orc in the Northeastern castle. Haldric, a white mage and a few good units (the heavy infantry from The Fall work very well, along with a few other units)should head South to the other orc leader. The castle in the middle is inhabited by the tree folk, so dont bother sending troops there. If you are working effectively, you shouldn't have a problem defending them. If you're having a hard time, however, you might want to divert a few units to watch their backs. The Northeastern leader recruits a lot of units, and most of them are level 2, so watch out. Once you defeat the main in the North, the orc's supplies will be low, and reinforcements few. In the South you'll have a little more of a cakewalk. A few effective melee units can easily counter the riders they send early on, and then with a little forethought and patience you can take out their archers and crossbowmen without giving them time to shoot.
[comments by Allefant] This is how I played in medium: I sent 3 knights, 3 mages, Haldric and some spearmen south, and all the rest east (4 knights, 4 mages, some other units). Every group had 2 white mages to heal wounded ones. Both were very slowly (avoid placing knights in the forest, don't attack at night-time) making for the two enemy leaders. It's important to keep an eye also on the middle, sending some units around in the forest, since the orcs will try to kill the tree.
[comments by Elilmaldur-Rithrandil] This is kind of risky, but here goes;I started the game by sending Sir Ladoc and another knight to the south. The green leader arrives at the first town on his side of the river on the third turn. Since Sir Ladoc was present at the beginning, his arrival to that vary town syncs with the green leader, I had him attack for 70 damage, then retreat, and had my other knight attack him in the 4th turn. This way, there are only four green enemies to fight!
Temple in the Deep
First recall your veterans who are either mages or have over 6 movement (don't bother with cavalry regardless of movement) and then recruit lots of thugs as undead fodder (1 or 2 turns worth should do it). Burin is very effective if you give him the holy water, being able to move quickly in the caves and also being able to drop almost every undead on a nonspectacular hit. There are two ways north, but they will meet up together before you meet any enemies besides the Tentacles. Ignore the tentacles for the most part and only kill them when it's convenient, as you will need to have a strong line set up by the time you engage the undead. Watch out for the enemy's boneshooters, revenants and deathblades, as they could easily mess up a level 3 unit. Your knight (the one who was a messenger earlier on) is completely useless, and should be left somewhere out of the way. Once you see the two chokepoints, hold them so one of their units is facing 2 of yours (prefferably with a white mage behind them). Try level up at least one white mage to a mage of light while fighting in the choke point. Gradually progress northwards once the flow and quality of baddies has tapered off, and once you get into the final chamber, the boss should be a piece of cake, although his ranged attack is devastating so try to attack him with melee units. The Ruby can only be picked up by Haldric.
[comments by Allefant] One advice here: Don't over-recruit. Knights are useless in caves. I dragged them all around at the back, doing nothing at all and eating up my complete gold reserves. In fact, I think you can win this with just mages. The dwarf also is very useful, he'll fully upgrade if he hasn't yet.
[comments by Gdou] (on easy mode at least) You can beat this level by recruiting only mages. Give Holy Water to Haldric. use the dwarf to weak at maximum strongest skeletons (lvl2 and 3), finish them with the mages. At the begining wait for the first wave of skelettons on your side of the lake. Skeletons are less resistants in water, so killing them is easier. Then, use the less experienced mages as cannon fodder, protecting your more important units. The lich can kill almost every unit in one turn with a 15*4 magical attack. I killed the lich in one turn by attacking it with the dwarf, the knight (Sir Ruddry), the Prince (Haldric) and finished him with one or two fireballs launched by a freshly upgraded red mage. Some white mages are useful as there are few places where wounded units can recover healing.
[comments by flynn] Use this level to get experience. The early-finish bonus is tiny. The tentacles are perfect for levelling up two thugs (use Haldric's leadership to assist). Sir Ruddry can help buffer. Keep Burin away from the water at this stage, or he'll kill all tentacles as they attack, depriving the thugs of XP. The Shock Troopers saved in The Fall are good buffers in this scenario - a level 2 should get to level 3, and they're loyal, so they don't bleed your cash while you're stretching the game out.
