SonOfThe BlackEye

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This is a walk-through for the Son of the Black–Eye campaign. You will play the role of Kapou’e, an Orcish Leader who will command armies of orcs, trolls and saurians during this adventure.

This campaign is regarded by many players as one of the best written among those in the mainline, with a solid and interesting back-story, clever and not overly serious dialogue and a good balance of difficulty throughout the scenarios, providing a pleasant yet challenging pace in the action.

Campaign Strategy

Featuring 18 playable scenarios, this is a relatively long campaign, giving you plenty of opportunity to train a strong army.

You start with just basic orcish units (Orcish Grunts and Archers and Wolf Riders), and will gain the ability to recruit new types of units with time. You won't have healers for the first half of the campaign, so you can only rely on villages for recovering wounded troops (with the exception of trolls). However, using only veterans and relying too much on healing in the middle of battles does not fit particularly well with the general flavor of the campaign. More often than not, you can rely instead on fresh level-1 units and holding strategic locations in the maps you play in.

In case you have never controlled orcs and trolls before (either in multi-player games or any other user-made campaign), it may take you a little while to get used to the way it "feels" playing them. Perhaps the main issue brought up by players who have experience with the northerner faction is their lack of consistency (the ability of single units to repeatedly deal a certain amount of damage with some "reasonable" certainty). When playing orcs and trolls, many players prefer strategies that involve using many low-level units instead of just a few high-level ones.

This campaign is labelled as "Expert level" in the game, and with good reason. It doesn't necessarily means that it is especially difficult. It is just much more accessible once you have gained some basic mastery of Wesnoth strategy and tactics, and are familiar with the way the game's AI (the enemy's "intelligence", so to speak) works. In a nutshell, enemies will tend to think short-term and go for easy kills whenever possible, putting any number of its own units at risk if necessary to kill its targets. Once you get the hang of it, it is much easier to steer battles to go the way you want them to, at the cost of sacrificing unimportant units (referred to by players as fodder or spam). Although most of the beginner and intermediate level campaigns can be played with practically no unit losses, trying to do that here would be like trying to drink soup using a fork. It may not be impossible, but you'd just be making it harder on yourself for no good reason.

A few words on the different units you will control:

Kapou’e starts as an Orcish Leader, and his distinctive feature is having the leadership ability. Given the offensive style of playing suitable for this campaign you will probably level him up quickly whether you intend to or not.

The most basic fighting units will be Orcish Archers and Orcish Grunts. Archers do very well against most types of enemies, including the occasional undead or rare monster, thanks to their fire attack. Grunts are cheap and somewhat strong but unreliable due to the low number of hits of their attacks, and they do not have ranged attacks until they reach L3. Many players prefer to use Grunts almost exclusively as cannon fodder. Still, having a few Warriors and Warlords in your roster is useful because of their strong melee attack and good HP.

Wolf Riders are very good scout units. They can advance to Direwolf Riders and to Goblin Pillagers. Direwolves are strong and can be used when you need to send scouts on their own to grab distant villages, while Pillagers aren't as strong but are much more versatile and can be used to accompany your main army and slow tough enemies whenever necessary. Having at least two of each type will serve you well in this campaign.

During the first few scenarios you will gain the ability to recruit Troll Whelps and Orcish Assassins. Similar to Grunts, Trolls are pretty strong but also a little unreliable. However, their big redeeming quality is their regeneration ability, making them act as if they were always standing on a village. Having a few of them (or more than a few if you prefer) is definitely a good idea.

As for the Assassins, if you have any previous experience playing against orcs (and you probably do if you're reading this walk-through), you should know how annoying Assassins and Slayers can be when you have to fight against them, but this time they'll be on your side. Their poisoning attack and high defense make them tremendously useful to turn the tides in big battles. Since their poisoning attack also benefits from marksmanship, it is a very effective way of dealing with enemies in high-defense terrain (e.g. dwarves on mountains or elves in the forest). Their disadvantage is that they are very weak, so leaving them vulnerable to attacks from even one or two strong enemies means they will probably bite the dust on the next turn.

For the second half of the campaign you gain access to Saurians. Most importantly, their Augurs, who can advance to Soothsayers and provide +8 heal will be a great addition for your army. On the other hand, the usefulness of Skirmishers for this campaign is debatable. They are normally very useful disrupting enemy lines and holding key positions where other units would have terrible defense (like swamp or sand). However, you get the Saurians at a time in the campaign when winter is about to arrive, and by then you will start fighting on snow-covered maps where the Saurians' movement is very poor. Any real chance of using Skirmishers will come on the last few scenarios of the campaign, but by then your army will probably already have plenty of good and varied units. This means you won't be really urged to use them, but if you have fun with them, then by all means go ahead.


The End Of Peace

  • Objective: Defeat Alber, the human lieutenant.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e dies or time runs out.
  • Turns: 28/24/22 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e.

It looks tempting to recruit lots of Wolf Riders to match the humans' cavalry mobility, but don't try—they're not quite a match for cavalry and tend to get cut to pieces in detail. Two Wolf Riders for village stealing is enough; recruit mostly Orcish Grunts and Orcish Archers instead. Keep close order, pot the cavalry with Archers, and bodyguard the Archers with the Grunts. Kapou’e can do a second round of recruiting at the middle keep, closer to the battle.

