"Born To The Banner"
This campaign was written as a continuation of the Tutorial. If you completed that you will have no problems here. The recommended course is to head to the River Fort, which is just out of range. Before leaving, however, note that you can recruit here. You can only recruit Peasants for now, and will be able to get better units soon. In general you should save your money for the Archers and Spearmen to come, but it might be nice to bring in a single Peasant now for a special mission. After that, everybody should head towards a village. You might as well park Deoran at 16, 8 and move Moreth towards 24, 8. Turn 2 you reach the River Fort and are rewarded by an Infantry Lieutenant joining your forces. Sir Gerrick will be able to supply your troops with weapons and armor to make Archers and Spearmen. Now you can send Deoran back to the keep to recruit in earnest. If you recruited the Peasant last turn, send him towards the 'village' in the river at 6, 10. This might be considered a little bit of spoiler, but you will find something good there. Actually, if you make a concerted effort to flag all villages [You ARE, aren't you?] you will eventually find this, but you might not be aware that this is a village. Besides, if you get there too late it won't help this scenario...
On turn three Deoran should be back in the keep recruiting Bowmen. Bring in the occasional Spearman, but the bulk of your forces now should be Bowmen. This is because the Urza mostly recruits Thugs, which have no ranged attack. Once you've discovered your enemy's weakness, you're halfway to defeating them. Even with your Spearmen, you'll want to stick to thrown spears at night against the Thugs unless your target is wounded enough that you are likely to finish it off. Your other forces are too skimpy to accomplish anything now, so have them continue to capture unallied villages. One keep worth of troops [four units] is likely not enough to last all the way to the Urza, so go ahead and stay for another round of recruiting. By turn 5 you will be nearly out of money, but will have a decent size force along the Northern bank of the river. It's okay to run out of money this early in a scenario, as you'll be earning more income from your villages every turn. This in now night-time, during which your [Lawful] forces will be weaker and the Bandits [Chaotic] will be stronger. Short of suicide, the reasonable thing to do is to assume a defensive stance until the sun rises.
By now your troops will be somewhat scattered. You might want to get used to tapping the "n" key several times before ending your turn. "n" brings the focus to next unit that has any movement points left. This way it will be easy to find those units you might have forgotten. Most of your units should be arranged in a line [more of a crescent, really] from the River Fort going East. Moreth [the original Spearman] might have gotten all the way to the village at 22, 12. If so, he could be safe there, unless you see several enemy units moving his way. Another gamble would be moving the Peasant down to 5, 16 and send the Mermen, if any, into the middle of the swamp. This could be enough of a distraction to split up the Bandit army marching towards the river fort. These are the only of your troops that will be somewhat safe South of the river.
Normal advice is to put leaders and healers in the 'second line' behind the front line. You don't have any healers yet, but Sir Gerrick can help lead. Depending upon what difficulty level you selected upon starting the campaign, Deoran is probably only first level. Note that leadership only applies to units that are lower in level than the leader. A first level leader can only lead Peasants and other zero level troops. Sir Gerrick will be able to direct the fire of your bowmen to better effect and will also be able to exert his influence on Deoran. It will be a priority for you to get Deoran enough experience to advance to the next level without getting him killed. Ideally you'd also like to minimize the number of times he becomes wounded bad enough to have to pull away from the battle and retreat to a village for healing. Usually this is accomplished by having your other troops soften up a target such that your leader can get the kill. You don't have to attack every character every turn, particularly if it looks like you'll take more damage than you'll dish out.
On turn 7 the daylight comes: your counterattacks will have more effect, and you should be crossing the river in force on turn 8. When you capture the village at 15,12 you will be rewarded with Aleron, a Peasant who is Loyal to you. In game terms, he will work for you for free [has no upkeep]. Since he is only a level 0, there's no upkeep cost anyway. Big deal, right? Well, it is. You should make every effort to keep those Loyal troops alive, and those should be the ones that reach the highest levels. If Aleron becomes a Halberdier [which normally costs you 3 gold per turn to supply], he will still be Loyal and cost you nothing. Moreth and the Mermen are loyal as well, so keep them alive. That means don't throw Mermen away on land attacks. Keep them in the river or swamps where they are better adapted. After you have crossed the river, leave them behind as a rear guard.
As you press towards the Urza, the majority of your troops will be funneled along the road South. A few should come along the edge of the hills in order to attack the enemy keep from due North. The idea here is to get the enemy to split up his forces, or you'll have an unguarded area to attack. By turn 9 you should be in more defensible terrain [forest, hills or mountains] as night will be falling again. Hopefully you will have dispatched the majority of the baddies in the battle by the river, but a lucky strike by some bandits could still cripple you. By the way [this is a matter of playing style] i usually pull a unit back for healing once its health bar turns yellow or red. There are times when you have to sacrifice a unit to achieve some bigger goal, but you'll never get your units to level up if they get killed before they get enough experience...