[comments by smenze] Playing on medium I noticed a few things about this level. First, you can actually not recruit very many units assuming you have some leveled up. I recalled 1 mage (about to level), 1 fire mage (lvl 2), white mages (lvl 2), and 4 lvl 2 outlaws (leveled up footpads). Then i ran up and grabbed the choke points basically splitting my force in half (sent Burin one direction and Haldric the other). You could probably do it with one of the leveled up foot pads to rotate in on each side, but I would have to replay it to try that strategy.
[comments by Pravda] Giving the holy water to Burin is useless, he already has an impact attack. By giving it to Haldric, you get another unit which can easily take down ennemies, and give Burin a break every now and then. He is much, much weaker than Burin, even at level 3, but he can take a few hits. 2 white mages are absolutely necessary. A level 2 quick thug and a couple of level 2 footpads (note that a quick footpad moves as fast as Burin in caves and has an impact ranged attack) would be good, otherwise try to level whatever you have with the tentacles. White mages are absolutely necessary, but don't bring any other mage unless it is quick (and even then, it is not absolutely necessary). Clearly, do not recruit mages. With the right units and some luck, this level can be won with one castle (at hard).
The difficult part is to survive the first wave. Try to move Burin to the choke point ASAP, and unshroud as much as possible. After a moment, you will notice the ennemy units will attack only one side. When you have a chance, send the units from the other side to surround what remains of the undead.
Return to Oldwood
Your allies are useless, unless they do suicide runs, which is at least entertaining. The north leader will waste a lot of time trying to move his units E and then S over the shallows toward your rearguard, no matter how strongly defended you are there. So defend strongly on the coastline and fill the bay with their corpses. You will need to recruit lots of units to fight off the hordes to the W, so don't be a piker. Pikemen are fine, though. Try to get lots of your allies killed early so they don't clog the bridges later when you split your forces N and S.
I like to hit the middle leader first, then send a detachment south to deal with the southern leader while the main force crosses the bridge. (Your troops can't all cross the bridge at once anyway.) Some troops may also be able to ford north across the water at the eastern end of the bay (after first killing most of the orcs that try to cross there), but be careful not to get attacked in the water with only 20% defense. (Certain of your chaotic units do have 40% defense in water; now is a good time to pay attention to that.) The units that cross the water probably won't reach the enemy leader before your main force kills him, but you can pick up some of the eastern villages. When crossing, if there are enemy chaotic units to receive you, notice that the lighthouse has a similar effect as a Mage of Light.
[comments by IoN] I find that the allies are actually quite useful in killing the middle enemy, as well as serving as fodder so that the orcs don't attack your units.
Having played at all easy and hard, I find that the best way to win this scenario is to recruit several advanced units who can take alot of damage and who get good defense in castles (no horsemen), if you don't have many, supplement what you do have with footpads. Send all of these with some white mages over to the line of castle near Lt. Aethyr. Aethyr will usually be done recruiting by the second or third turn, before the enemy reaches you, so fill the entire line with your units, and put Sir Rudry in the one non castled tile. Place the white mages behind this line, and leave it there until the enemy has made it through Aethyr's men. After the enemy has reached you and it is your turn to attack, go mostly for the assasins, as they have a weak melee attack and their poison can be a huge problem. Once you've thinned the enemy to where they only have a few units that are close to your line, usually this happens conveniently around dawn, move your people out and start heading for their leaders. Split your force, sending a few down the southern path, to distract the enemy and most of them toward the middle leader, to kill him. Once he's dead, send some of your army down to kill the southern leader and devote a few units to defending the bridge until the rest of your army can rejoin you. A unit or two with a lot of hp with a white mage are usually enough to do this.
Meanwhile, on the eastern coast, the northern enemy leader will send lots of units to catch you unguarded. Immediately after you recruit the units for the castle, recruit at least three footpads, to send with Lady Jessica nad Haldric to guard the coast. If you keep a unit on the village at the tip of the land, unless you are very unlucky, you will be able to hold off everything the northern leader sends. Once the northern leader is distracted by the units approaching him from the bridge, you will be able to send these units across the river relatively unharried, to attack the orc leader from the other side.
[Note: This is meant for people trying to kill enemy leaders, if you use this strategy with the intent to leave on the first ship, you will be overstaffed, so don't use so many units, and don't take Haldric with Jessica. You do however need to move Haldric closer to the docks, as he cannot reach them from his keep in one turn.]