Once you defeat Alber, a Wolf Rider shows up to tell you about a large human army that is about to catch up with you. You are given the choice to either proceed with caution and avoid the fight, or to stubbornly stay and make a stand against impossible odds. If you decide to fight, you'll play the scenario The Human Army, otherwise you skip right into Towards Mountains of Haag.

Playing The Human Army gives you the possibility of levelling up a few units, but it is a very challenging scenario. Even if you beat it, you could wind up with less gold and a worse roster than if you had avoided it.

The Human Army

  • Objectives: Resist until your people can leave, then get Kapou’e to the signpost.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e dies.
  • Turns: 18.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Vrag.

This is a very difficult scenario. The human general recruits level-2 units and he starts with an amount of gold that is, for all intents and purposes, infinite. Your goal is to do the best job you can holding the enemy, gaining experience for some of your troops in the process.

On turn 7, one of your units will be sent away on an errand, and then come back on turn 13, telling you that everything is ready to flee the scene. By then, you just need to move Kapou’e to the signpost on the north-eastern corner, and the scenario will end. Be prepared to escape as soon as possible, and try to level up as many units as you can, using fodder units to distract the enemy and protect your most valuable ones if necessary.

It is better to start this scenario with a good gold reserve from the first scenario, and a few units that are about to level up (instead of having L2 units with little experience). One way to play it is to start by recruiting a couple of Archers and Wolf Riders. While the two wolves take the western villages, your leader and Archers rush to the second keep. There, recruit lots of Grunts. The first few loyalists should reach the middle of the map during the night, so that's the time to be as aggressive (but careful with your core units.) When dawn arrives, retreat north, leaving a few fresh fodder units in the way to delay the human army. Once back at the original keep, Kapou'e can blow the rest of his gold on veterans. Make sure that by turn 13 Kapou’e can get to the signpost in one move (on turn 14.) Use the last turn to gain as much additional experience as possible, and then finish the scenario. With a little luck, you should end up this level with a few experienced L2 units.

Towards Mountains of Haag

  • Objective: Move Kapou’e to the signpost.
  • Bonus objective: Defeat the enemy leader.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 27/24/20 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e and one veteran.

This scenario requires you to fight dwarves in a mixture of open terrain, hills and mountains. Around turn 7 a small group of trolls will appear to the north, and one of them will become loyal to your cause by the end of this battle. Players have succeeded by either running or fighting.

Option 1, run: Keep Kapou’e and your troops moving and try to brush the dwarves off your flank as you pass, because if they get to mass on you and fight a static battle they will chop you to dog meat. Recruit at most for two rounds and run for the signpost at least until the trolls show up. Then, if the odds are with you, you can linger a bit and harvest some XP. If you fight the dwarves, try and get them onto non-hill/mountain terrain. Again, your Archers are your best offensive tool, but you need to use Grunts and Wolf Riders keep the dwarves off them.

Option 2, fight: Run 2-3 Wolf Riders around to nab ALL the villages outside the mountain border. They do not need to engage the enemy. Recruit a large force of Archers and their Grunt bodyguards, and recall a Crossbowman if you can. You can either head into the hills west of your keep or fight from your keep and the village and woods to the north. Going west has the disadvantage of putting you into dwarf-friendly terrain. Going north has the disadvantage that first contact with the enemy will occur during the day, but it has the advantage that the trolls will be there to protect your flank - and you can protect them too. Together, you and the trolls should be able to clear the path to the dwarf king. When he steps off his keep, send someone tough to cover the spot, like Kapou’e, who can then recruit reinforcements if you wish.

The next scenario is a tough one, so every bit of gold carryover will help.

The Siege of Barag Gor

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the Shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 24 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü and a scout (a veteran if you have any wolves).
  • Other:
    • In the cage is a loyal Assassin.
    • You are now able to recruit Troll Whelps.

This is the first large scale battle in the campaign, involving four elvish leaders coming from each of the corners of the map. A rather large keep is located in the middle, where your three shamans will start the scenario. You must keep them safe from harm.

This scenario has been changed as of 1.11.8. For older version strategy, skip down.

Strategy for version 1.11.8 or later:

This is an extremely difficult scenario. The basic winning strategy is to spend all your gold as fast as possible, with a healthy dose of Troll Whelps, and rush to relieve the castle troops. Kill the northeast leader along the way. Once the castle is secured, split into 2-3 task forces to take out the remaining leaders.

The allies are under your control. The main challenge is to learn how to conserve your allied castle troops until relief arrives, which mostly means you have to learn to be very passive. Heal some of your castle troops by leveling intelligent Archers. Remember that all your allies are expendable. Allowing your allied Slayer leader to die will help with gold carryover, because then the allied troops can use your villages without causing them to be reflagged.

The southwest leader will be difficult and time-consuming to kill, so make it your goal to make him the first to die after the northeast leader.

You need not free the loyal Assassin in the cage, as winning will release him. You will be able to recruit Assassins next scenario.