By turn 11 or so, you should have captured all the villages on the map. On turn 12 i would expect to see some of your units in the enemy keep. The keep is the best defensive terrain; also, the more of its area you fill up, the fewer fresh troops the enemy can recruit. By turn 13 your troops could be attacking the Urza himself, and daylight is coming. With luck you can finish him off on turn 14. Since the enemy keep is mostly surrounded by forest it gets kind of fussy juggling all your troops around so as to rest the wounded, bring your attackers where they will do the most good [Archers against Thugs and Bandits, Spearmen against Poachers], and get the most from your leaders. If it not obvious, you can have Sir Gerrick direct several attacks, move him, direct more attacks, etc. Optionally he can finish his turn by attacking. Ideally you'd like the killing blow against the Urza to be delivered by Sir Gerrick or [better] Deoran. That way he can accumulate enough experience to eventually advance.
"Proven By The Sword"
Similar to the last go round, this scenario comes in two parts: first is seizing control of the Westin Keep, second is actually defeating the enemy. I would initially recall Moreth and Aleron [the loyal ground troops] and one of the Bowmen that has accumulated good experience. You are sitting in a temporary keep right now, fill it up and go capture a village. You don't want to hang around, but it would be risky to send Deoran into the city alone. Turn 2 send Deoran back to the keep to recall/recruit more troops. Again you'll want a mix of types, but Bowmen should still predominate. Meanwhile send the first batch of troops south to handle the Footpads that are coming your way. Sir Gerrick could either head down with them or accompany the other bunch into the city.
Here i'll give a few words about the criminals: Footpads, Thieves, etc. are extremely agile. If they are in halfway defensible terrain, you'll have a stated 30% chance to hit them. I think this is exaggerated, as i have had to swing many, many times to get a single hit on these guys. It's kind of like trying to hit an Agent in the movie "The Matrix". The other thing to watch out for is the Backstab ability that the Thieves possess: they can stab for double damage if an allied unit is on the other side of their target. You have to keep you units close enough together that they can't break through and surround you.
By turn 4 Deoran and his retinue should cross the bridge and face down the criminals in the city. If it takes you longer than that, the Urza's forces will have reinforced the city and you'll have a *much* harder time crossing the river. After Deoran has captured the city [i.e., is at the hex 22, 16; labeled 'Westin'], the citizens of the city will give him 5 more loyal troops: 4 more peasants and a White Mage. Minister Hylas is an extremely important figure in this campaign, and is currently the only of your troops who will be very effective against the undead that you will soon face. He also bears the blue badge that all significant characters wear. Deoran should recruit/recall again here, possibly including bringing back the loyal Mermen, then go on the attack. The Peasants will be kind of difficult to keep alive against the criminals they face, so perhaps send a few of them around to capture the blue villages. However, in this scenario i had a Peasant upgrade to Bowman and again to Longbowman.
Now the Urza begins playing hardball: he won't capture any of your villages. If one of his troops comes upon a village held by you, they will destroy it. It is up to you if you need the money bad enough to keep troops behind and defend the villages. The important thing is to take all villages away from him to reduce how many recruits he can send against you. Of course, we should also think of the happiness of our citizens, as well... Once you have Minister Hylas on your side, the Urza reveals the trick in his sleeve: he can recruit Undead. The skeletons are a real nuisance, as they are highly resistant to attacks by piercing and bladed weapons [exactly the kind that all of your troops except Minister Hylas possess].
If you're curious, select one and look at the description. Depending upon how the version of Wesnoth you are using was compiled, usually this is accomplished by pressing the 'd' key or right-clicking and selecting 'Unit Description'. You will see that the Skeletons are vulnerable to Fire, Impact weapons, and particularly weak against Holy attacks. You don't have any Fire attacks yet, and the only Impact attack you have is Minister Hylas' Staff. His Lightbeam is much better against these foul creatures, however:
- -100% resistance to this attack means you will deliver much better damage to them. During broad daylight this totals up to a maximum 80 points of damage every turn.
- Four attacks is almost always better than one.
- The Lightbeam is a 'Magical' attack rather than a physical. In practical terms, it does not matter if they're hiding in mountains, a village or whatever; you still have a 70% chance to hit them.
- The majority of the Skeletons have no ranged attack. There is no better attack for you than an attack with no risk of counterattack...