Fallen Lich Point
The Orcs will be busy with the Yetis, so you can walk with a big group (best to use mostly mages for that) south and kill the Lich-Lord. Move Haldric over the stone to de-petrify him. It may help to post some mages around the undead before doing so. After that, head north and walk into the sewer enrance, and possibly kill the Orc leaders before.
It is also possible, if you recruit heavily, to split your force and head north to attack the eastern orcs before they finish with the Yeti. However, be careful not to be attacked by the Yeti yourself; it is dangerous even if heavily wounded. The Yeti will attack you if he can get to a unit within one turn.
When dealing with the Lich, be aware that he has money; if you let him vacate any of his encampment tiles, or if you kill any of his units but do not occupy their tiles, he will be able to recruit. (This is not necessarily all bad, as it can mean more experience, but depending on the strength of your force you may want to be careful.) Also note that units which cannot cross mountains (e.g., Paladins) are practically worthless here.
Note that this level becomes a lot tougher if the Yetis get poisoned early on. If this happens you basically have no other choice than to kill the orc leaders first.
Sewer of Southbay
As always, don't recruit a lot of units in underground, and don't recruit units which can barely move there. Only mages is probably best, maybe some thieves or other chaotic units. If you have enough levelled up mages, you can divide into two groups and attack both brothers simultanously - else do them one after the other, and then look for the exit.
Pay particular attention to the Giant Spider at the exit. I found best to keep one or two cannon fodder units in order to be able to save to most advanced units. It is best to use ranged attacks against the spider, so mages are good here.
[comments by scorchgeek] Only mages is probably a bad idea, since the enemy can recruit red mages, which you won't want to use ranged attacks on. I used thugs, but other chaotic troops would work fine too.
Southbay in Winter
A Final Spring
For the south land area, do a counter-clockwise sweep with mounted units. Move slower units to defend the walled city, which you would think your allies could do a better job of. Take their villages; they don't do anything useful with the money anyway. When your mounted units complete their sweep, you can break the remaining southern forces against the walls in a hammer and anvil. Then your united forces can move north.
You should have lots of high-level units now, so concentrate on recruiting new ones and levelling them up to fill needs.
Treat the island boss as a separate effort. If you have a Silver Mage (or two) send it across via teleportation ASAP (you should start with one of the villages on the island). This gives you a foothold to get some quicker units (Fugitives/Outlaws) across. Do not use assassins. Assassins have relatively weak defense in water against orcs and nagas, they're very weak against blade, which is all orcs and nagas use, and their relatively slow movement in water makes backstab hard to use reliably. Instead, wait until your first combat, after which you can recruit Mermen. Maybe send a white mage into the water with the mermen for healing purposes, and when you get to the island's cities, you can bring in Silver Mages (hopefully you have at least one by now) to help finish off the boss.
[Comments by flynn] Depending on your strength, you may be able to move some units immediately north over the water to hold the houses on both sides of the bridge. This should also allow an earlier finish. Note that many of the first enemy units to arrive will have no ranged attack.
[Comments by IoN] On easy, at least, splitting forces would allow for an easier finish - send Burin and any heavy infantry you have to guard the city and perform the counterclockwise cavalry sweep as before; some fast assassin line units might be useful in reinforcing the mounted force. Send loyalist troops like swordmen/pikemen north with your mages to take out the northern leader (first let your ally's forces get slaughtered on the bridge, though; it weakens the enemy somewhat) and defend the coast with any outlaws you have, Haldric, and Jessene until you can recruit Mermen. To take out the sea leader, use silver mages, as above, along with Jessene and any outlaws.
Peoples in Decline
Pay attention to the day-night cycle in this scenario. Drakes will be strong during day, but become very weak in the night. I found it best to play a bit defensive, taking advantage of the mountains. Most of the drake leaders were careless enough to fly near enough to me that I could kill them outside their bases. Make sure you get the Storm Trident in the middle of the sea, but be certain that you've cleared most of the drakes first, since a sea serpent will appear. It's best to have some strong units ready to kill it in 1 or 2 turns. You can give the trident to Lord Typhon, but since he leaves a bit later, you may want to give it to another Merman.