Strategy for versions earlier than 1.11.8:

There are many ways to approach this scenario, but in general you have two choices:

Option 1 - Going straight for the enemy leaders

If you want to finish this scenario faster (with the gold bonus it implies) you can just resign the keep in the middle, moving the trapped Shamans out of the way as soon as possible; a gap is likely to open up to the SE around turn 2 or 3. You can provide ZOC blocking with your Troll and Wolf Wider.

For taking care of the enemy leaders, players have had success with different strategies.

One option is to go clockwise. Take your troops south to knock out the elves there first, then west, then north. One problem is that it's easy to get pinned in and overwhelmed at the south after taking out its leader. So, consider sending a few Wolves and maybe Troll Whelps counter-clockwise to boost income and distract some of the enemy troops.

Another option is to divide your army in two. Send an assassination squad (heavy on Troll Whelps and/or Wolf Riders, possibly levelled) to take out the south-east leader. Send your leader, your Troll, and escorts north. To maximize your income, the escorts can be a relatively small and cheap squad of level 1's, in which case try using Wolf Rider bait to lure the enemy leader off his keep and also away from your leader, so your leader can sneak in to recruit more there. Then your northern and southern forces can head west to finish off the last two leaders, transferring Wolf Riders to bolster any lagging front.

Even though defending the city will not be your biggest priority, keeping your ally intact will help clog up enemy forces and prevent you from getting surrounded and pinned. You may want to send a small force to assist in the city's defense.

Pay attention to income. The more income you get, the more Troll Whelps you can recruit. Think twice before recalling any level 2 units, except maybe Pillagers. Later in the game, the villages in the middle will be relatively undefended; swoop in with Wolf Riders.

It's also helpful to have gold coming into the scenario. On nightmare, it would be hard to win with much less than 280 gold.

Option 2 - Holding the city

It can be a little trickier to finish within the time limit (particularly on hard) but it may be less risky to just move your center of operations to the city. Start by recruiting a couple of wolves to capture villages and some veterans and start moving right away into the keep in the middle. You'll need a little luck to quickly put Kapou’e in the second keep tile available, since your ally won't move from his place and during the battle it is very likely that other units occupy the space you want.

When you finally manage to move Kapou’e into place, however, things will start to look much brighter for you. Recruit troll whelps and recall some more of your veterans as long as you can pay their upkeep comfortably, and then patiently form squads to go deal with the elves. You will inevitably reach the turning point where you control most of the map and then it just becomes an exercise on assigning the experience to your units. It's probably better to leave the south-western leader for last, since he is the one with the most favorable terrain on his side so you should take your strongest units, including those who have levelled up during this battle, to finish him off.

To the Harbor of Tirigaz

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the Shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 20.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto (the assassin, if you have him) and the Shamans.
  • Other:
    • The standard day of time cycle does not apply in this scenario. It will be nighttime practically all the way through instead.

For recruitment, recall from the Archer and Troll lines. Anything else is far less useful. The level 3 Archers and Trolls can take out an undead unit every turn with little damage to themselves. Except for taking down the Liches, level 1 Archers and Troll Whelps can get the job done too; it will be at grave danger to themselves, but you won't shed a tear if a low XP unit dies.

For main strategy, players have used at least two basic approaches with success:

Option 1, southwest first: The northeastern enemy can be blocked with 2-4 veteran units at the river fort; do that while you take villages on the near side of the river with your Shamans and take a recruiting round or two of troops south to deal with the southwestern enemy.

Option 2, northeast first: Head northeast and destroy the Lich there as quickly as possible. At the same time a few Archers supported by Kapou’e (who should be at least level 2 by now) should be enough to handle the Ghosts the southwest Lich will send your way (unless you're really unlucky). The southwest Skeletons are slowed down by the swamp, so by the time they reach your forces the Ghosts should be no more, and Archers + Troll Whelps can handle the skeletons. On the Warrior difficulty with some luck and enough Crossbowmen recalled at the start you can can finish this scenario in just 10 turns using this approach.

You may ignore the holy water you see to the east as any unit that reaches it will just drink it and nothing will happen.

If you are stuck on this scenario due to minimum starting gold, note that it is possible to finish the previous scenario, the Siege of Barag Gor, with positive gold.

Black Flag

  • Objective: Defeat the human generals, Slowhand and Harman.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 26/24/22 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto.

At the center of this level are the piers of the Tirigaz port, surrounded by many 1-hex fortifications. Multiple Transport Galleons will be making their way here to unload troops. Two attacking leaders - Loyalist-Human Generals - have set up camp to the North-West of the piers (General Slowhand) and to the South-East (General Herman). Right next to the piers, at their South-Eastern edge, is a 4+1 hex keep, and scattered here-and-there are a few remaining defenders; they won't last more than a a few turns.

You arrive from the Northern edge (not so near to Slowhand), and remain with your proper Loyal units, having sent the Shamans to go hide in the forest. You should run Kapou'e to the keep as fast as you can, without having him stop at villages: He won't be hurt, and you'll get there in time to recruit some troops to meet the first Galleon's marauders: They unload on that turn, on the sandy beach to your West. If you can place some defenders on the better terrain, they can use their ZOC to keep those arriving enemy units on those few hexes and attacking from Sand - or having to get into the water, where you can pick them off even more easily from the edge of a pier, or scare them away.