By turn 8 you can have cleared the West bank of the river and will be lined up ready to wade across. As before, wait for dawn to start the attack and you should be able to beat you way through during the day. Since the water is such an impediment to travel, you might risk putting units into the river along row 24. Even though they are exposed there [typically 20% defense means they would be hit 80% of the time], enemies would themselves have to step into the water to attack you there. Since it typically takes 3 to 4 movement points to pass through water, a unit standing [for example] on 18, 23 would run out of points before getting to dry land. It's much better to end your turn on the shore.
If it takes longer to clear out the city, or if the resistance in the South is particularly stiff, then better wait on your side of the river and let them attack you from the water. By turn 14 you should have reduced their numbers enough to make it across. Some of the bad guys will try to ford the eastern stream [hexes 26, 22 to 29, 23]. I would send a handful of troops [assisted by the Mermen] down the East bank of the river to prevent those from getting behind you.
After you've crossed the river again, the rest is quite straightforward: get through the forest to the enemy keep, and beat them down. I should mention that while Minister Hylas is healing all of your troops that are near him, nobody is healing Minister Hylas. Since he is so critical, you'll have to retreat him if he gets banged up too bad. It takes some juggling since he is your only effective undead fighter. However, he can't fight them when he's dead...
"A Desperate Errand"
There is a marker at 17,7 indicating where Deoran should head, though it is partly obscured by the large tree in front of it. You don't need lots of troops for this scenario, maybe just two or three keeps worth. On the first turn i would just bring back the loyals, perhaps one of them a Merman. Don't head to the target yet, as on turn two you will receive a Dragoon and the ability to recruit Cavalrymen. Buy one or two to screen Deoran, then perhaps bring back another Merman. Deoran and the other mounted troops can immediately cross the river heading North, while the others head West. When there are no enemies in the immediate area, the cavalry can capture villages while still remaining somewhat close to Deoran. He should just make a beeline towards the elven keep. As enemies get closer he should be a little more conservative in his movement; not ending his turn in a forest, for example.
By about turn six or seven the walking and swimming types should be in the neighborhood of the village at 12, 24 while the Vampire Bats will be catching up with the horsey set having just crossed the river again. You should be able to hold 12, 24 though expect to see some fierce attempts to wrest the village from you. It would be possible to send a merman to the village at 4, 23, though i wouldn't recommend you send anybody you really like there, as they're likely to get slaughtered. Still, it might be worthwhile to send a throwaway [read: non-loyal] merman there to take the heat off the main force around 12, 24. Note that the Scenario Objectives say nothing about defeating the Urza. Your foot troops need only engage him to keep him out of Deoran's hair, and you're home free. Of course if you are able to finish him off, then bully for you.
"Vale of Tears"
I might initially recall a single keep worth of troops, as another five bodies might be overkill on top the now large retinue around Deoran. On the other hand, you'll have to fight Skeletons again, so expect to lose a few. As always, Minister Hylas can take down one every turn. Ethiliel can put her 'ensnare' attack to good use as well. It uses Impact damage and has the beneficial effect of slowing down the target [If she hits, the target will only deliver half damage for the remaining of this round and the beginning of next]. It's best to use her to attack an axe-wielding Skeleton, then quickly finish it off with your melee fighters. You'll have to rein in the temptation to have Deoran or any of the mounted fighters charge in ahead of the others, that could be a form of suicide. If you keep your troops shoulder-to-shoulder [in a line] that'll reduce the ability of the enemy to gang up on any one character. Of course, you can afford to take more risks after there are only a few skeletons left. There will also be times when you choose to expose some of your troops in order to surround and defeat an enemy.
After you have finished off Mal A'kai you can use his keep to replenish your forces for the next battle. A useful shortcut at this point might be to send Ethiliel due South after she's done bashing Skeletons. Hopefully won't really need her help to deal with the villains in the woods, Also, the sooner you send her off to Mebrin's Village, the sooner you can complete the second objective for this scenario. If she circles around the eastern side of the lake she can make the village [31, 32] in about a half dozen turns.
Meanwhile the villains should mostly be so spread out as to be easy prey.
"Choice In The Fog"
The title is a precise summation of this scenario, but more about that later. Right now, you're surrounded by fog that only lets you see as far as you can move in the next turn. One possible [though expensive] means of dealing with this is to make sure that every squad of yours has a fast moving unit like Cavalryman with them. However, cavalry fight at a disadvantage in the woods, which is mostly what you'll be dealing with here. Elves are much better in the forest, and therein lies the choice i mentioned earlier. You won't be forced to chose yet, but you may as well think about it: your decision will affect the type of recruits you are about to gather. As of now, Ethiliel will allow you to recruit Elvish Fighters and Elvish Shamen. The Shaman is the only healing unit you'll get other than Minister Hylas in the whole campaign. If you choose against the elves, you will then be allowed to recruit a powerful unit to fight undead. If you're going to go that way, then don't bother recruiting any elves, as they will all leave you.