[Comments by Easuth] Movement over land is important for Mermen in the campaign as a whole. If the Merman you give the storm trident to has the Quick attribute, you can make him a Hoplite when he gets to level 3. Otherwise, make him a Triton.
[Comments by gdou] Drakes have less resistance towards pierce attacks. I used mainly Bowmen and horsemen during days, and Poachers at nights.
[Comments by Jonadab] Note also that while drakes are resistant to fire, so are your mages. This can make them useful against the less fiery drakes (e.g., Drake Fighters). Against the Burners and whatnot you will want to use melee attacks. The Drakes that fly are more or less impervious to rough terrain, so you must pay closer attention to their range of movement when you plan your zones of control. Be careful about protecting your mages at night.
[Comments by Sailboat] Drakes can be dangerous, so this is a great scenario to use to time honored technique of cannon fodder. Now that you can recruit level 0 units for cheap, you can protect your higher level units by recruiting endless peasants for the first six turns or so, them bringing back your better units to kill off the rest of the drakes.
Recruit just mermen and thieves (you should already have some assassins to recall at this point as well). Maybe a white mage or two for extra healing. Try to level up the mermen, they can be useful in another scenario later. I went first for the right enemy, keeping all my troops together and moving straight east. The other two leaders sent all their troops towards me as well, so after the southeast leader was finished, there weren't much enemies left. I sent all remaining mermen to the northwest one, and a group of assassins to the northeast one over the long isle.
Also, beware of sea serpents, make sure to surround them and kill at once. The trident from the previous scenario will come in handy as well.
[Notes by flynn] Use Lady Jessica's leadership ability to help the mermen fight and level. Put her in the water if necessary - just surround her with mermen.
A New Land
In case you find the map looks familiar, it seems to be from "Bay of Pearls" from HttT. This scenario is mainly story though. Recruit nothing, and attack nothing.
The scenario objectives tell you to avoid all confrontation for as long as possible, but actually the faster your units encounter the others the faster the scenario will end, that saves time.
---edited smenze--- One thing to keep in mind is that this the last chance you have to grab some more merman as their king leaves. They are quite helpful in a later scenario so grabbing a few extra here cannot hurt if you can spare the gold.
Story, with your choice of four battles next. You have to beat them all in whatever order. The amount of gold you have should be the factor in deciding when you choose to play Cursed Isle (the undead problem).
Diverging Campaign Path
All four scenarios have to be beaten, but in whatever order you choose.
There are a lot of Saurian enemies in this, and they all have the skirmish ability. My strategy to win was to recruit a lot of units, and then move the whole army as one big bulk. Keep healers in the middle (I used four), rotate stronger units outwards, and make sure you leave no gaps. The Saurians will slip through the tiniest gap and kill your weak units. My route was to start off straight east, towards the green enemy, but I was surrounded about half-way, then camped there and fought a huge onslaught of Saurians until around turn 10. By that time, there were many fewer Saurians left than in the beginning. And the green leader foolishly placed himself next to Haldric's Sceptre and was killed as well. So I now split up my group, sent one half back to the blue leader, and another south. The southern group first killed off the yellow leader, and then met the dragon. After that I also let the west group who had killed the blue leader finish of the SW leader. The key really is the beginning turns, if you can survive the initial onslaught without half your troops dying already, the map is won.
[Comments by Easuth] Fighting Saurians requires a disciplined formation. If you're used to stringing out troops to move them into position as they get there, that won't work after Turn 2 or 3. I use a "healing hedgehog" of ten troops--two white mages next to each other and eight troops completely encircling them. If someone gets badly injured, move them to the inside and put a white mage on one of the long edges, fighting as you go. If you're trying for the big bonus, you'll need two hedgehogs. Try to keep reserves back a bit in cities. If the terrain favorably protects you, or the wounded is a fast unit, you can try moving wounded back to cities too. Once the main wave of Saurians is broken, you can string non-wounded troops out a bit in the rush for the leaders. If you have a Lancer in position, rush in to the cave after the Dragon leaves to grab the gold (edit: except the cave is in the mountains, so a Lancer cannot reach it), though that's nothing compared to the Hero bonus for defeating all the Saurian leaders. So focus on killing all of them first.