You will be attacked from three directions: The landing party just mentioned, and the two Generals; Harman is much closer, and you will clash with him before Slowhand - but he has much less gold and just a 2+1-hex keep. Slowhand's troops will take a bit more time to reach you, but they're much more numerous, and will be reinforced by more unloaded troops from incoming Galleons. If you can, make an effort to punch out Harman before this happens and roll North carefully. At the same time you'll need to keep those enemies on the sand your west in check; they'll get some reinforcement as well.

Your keep is small, and both your initial funds and ability to hold villages limited; and you will not have the opportunity nor the numbers to cycle units properly fighting on 3 fronts - it will not be a good idea to recall your experienced veters. Instead, you should go for a larger number of L1 sacrificial units. This may seem counter-intunitive if you've not done so before, but: Try using many Orcish Assassins. While not dealing much damage, they have excellent defense, and will thus last almost as long as Grunts; and you'll use them to poison your enemies rather than to inflict mass amounts of damage. This use of poison will put the onus of engagement on them rather than on you - especially when it comes to the landing party to your west. Also, the AI tends to have poisoned units retreat often, looking for a village - sparing your defending assassin next turn's attack. Assassins also level much sooner if they happen to survive. Finally, most of the Human units are either melee-attack-only (Swordsmen, Fencers etc.) or melee-mostly (Spearmen) - so your Assassins can attack without expending any HP. You could even consider recruiting only assassins until the initial wave of Slowhand's troops has been broken. Of course, at that point you might not even need additional recruits, but if you do - now you recall some veterans to finish the job.

This might not be possible, but if the opportunity somehow presents itself - attack the Galleons directly is very useful, as you destroy four units by fighting just one - which can't even defend from a melee attack. Now, a Galleon will shoot you with a 25-damage ballista, and at sea it'll probably hit you too; so a Goblin Knights or Direwolf Rider is an appropriate unit for this task.

The Desert of Death

  • Objectives:
    1. Reach the oasis.
    2. Defeat Ar-Dant, the bandit leader.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 26/24/22 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and the Shamans.

This is an only somewhat demanding scenario, made harder by wanting gold carryover.

Take a few moments to explore the map before anything else. Take notice of the castle on the southeastern corner; that is where you are ultimately going to find the enemy leader you need to defeat. Notice also the small segments of plain dirt, which will speed up your units a little bit during the journey. Finally, notice the few villages along the desert on which you can recover your wounded units, most importantly from poison.

You probably don't need to recruit/recall for more than one turn, and you need to get moving as fast as possible, because time is the main enemy, especially on Nightmare. A good team can be composed mostly of Orcish Archers and Crossbowmen. One Goblin Pillager is also good for grabbing distant villages and slowing enemies.

Your first task is to deal with a group of Scorpions that roam the desert. There will be many Scorpions, and they will pop out of the fog when you least expect it, so don't run ahead with weak units. Use ranged attacks from your Archers and Shamans, supported by Kapou’e's leadership, and they will not last too long.

Don't take too long recovering your units before you continue moving south to the large oasis. There, you find Bandits (or Thugs on Easy) and a Thief or Rogue. Against them, keep a disciplined line, and protect your critical units. You can use Jetto to poison the Bandits, and your now leveled Archers to finish them off.

For the endgame, you can lure the enemy leader out with the bait of a non-ranged unit like Grüü. However, on Nightmare the leader is a human Assassin, so you'd better kill him in one turn, or else he will skirmish his way back to the 70% terrain protection of keep.

The next scenario, Silent Forest, is a nightmare on Nightmare difficulty, so every last gold coin of carryover will help.

The Silent Forest

  • Objective: Defeat the elves.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 28/26/24 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and the shamans.

You are going to need gold carryover to beat this scenario, at least on Nightmare, which has minimum starting gold of 100, so replay the previous scenario if necessary.

The main challenge here is the deadly enemy units that will pop out of the fog/forest to jeopardize your critical and loyal units. Time is also an enemy, especially on Nightmare.

Here are some strategy tips:

  • Recruit/recall Trolls and Whelps for self healing, Orcish Archers (maybe one of each level) for burning the Woses and level-healing, and Wolf Riders for healing at widely dispersed villages, slowing Woses (with Pillagers), and assassinating leaders with haste.
  • Although you can set up your line in the woods south of your keep, another option (or a retreat/fall-back option) is to set up camp in the open ground between your keep and the woods.
  • If only a single Elvish Archer or Scout threatens your rear, your Shamans can set up a screening line for safe passage of wounded to the village to the north.
  • Once the initial battle is won, if your force is still strong, split it in two, one half for each leader.
  • For the southwestern leader, stick to the north side of the road, to force the trickle of Elves into open ground and maintain forward progress.
  • Keep a close eye on the clock. For the endgame, you may need to rush troops forward, rather than engaging in combat. However, note that the Shyde leader will come out to heal her wounded troops.

Shan Taum the Smug

  • Objective:
    • Survive for 20 turns, or..
    • Defeat Shan Taum.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the shamans die.
  • Turns: 20.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and the shamans.

What makes this battle peculiar is that you will go against other orcs, supported by some ogres. The enemy starts with a good amount of gold, which would normally make for an intense fight with many casualties on your side, but there's a small river that divides the map right down the middle and can be used to your advantage thanks to the short-sightedness of the AI. As you probably have guessed by now, a good strategy is to place your units on the western bank of the river and let the enemy come to you and fight you from the water, which they will do without hesitance.