So recruit a keeps worth of mixed troops. You might need more, depending upon how you choose. Your objective now is simply to explore. I don't think it will be too much of a spoiler to tell you that there are a handful of sites to fjord the river, but only one bridge. I usually send the horsed and elven types along the northern bank of the river, since it's a long way across the map. Minister Hylas and the rest of the humans should march South across the bridge. Of course, if you're going with the elves, you may as well reinforce them with some Elvish Fighters, too. Your faster troops will eventually encounter some resistance about three quarters of the way across. After you've cleared the northern bank, prepare to cross the river and meet them on their own turf.
Meanwhile, the others should keep heading South and will eventually run into bunches of Zombies. While they are quite weak individually, wave after wave of them can eventually wear down even the strongest hero. The unique attack [plague] of the Zombie and Souless means that any living creature they kill will be brought back as one of their own. Keep your fighters close to Minister Hylas, and rotate them as necessary. As level zero creatures, Zombies don't exert a Zone of Control. In practical terms, it means that they can't slow your movement. Just remember you are in no hurry, and eventually you will beat them at their own game. Even if they hurry it is unlikely that they could meet up with their brethren for the battle against the skeletons on the east side. The leader of the Zombies is a level one Souless called Gruth.
On the eastern front, you will face Bandits and such again. Eventually sordid secrets will be revealed, and you will be forced to choose between them and the Elves. If you chose Bandits, your elven allies will IMMEDIATELY disappear. This may leave some of your units exposed to counterattack from the undead, so beware. After so choosing, Urza Afalas and all his surviving bandits will become yours to command, and you will be able to use his keep to recruit more Thugs and Footpads. Both are well suited to cracking skeletal skulls. If you choose to stay with the Elves, of course you'll have the Shamen to console you as you fight your way through the Bandits. By the time you are through with them, the skeletons will probably be making their way up from their keep on the southeast corner of the map.
Just keep bashing away, and eventually you will win through to the big baddie: Mal M'Brin, who, in terms of number of units, is actually quite weak and easy to defeat. This name might sound vaguely familiar, but i won't go into that now. Just keep in mind that it is tougher than the other two leaders put together. Its magic attack can hit you for a basic 36 points [Dawn/Dusk], while its melee attack does 15. It's worse than that, however, as the melee attack can drain hit points from the target to regain Mal's hit points. Just keep hammering away at it with your Thugs and Bandits, and hold Deoran back so he can get the final whack. It turns out that this is merely an apparition of the real Mal M'Brin, and the actual one is hiding in tunnels beneath his keep.
After this scenario, there will be a branch: If you choose to stay with the elves, you'll lead Sir Gerrick back to Wesnoth to deliver news of the undead in a scenario that's almost a pushover, and then you'll try to hunt out Mal inside his caves. If you choose to go with the bandits, then you'll try to return to Wesnoth, but the remaining undead, under the real Mal M'Brin, will follow you. You'll then be forced to play a last-as-long-as-you-can scenario where Gerrick and Urza Afalas are forced to die so that Deoran can return to Westin and prepare a defense against the final undead attack. The first fork is much less difficult.
"Tidings, Good and Ill"
This scenario, as mentioned above, is a pushover, Just recruit some Elvish Fighters, and push northwards. None of your opponents will be any match for you.
"Into the Dephs"
One of the few genuinely tough scenarios in this game. There's probably a split here if you keep Mal M'Brin (who, as you may have guessed now, is actually Mebrin) from dying, but this is extremely difficult. The easiest way is to give the trolls food, which makes them ally with you. They then can easily kill Mal M'Brin on their own. The downside to this is the dissatisfying ending: the elves try to get vengeance, but Ethilliel parlays with them, and the campaign ends with a cautious peace between humans and elves. If you want a challenge, you can attempt to kill the trolls by offering them money (which they don't want), which is difficult. If you don't stop them from killing Mal M'Brin, then the ending scenario is the same. As mention above, killing them and stopping them from killing Mal M'Brin is difficult.
To kill the trolls without stopping them from killing Mal M'Brin, simply swarm their north entrance with Elvish Fighters. Eventually, they'll be worn down, and then you can enter and kill their leader after a lot of work and patience.
Theoretically, you could both stop them from killing Mal M'Brin and kill them by blocking both their north and eastern entrances, but I haven't tried this.
M'Brin Death Fork
Just recruit a lot of fodder to keep the elves busy and send Ethilliel to the tree quickly. As mentioned above, a dissatisfying ending.
M'Brin Lives Fork