[Comments by Globulin] Switching wounded units to the inside of the hedgehog can be a problem if you are surrounded. ZOC prevents you from creating an open hex to move the inner unit into. A better strategy is to create a triangle with three hexes inside, instead of the standard two of the hedgehog. If you do this on your castle, only three units are in grasslands. If you set it right, you can make most of the hexes adjacent to your triangle be grassland as well, forcing the Saurians into a bad defensive position.
In terms of unit positioning, the simplest way is to fill two inner spaces with Mages of Light, a but a better tactic is to put one of the mages on an edge, thereby ensuring that all but one of your units are healing. The remaining unit can either be a Merman Hoplite, (prefereably resilient and carrying a Storm Trident) or Lady Jessica, since she has excellent defense and is chaotic and therefore benefits by not being in the Mages' light.
The Saurians may hold back for quite a while. This is alright, as the Dragon will eventually appear and come to you. Kill it, and finish the remaining Saurians for a nice bonus.
[Comments by Megatuga] I've found the triangle strategy a bit dificult to use, because the movement isn't the same for everyone. So I really didn't use a specific strategy. I sent everyone towards. At turn 3 I had the first encounter, at South. I defeated the blue leader quite easily, but I needed to restore my units' HP. You have to manage your villages well, not only because of the HP but also because of the negative money.
Returning back to HP, you'll need some mages to restore it. But make sure you have powerful units blocking the enemy's way to mages, thought their HP is a bit low (I got 2 quick ones, which means -10HP each) and can get killed easily. Another big point of this scenario is the destructive enemy attacks. They don't attack many units, they focus their attack in one single unit and kill him. Another fact is the day/night one. I found it easily to deafeat enemy leaders at day: my units attacks were stronger and really helped me with that task. Their leaders may also rush: get your chance and give them a powerful attack.
But if you're going to take the South way, make sure you have some units in your castle because purple and green enemys are also quite strong and will send units straight to Haldric. My Outlaw showed good skills entertaining enemys for some turns in the northern woods: he has 70% defence in there, so I recommend his use, if supported by one or two more Outlaws.
Here you can also find Big Mudcrawlers. Try to do not attack them with one single unit specially if you have many enemys around you and/or your unit HP is too low, because if you kill him he will get divided and then you found yourself surrounded by 2 mudcrawlers. After killing the blue leader, I killed the grey one, then the green rushed and I killed him too. After all this it's all easy: now the enemy has no resources and just a few units. Now kill the purple leader. Then you can reorganize, but you don't have plenty of time: he appears after killing all the enemy leaders. And watch out, don't spawn him too earlier, you may get weaken if you can't kill him. Avoid the brown road around the mountain.
[Comment by Mihoshi] Saurians use piercing attacks mostly, so it's better to use units, resistant to pierce. Namely spearmen and heavy infantry have 40% pierce resistance. Javelineers are ideal as saurians use ranged attacks a lot.
Recall most of your mermen from before and send them along the river towards the sea. This will harry the saurian troops coming down from the north, allowing your main force to advance on the southern enemy undisturbed. Beware, though as your mermen will encounter the saurians at night time (giving you -25% and them +25%), so try to minimize conflict until dawn, just get in their way. As saurians all have skirmish and alot of movement, be sure to protect your wounded units well. Because of the saurians unnerving ability to concentrate their fire on one unit, be sure to keep several healers around and try to keep your line strait so only two can mob one guy (hedgehog tactic also seems to work well).
[Comments by cph: Not sure about the above strategy - pushing forward with mermen on the north flank is futile when saurians can run around them & cut them up on the first night. I recall two shock troopers on the first round and a footpad (to scout the villages in the NE). Recall a couple more decent land melee units & then 4-5 L2 mermen on rounds 2-3. Everything has to be fairly tough in melee so it can stand saurians focusing their attacks & injure them enough when they do that you can kill them next turn; one healer (more than one is hard to protect) and no other mages. Gambit - throw the footpad out their way at first watch, wasting the turn for a couple of saurians. The rest of your force forms a line of battle near your keep, mermen on the N flank in the river, land units extending south, flanks bent back with strongest units at the corners - and let the saurians break on it. Once their first wave has broken, the rest of their troops come in drips and are no problem, so now you can split up and wipe out the stragglers and claim villages; any L2 units you start with should level up.]