An army composed mostly of trolls will serve you well, because of their strong hits and their regeneration ability. Recruit/recall about two or three keeps of units (assuming your gold allows it), complementing the trolls with perhaps a few Orcish Warlords who can soak up some damage as well. Use Jetto (and perhaps one extra Assassin) to poison enemies with high HP, preferably during the day where they can't retaliate with full force. Don't forget to support your low level trolls with Kapou’e's leadership.

You can use your shamans to grab villages during the first turns, but be careful not to leave them in the zone of action of enemy wolves. Use your own wolves to protect them, and to grab villages to the north and south after your shamans have done their job.

Shan Taum will eventually run out of fuel, and it will be much easier to simply go and defeat him than to "survive" until the end of turns.

Saving Inarix

  • Objective: Destroy the southern part of the bridge.
  • Optional objective: Wait for Inarix's arrival and bring him and at least 4 other saurians to safety before blowing the bridge.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 16.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Plonk (a new loyal Slayer).

This scenario consists of a rescue mission. Inarix, a loyal Saurian Ambusher, is on his way and arrives on turn 4 with a group of Saurian Augurs and Skirmishers on the southwest corner. Your mission is to take him and most of his group to the north, and then blow up the bridge, escaping from the large group of elves, dwarves and bandits fighting you on the south bank of the river. The turn limit is a little tight, so trying to knock out any of the enemy leaders can be a little risky and unnecessary.

Start by recalling a group of veterans to blast through the first few elves and dwarves on the bridge, and focus on getting Kapou’e to the southern keep as quickly as possible. By then, Inarix has probably showed up, and the real battle begins.

At the southern keep, Kapou'e will resume his recruitment, mostly with spam. You are faced with dwarves to the west and elves to the east. One conservative strategy is to form a diagonal defense line from the central keep to the northeast (for the elves). Troll Whelps and Trolls work nicely for this purpose. Keep rotating your lines so the trolls can regenerate to limit your losses. Advance quickly through the elves to get closer to the Saurians. The elvish leader only recruits level-1 units, and they are not much of a threat outside forest tiles. The dwarven leader, however, recruits Bandits, who are very aggressive and dangerous at night. Therefore, on the western front, use the high defense of the castle tiles and villages to survive the Bandits, and don't expose key units to multiple Bandits at night. A few leader-supported Archers and Assassins can help deal with the Bandits, while Warlords and leader-supported Grunts/Warriors can dispatch the Thunderers.

Meanwhile, Inarix should be on his way to the action. Use the swamps if possible for the high defense or even try to lure your attackers into it. However, focus on moving the saurians northwards and do not waste time. Note that the enemy will target Inarix, so keep him relatively protected. On the easiest difficulty level, you can build a formation with the healers in the middle and try to run up the center. Try to give the final blows to the Augurs so they level up quickly into Soothsayers (finally, healers!) On the hardest difficulty level, there will be so many enemy units that the Augers likely will become ZOC-locked. In that case, treat the Augers as already dead, using them as bait for the enemy, and they can blast a single hole in the enemy line for your Skirmishers to slither through. Have Kapou'e recruit or recall Wolf Rider line units to screen the surviving Saurians once they are close to your main force.

By the end of turn 7, the elves and dwarves will be getting low on units, but then they will just dig into their gold reserves and start heavily recruiting again. If you are really quick and concentrate on diminishing the elven attackers in turns 1 to 6, you can overrun the elves and kill their leader. That will make the rest of the scenario much easier as you will only be attacked by the dwarves. However, if you do not manage to kill the elven leader, do not worry. Just run Inarix and his group up to the north.

As soon as the saurian group reaches your defense line, start moving all units up north back across the bridge. Use your Whelps and Grunts as a buffer to keep away the attackers as you do so.

Once all valuable units are past the center of the bridge, blow it up by moving a unit onto the little barrel in the water just east of it. You may sacrifice a Saurian Skirmisher for blowing up the bridge, but make sure you still have enough saurians left so you gain the ability to recruit them in the future.

It will make the next level a little easier if you can level at least one of the Augurs to a Soothsayer. On the other hand, if you find that you cannot save Inarix and four other saurians, then remember that it is optional. You can always replay and just try to blow the bridge as fast as possible.

Clash of Armies

  • Objective: Defend Prestim for 4 days (24 turns).
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or an enemy occupies a village on the north side when the turns run out.
  • Turns: 24.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto, Plonk, Inarix and a couple of veterans.

This large-scale battle has a very different flavor to previous scenarios. Here, you have to defend your side of the river. The terrain is favorable to your army, but you have to stay on your toes to deal with the different challenges presented.