After you defeat the main force from the south send just one or two guys north to capture towns so your silver mages can teleport into the fray. The enemy's onslaught tapers out after their initial wave, so the final push should be quick and clean. It's harder to take the northern leader without alot of foreplanning because all of your units will be stuck south of the marshes and the river. If you want to go for a quick win, just march forth with silver mages, mermen, and anyone who's close enough to be a help. If you dont want to lose any of you better units, patience may be the key. As soon as you approach the beach a naga warrior and four nagas arrive in the sea right around the mouth of the river to help the lizardmen, so be careful endangering your mermen there.
[Comments by Gia_Boy: I actually used a sacrifice strategy for this one. In addition to a couple mages, 2 healers, and some other fighters, I recruited a castle-full of peasants to draw the saurians out onto open ground. I surrounded a single peasant on 5 sides, with 2 healers behind him, and built my formation around that. I had an assassin near the front to get around the saurians after they took the bait. The mages were useful for in case a saurian got into some strong ground. Also, I sent a fugitive north, where he moved from village to village, until he got to the village closest to the north enemy's castle. If you have a silver mage by then (which I didn't), then you can go to the last village, and assassinate their leader. The only merman who I got was the Hoplite who had the trident. He didn't go way out, he mostly helped take out the nagas. Also, I didn't get any impact people, because they were quite useless against the mud gobs, which was actually what they seemed to recruit most. Maybe it's just 'cause they explode.]
[Comments by IoN] No-merman strategy: On your first two turns recall two keeps of strong, fast veterans like mounted units (not paladins though; they're pretty ineffective against saurians), outlaws/assassins, and silver magi along with some other veterans, preferably with a lot of HP: if all goes well (at least on easy and medium) that may be all you need. Dash them across the swamp directly west of your keep, south of the sands, and form a line with strong units at the ends. They'll flank you, but you're stronger than them and you can use your slower units to crush the flanking saurians in a hammer and anvil. The first wave of southern saurians should get itself killed before the northern saurians arrive in force. Once the northern saurians arrive, take them out with your slower units while your quicker ones go for the southern leader. Then sweep everyone north to kill the northern leader. This should give a relatively fast finish if you're lucky; you'll need the gold.
The Troll Hole
There are 4 castles, and two of them (randomly placed it seems) are the troll leaders you need to kill. It's underground time again, so as before, mainly recruit mages. The trolls are strong, so hopefully you have lots of levelled up mages. Try to use the narrow corridors to your advantage, so the enemy can only place one attack against a strong unit of yours, but you can kill a troll at a time with two mages or Haldric. Also keep an eye at your back since they will try to surround you. And resist the temptation to send single units wandering around in what seems empty caves - they will all die. I had to restart just to save the dwarf, who had happily wandered off alone searching for gold, right into the lair of a giant spider.
[Comments by Easuth] Try to arrange it so one troll can enter to be attacked by many troops. Have regular troops in front initially. Move mages forward to finish the troll, plug the gap where the troll was with Burin or a Royal Guard or an Iron Mauler, and reset the trap on the next turn. When you've whittled down the enemy, go the direction they came from and kill the leaders, ignoring spider keeps.
[Comments by Jonadab] In addition to mages, your chaotic units can be helpful here again, especially against the occasional rocklobber, which you will not want to attack with mages.
[Comments by Samsara] Putting mermen in the moat will really help you fend off the first wave of attacks.
[Comments by cph] This could be a good choice if you have low gold: recall 2 quick red mages, and 3 quick tough melee units (say 2 royal guards & a L3 chaotic unit like a Fugitive). Play expedition style: abandon the start island, stay fairly close together, with your troops roughly divided in two between those moving forward and those fighting rearguard. Provided you knock out one troll leader early, the rest is manageable, just work your way carefully over to the other.
This can be the first or last map you choose, depending on how desperate you are for cash. If you can wait, do it last. All you really need is a Paladin or three to rush the temples, one of which contains a Vampire Lady. Defeat her, and the scene is over just like that. One of the other temples has some gold; grab that too.
If you'd rather not deal with the vampire lady, recall some experienced mermen and have them pick up the holy water.
A Spy In The Woods
My strategy was to seal of all the gaps in the canyon. So, recruit a lot of units, you will need them. When the onslaught begins, wounded units can retreat back into villages or being cared for by healers. Or actually both, since soon you will be out of non-wounded units.
[Comments by Easuth] This map is smaller than fog of war and canyons make it appear. Rush the NW gaps with mounted units, but slow & strong will carry the day once the sun rises and the odds are in your favor. Don't forget the cash, which you can see even in fog.
[Comments by Owke] Note that once you attack the leaders, a few undead units will appear near them at the edge of the map. Thus you may want to be sure to have some spare firepower before you attack the leader. I made do with three rounds of recalls. One mounted batch to take out the west, the other two to hold off the remaining forces coming from the north and east. As soon as the first wave dies down, take down the west leader and move up north for the kill of the other two.
Return of the Fleet
Welcome to the "kitchen sink" defense. You've made it this far; now the game will start to throw things at you, whatever it has left. The effect is mostly psychological, but it could be a problem if your initial assessment causes you to drastically under-recruit. Time is money.
At medium, at least, you don't want to overrecruit. It's worth recruiting a 5-10 L1 units to take the brunt of the first wave of attacks. The first wave is largely at night & will have goblin knights, and later chocobones. You want to meet them on the edge of the woodland in the centre-south; footpads and poachers are handy here, as they have high defense in woodland. You'll want some decent L2 and L3 recalls for healing, to flank your forces in the woods, and to mop up the enemy at daybreak. A mage or red mage to blast trolls & chocobones will level up by end of scenario.
When combat starts, the map will become shrouded, like in a cave scenario. You just haven't been informed of it yet. So while you're still amazingly able to see, note the key terrain features and castle and city locations. Also, physically explore the avenues of approach you want to be able to see later.
It would be very useful to bring a storm trident into the water. It'll take a few turns, but the undead trying to reach shore will take even longer. Don't recruit too much for fighting the undead - 2 paladins at most, 1 or 2 thugs, the stormy merman, and the nearest mage working with your land force are sufficient - the undead commander only gets 5-6 L2 recruits and they come ashore scattered (at Medium, anyway). Paladins are so effective against undead that you can wade into the water after them. Just remember, Paladins can't go into deep water and undead can. Once you take an island city, teleport over a silver mage to help kill the leader - you want a paladin, a silver mage, the storm trident, plus one more unit to be fairly sure to knock him out in one round (another paladin or silver mage makes very sure, but a quick thug will do).
When you reach the swampy woods in the north-centre of the map, tighten your formation and keep wounded units well away, as a small force of high-level Saurians will appear when you get halfway through the woods. Trigger them in daylight if possible, and knock them out fast.
Two cuttlefish appear when you approach the north-central island. Assuming you're sending a strike force through the water to knock out the undead commander, you really don't want to trigger these until that force is on the island - the storm trident merman is the only thing that can stand up to them in water, and they will avoid him to attack more vulnerable units.
Once you kill one enemy leader, the other gets more gold & recruits a new wave of L2s. This can be useful if you need to kill off surplus L1 units to improve the finish bonus, or if you need the XP more than the gold; otherwise, try to strike both leaders out before they can recruit more; or if you kill the first one at dawn, the second will be reluctant to attack with his L2s in daylight, and you might jump in and kill him before he uses them.
[Comments by Owke] I had a problem here, since either I went bankrupt or I got bogged down pretty fast. Both of these are undesirable since you need money for the last scenario. After four restarts I finally found a way that works : peasants !
I first sent a merman force west to deal with the undead. Northwest I sent a mounted force with one healer to hold the line. Then I recruited 3 or 4 castles worth of peasants as cannon fodder north/northeast, to draw away fire from your cleanup crew. Especially against Chocobones this is nice. Entice it into killing a peasant, then finish it with a high level unit.
That may sound like a waste of money, but keep in mind that peasants cost only 8 gold, and do not require any upkeep ! Send a unit with leadership with them and they can even deal some amount of damage, though at night you should just let them take the beating since otherwise they die too quickly.
After the mermen (and one paladin) dealt with the undead you can bring them in and push through to the leaders. This tactic worked at medium level with 17 turns to spare.
---edit by smenze---
My strategy is really divided into a few different sections. It looks like you will end up losing alot of gold, but honestly in the end you don't.