First of all, there is the large group of elves, loyalists, dwarves and bandits that will come from the south, trying to knock you out of the bridge. Using strong units (Trolls, Slurbows and Warlords) supported by a Saurian Augur/Soothsayer and rotating the lines should be enough to hold them in this bottleneck, though with some losses. Other than that, you need to keep two groups on the sides of the river bank to handle the additional sources of trouble: a few Gryphons coming from the western keep (mostly during the first few turns and then on rare occasion afterwards), small groups of Mermen coming every other turn from alternate sides of the map during the first half of the battle, and Galleons crossing the river with groups of three enemies every now and then. A squad for one side could consist of a Saurian to fight from the sand, a Grunt to hold villages, an Assassin or Slayer to poison units, a Crossbowman to wound Mermen and especially Gryphons, and 2 Whelps or other units for baiting and bashing Mermen. Additional units will be necessary once the Galleons start unloading.

Kapou’e can stay in his keep, recruiting/recalling units during the battle as you see fit. You will be able to see Galleons and Gryphons from the distance, giving you some time to prepare, and the Mermen show up in a pattern that is easy to follow.

When Mermen are about to attack you, avoid occupying the castle tiles, which lets the Mermen fight from the water. Instead, lure them into the sand, where they are much more vulnerable. This will make the fighting go faster and avoids a situation where Mermen and other enemies pile up on you. When you see that the Galleons are about to disembark, then it is a good idea to occupy those castle tiles, forcing the enemy to drop their units on sand or water.

After turn 14/18/22 (easy/medium/hard), no more Mermen will appear, and the battle will be easier to handle, with only the occasional Gryphon and the Galleons to distract you. If you manage to destroy the Galleons (which have extra hitpoints for this scenario), you will make the second half of the battle even more comfortable for yourself.

It is not difficult to beat this scenario, due to its predictability. However, it is a challenge to beat it with lots of gold carryover, which you will need to beat the next scenario.

Giving Some Back

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if:
    • Kapou’e or Grüü die
    • Any of the allied Orcish leaders die
    • Time runs out
  • Turns: 18.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.
  • Other:
    • The Great Horde: Upkeep cost reduced by 1 for all non-loyal units

In this 32x32 level you're attacking the Human city of Dorest, from the North. You're flanked by two allied leaders - part of the Orcish horde. Dorest, for the purposes of this scenario, is an island within a moat, with its perimeter being castle tiles. Surrounding the island are a few more Village tiles. Dorest is defended by two leaders: A General, in the keep at the center of Dorest, and a Lieutenant in a keep just North of the city.

You're going to come under heavy attack very quickly, since the defenders have deep coffers, probably much more so than you, and have plenty of L2 units to recall (maybe even L3 on Hard); many of their recruits are horse-mounted; and the secondary enemy leader's keep is in mid-level: His top-tile recruit is 12 tiles away from your own keep. Thus, by turn 3 (turn 2 if you're not careful) you'll taste their cold steel - in the full light of day, when they're at maximum advantage.

These are not all the bad news. Dorest is apparently famous for its Fencers. Yes, you're likely to face quite a few of these swashbucklers, and it will be extra difficult: If you allow them to get near your troops, they'll always pick out the weakest; and if you intercept them before they're close, you'll be exposing yourself to many enemy units coming up from the South (and that is essentially suicide). Also, the defenders can field not only Loyalist troops, but Horsemen, Knights and Lancers. Yes, Lancers - the cruise missile of Human units: maximum movement range, 3 strikes, and a total attack damage of 96 in daytime.

Oh, and just so you known - the two Human leaders have high per-turn income as well, so they can and will continue recruiting.

Ok, that all sounds pretty grim. What have you got going for you?

Well, there are your allies; but they're not such a big find. You don't control them (although you kind of should, as leader of the horde, shouldn't you? Ah well, that's life); and they're kind of dumb and gung-ho. However, they will serve you rather well as Human (er, that is, Orc) shields during the first few turns. By turn 5 they're almost all gone, with the leaders retreating to their keeps and staying there. The defenders will not be smart enough to send out assassination parties after them.

Your salvation is found in the Orcish horde, or more specifically: You will incur no upkeep for your L1 units. As long as you recruit L1's (and no more than a few veterans) - you'll gain the maximum possible gold per turn despite scaling up your army. Do so, with all the gold you have - focusing on the cheaper damage-sink units, especially Grunts and perhaps some Troll Whelps. Their regeneration might help, but you can expect high unit churn so the Grunt's additional damage may be a better choice. On the other hand, Troll Whelps are sometimes fearless - good in daytime combat - and their low movement is not much of a problem in this near-static confrontation. For ranged damage, you could use Orcish Archers, or play it riskier and recall some of your Slayers.

If you recruit L2 or L3 units - make sure to end your turns with them staying behind the front lines of L1 units, to prevent opportunistic attacks by Horsemen, Knights, Lancers or Duelists. Other than Slayers, you might consider a Goblin pillager to slow down a horse-mounted unit, making it less deadly; or perhaps a Soothsayer if you've gone with Grunts. Remember the effective cap on recalling will be your ability to keep the high-level units alive, not so much the upkeep.

Some additional suggestions:

  • This is one of those level where Orcs have to make themselves scarce during the day or they just don't survive. Don't be tempted by a couple of easy kills.
  • Recruit a Wolf Rider (or recall a quick one), and send it South-West and then South near the level's edge, to occupy the villages just to the West of Dorest. It might attract the attention of a mounted unit at some point; try to avoid that happening befure you get to the villages. When/if it does happen - that's not so bad, you're drawing it away from where it can be of real use.
  • Watch out for the Shock Troopers; they can cause severe damage even to your trolls.