Section 1 (the mermen and the West) My orginal recruits were 3-4 "quick" mermen (including the storm trident) and 2 poachers (more about them later). Move the merman as quickly as possible pretty much straight to the West (there is a village and swamp hex that can aid your travel if you pick the best route). Move these guys up the West side once they get there to get to the Undead Leader as quickly as possible. I was able to get to him at dusk (some penalty but not full penalty) and dispatch him one attack using the storm trident, a silver mage, and needed only one attack from a merman to finish him. Quick striking like this you end up fighting alot less undead. You probably end up foddering one of the mermen to the Undead Archers, but the trade off is well worth it. You can keep cycling your merman (and silver mages since they aren't needed too much in the other part of the fight) up to fight with any orcs or trolls that come into the water. The cuttle fish die fast enough that they are really no bother at all.
Section 2 (rest of the beginning) Following the first castle recruiting, I recruited another castles worth of poachers/footpads. They are really there just to hold off the orc/troll barage for the first night. Move them up to the edge of the forest just NW of your castle allowing them to use the forest for cover and the orcs are forced to fight from the grasslands. Use your original troops grab up the villages near where you start to help offset some of the costs. My third castle was day time units including one white mage (it was only lvl 2 at the time but about to hit three) and a paladin (who later died). I tried to pick units that were about to level so they got a free healing during the combat. My final bit of recruiting was 3 sliver mages and cannon fodder (I typically use spearmen for this as opposed to peasants). The silver mage commando brigade (teleport is so cheater) is used to damage where needed so station them on villages near where you start so you can pull them anywhere you need quickly. Group up your original units as quickly as you can on the plains just north of you castle. They are going to come in the day light to kill the orcs that venture down at first.
Section 3 (the battle ensues) The orcs/trolls seem to come in three waves. You should be able to kill off the intial wave during the first day with your groups. The chocobones deal a pretty fair damage, but a paladin and silver mage can take them down in a hurry. If you are really careful, you will most likely not lose any units outside of those that are designed to fodder (and even those could live see further below). After dealing with them, move your group (which should be a fairly tight hedgehog around your two healers now) West to NW up near the water. This avoids triggering the Saurians as long as possible and allows you to dictate the fights much better. Force the orcs to fight on bad terrian (water or grass land) even if that forces you onto the grasslands. The second wave should be dealt with right around the waters edge (and they will fight from in the water if you let them). Then carefully move your group onto the island in the middle of the river. I say carefully because it is possible to trigger the Saurians which make the level a lot harder if you are not ready for them. The final large push of orcs/trolls can be dealt with from here. Once that is finished, move NE onto the main land again thus triggering the Saurians.
I ended up with a smaller second contingent (one horse L2, one footpad L2 and one spearman L2) that didn't fit my hedgehog so i sent them to the East to grab up the hand full of villages there, but i kept them in the south forest so I didn't trigger the Saurian attack until I was ready.
Section 4 (clean up) This phase was really self explanatory. Now you have the Saurians to deal with too, but if you ended up with extra troops like I did then you have them pincered and they tend to split up and attack both groups. From there it is just finishing the objectives (i.e. kill the leaders).
Rise of Wesnoth
It's the final battle: be patient, recall everybody, the early finish bonus doesn't mean anything. Some Mermen would be useful here, but surprisingly, they're not really necessary. I started by sending mounted units around both sides of the forest to your SW. Whichever troops the orange guys go after, slam into their rear guard with the other forces, making an orc sandwich. Ewww. I thought I would have to sneak the Paladins back to the E for the undead troops, but once the first east bridge collapses (all bridges collapse as soon as you cross them once), the undead want to follow the path that doesn't leave them floundering in the water. So leave the W bridge intact, playing Catch the Sea Orc on the north shore with Haldric & Co., and you can send a large force down the E side practically unopposed by the second wave of Jevyan's troops. You'll need at least two Paladins in the E to kill Jevyan himself; nothing else is half as effective (perhaps mages of light - but beware his ranged attack !). Don't forget to sacrifice Aethyr to Jevyan. If he doesn't want to come out and play, march up to Jevyan and use a crossbow attack. When Jevyan is dead, the yellow and green leaders will probably still be alive. You'll have to kill one, leaving at least one orc leader alive. You pick. Congratulations! Enjoy the ending!