The Dwarvish Stand

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 28/24/22 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.

This scenario is not one of the most challenging of the campaign, but good strategy will be required to win on the harder difficulty levels.

Recruit Wolf Riders and other types with lots of mobility, because just mushing through the snow to get to the enemy units will take a while. Saurians are terrible at moving through snow and ice, but recalling a Soothsayer will be worthwhile. You know all those Troll Whelps you've been spamming? Now is the time to recall your half-levelled Whelps who are quick and preferably fearless, but steer them away from plain snow and ice as much as possible. Quick Assassins and Archers are also helpful.

Your allies will be only too happy to distract the enemy with a suicidal charge. This will give you time to move your main force into position in the forest south of the frozen river, lining up along the southern bank. Meanwhile, send a few token troops to protect your southeast ally leader, who unfortunately also has suicidal tendancies. Although most of the enemy will fight you from ice, a couple of dwarves are bound to slip into the mountains, where they are tough adversaries. Either wait for them to descend into the forested hills or else poison them. Once the enemy's assault wave has broken, venture across the frozen river and onwards to the enemy camps.

For Inarix (and your Soothsayer), select him and drag the cursor towards the enemy camp. You may be surprised at the optimal route shown.

You will appreciate gold carryover for the next scenario. On Nightmare, shoot for at least 40 gold carryover (40% of 100 gold.) So, an early finish will help.

You can finish faster if you sneak a Direwolf Rider around the southeast corner and up to the northeast leader. The Direwolf Rider can poison him, and maybe move on to poison the other leader as well.

Back Home

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 24.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Jetto, Inarix and one orcish veteran.

This scenario is only slightly difficult prior to 1.11, but more difficult afterwards, especially given the desire for gold carryover.

You finally catch up with the elves and humans you've been following, and it is decided that you will surround them from all four corners of the map. Your forces are divided and you start on your own, without your veteran trolls for the first few turns, and this initial period will probably be the most challenging of all.

You can either grab the two castle tiles near your keep or line up along the dirt road and your keep. Holding the castle tiles initially will probably require gambling with Jetto. Recalling Direwolf Riders and/or quick Warlords can also help with maintaining initial control of those hexes. If instead you choose to concede that terrain, then this has the advantage of delaying first contact with the enemy until a more orc-friendly time of day. Then you can take those castle tiles when you start advancing.

Loyalists can dish out an intense amount of damage by day, so you will need a couple of Soothsayers.

Your orc allies will get in position (on the SE and NE corners) on turns 4 and 5, while Grüü shows up with your veteran trolls on turn 7 on the NW, ready to take control of the rest of the map. Play patiently and be careful not to leave your key units too exposed on the snow/ice.

Keep in mind that your orcish allies must stay alive, which can be tricky since they tend to be very aggressive by default. Perhaps the best setting for your allies (right click) is to be "defensive" with no objective. This will help curb the aggressiveness of the leaders. There is a good chance that your southeast ally leader will die if neglected, so plan on sending him a unit or two.

Pay attention to gold, and try to finish early, as you'll need extra gold for the next scenario. On Nightmare difficulty, shoot for at least 60 carryover gold (150 final gold.)

Civil War

  • Objectives:
    • Defeat all rebel leaders.
    • Move Kapou’e to the signpost at the west.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 30.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.

This is regarded as one of the hardest scenarios in the campaign, but don't despair, the end is near. This battle requires patience and a lot of attention to recruitment, strategy and tactics. Any distraction can be costly.

It is good to start this scenario with as much gold as possible. There are four enemy leaders, each perhaps with less gold than you, but together with much more; and they will recruit many L2 units, not a stream of sacrificial Grunts and Archers. And these four streams are sent immediately in Kapou'e's direction - so wherever you go with him, they will all follow. Finally, your keep is connected to theirs mostly by dirt roads surrounded by Frozen flatland - so there's no obvious terrain-advantageous defensive formation you could maintain near your initial keep against.

Your basic strategy should likely be recruiting a sizable army, then proceeding West towards the signpost, managing the damage and casulaties as you are assailed from two or three sides. If, however, you have enough gold, you could split your force, with the main army moving West and a smaller force going South over the mountains: These will engage a few of the South-Eastern leader's troops, so that there are few attacks from that direction, and you don't have to maintain a defensive line, just pick off a unit here and there. It may also have the time to terminate the leader himself, and perhaps the center-South leader as well, afterwards - to speed up finishing the level.

Without enough starting gold, this level will be an intense test of your abilities - but you should be ready for it by now after all the battles you've gone through.

Troll Whelps are the best L1 unit here, for their resistances and regeneration: While you probably have a couple of healers, ferrying units over the snow to be healed and back will be somewhat ineffective. Other than healing, the Whelps don't have anywhere to rush to, so their usual movement handicap is not that critical here.

You will rely heavily on recalled units. L3 Troll Warriors will do well; and for lack of these - Orcish Warlords. Wolf units (Direwolf Riders, Pillagers, Goblin Knights) are very useful for their mobility on the ice: They're only half as fast as usual, but so are all of your enemies. They are most useful for the Southern expeditionary force, but Pillagers may help in initial softening of units your main force is facing in unfavorable terrain. Finally, Slayers are surprisingly versatile in this scenario: They can poison enemy leaders and high-HP units (which need to retreat far in order to heal, and may not do so); they balance the Melee-heavy slant of your army; and best of all - despite their low-HP, they have *twice* the defense of other Orc units on the ice, so they aren't as flimsy as usual in relative terms. If you can recall a decent-sized bunch of them, that will allow them to rotate back and heal next to a Soothsayer (and still leave you one or two for the Southbound force). Speaking of your Saurian healers - at least one will be necessary, probably two.

Watch the clock, as you may need to send Kapou’e running for the signpost. The turn limit is not very strict, but an Orcs+Troll entourage is slow and the level is not small.

Be careful with Inarix, as just a couple of Orc Warriors can take him out.

The enemy leaders will quickly run out of money: There are just 20 villages, distributed evenly, for 5 leaders. They'll go deeply in the red and probably never recruit after the initial spate. You only need to worry about them coming out (which they'll be wary of doing), and planning ahead to pick them all off as Kapou'e is moving West.

The Coward

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü dies or time runs out.
  • Turns: 22.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix (or additional veterans if you have lost Jetto or Inarix).

Wesnoth version 1.10 or earlier, this is an easy scenario. 1.11 or later, this is difficult, but not the toughest scenario of the campaign.

You are likely low on gold, with not much more than the minimum of 200. The enemy has between 900 and 1100 gold. So, you cannot prevail without some sort of advantage. That advantage will be terrain. Fight from your starting stronghold and some of the better terrain to the northwest.

Warlords will be especially effective in your stronghold. Trolls can help elsewhere. A couple of Soothsayers will be necessary, unless you recall mostly Trolls. A Wolf Rider or two can grab villages, as can Inarix if you send him south.

At least on nightmare difficulty, you will probably need 50-100 extra gold for the next scenario, so do your best to get gold here.

Note: if you start the scenario without a keep, then you're in an older version of this scenario. Secure a keep and start recruiting Whelps and Assassins.

The Human Attack

  • Objective: Hold off the humans for 25 turns.
  • Bonus objective: Defeat Earl Lanbec’h.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die.
  • Turns: 25.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.

This scenario used to be easy, but starting Wesnoth version 1.11 it's one of the hardest of the campaign, especially if you play without save-reloads.

You get your allies back, but due to the suicidal tendencies of your allied leaders, they are more of a burden than an asset. Use your units to cover all the hexes where the allied leaders could attack the enemy, and this will prevent them from running out to open ground where they risk getting skewered by a Lancer. If you bring Kapou'e near an allied keep, the allied leader will back up a few hexes, putting him in less danger and allowing you to recruit there.

The human army seems impressive, and they are very powerful during the day. Moreover, they get reinforcements on turns 6, 10, and 14. However, applying your knowledge of strategy and tactics here will let you beat the overwhelming odds.

You have two main options. Your first option is to punch down the middle, lure Earl Lanbec'h out of his keep, and kill him. The early finish bonus is massive and will help beat the final scenario. Your alternative option is to be defensive and try to last to the end of turns. Even then, you might wish to be aggressive initially while time of day is in your favor, and run like hell at daylight. You should send some fast units to liberate villages from your allies and then grab villages in the south. You will need gold for the final scenario, so stop recruiting several turns before the end. On nightmare difficulty, shoot for 100 carryover gold.

Note: If your turn limit is 30, then you are playing an older version of the scenario. Most of the advice here still applies.

Northern Alliance

  • Objective: Kill Shan Taum and Earl Lanbec’h.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or Howgarth III die.
  • Turns: Unlimited.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto, Inarix and one veteran.

This used to be one of the easiest scenarios of any mainline campaign, but, starting Wesnoth version 1.11, it has become quite difficult, unless perhaps you start heavily loaded with gold.

You receive an extra ally, so in the end you are a team of four leaders against two. The starting set up involves a small ambush. Kapou'e has no time for this and needs to head to where he can start recruiting. Let your other units and your ally's units deal with the group of orcs.

Note that you finally don't need to protect your orcish allies (though you will lose if your human ally, Howgarth, dies.)

Shan Taum is far weaker than Lanbec'h. The benefit of taking him out quickly is that your ally will then concentrate his forces on Lanbec'h; if both enemies are present, Howgarth's forces oscillate a little in between the two.

You should start this level with a lot of gold. Keep spending it. The Great Horde low upkeep will help you make the most of it. When in doubt, "Grunt". Using Orcish Assassins early on will level the playing field with poisoning.

Hold the line against the enemy until you reach a certain (im)balance and then start advancing. Lanbec'h gets reinforcements in the afternoon but they are not as formidable as in the previous scenario. All you have to do is kill Lanbec'h, not all the enemy units. So, if you get a chance, pick him off.

The scenario is designed for Kapou'e to use the empty fortress, but if you lose with that approach, try sending Kapou'e southeast to your human ally's keep. Howgarth will be happy to share his keep and won't mind if you steal his villages. The mountainous terrain around that keep is even better than a moated castle, considering all the Lancers, Knights, and Horsemen you are facing.

This page was last edited on 8 April 2020, at 23:17.