Let’s Play Dead Water!

Share and discuss strategies for playing the game, and get help and tips from other players.

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Inky
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Re: Let’s Play Dead Water!

Post by Inky »

[b][u]Scenario 10 – The Flaming Sword[/u][/b]
Against our better judgment, we follow the crazed mage Caladon to a lich’s lair to retrieve the flaming sword…

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Leucosine, I hope you’re whispering really softly, because Caladon is right behind you!

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Never mind, I think we’re safe. Caladon's too busy screaming like a maniac.

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This is one of the more difficult scenarios.

It’s almost guaranteed to end in disaster on a first playthrough because you have to be a lot more passive than you think on the first night due to certain undead recruits.
But if you know what’s coming and stay far enough back during the first night, this scenario becomes as easy as any other.

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We’ve got 120 + 30 carryover gold.

Mal-Govon’s 800 starting gold and +47 income look pretty intimidating, but you’ll be surprised at how fast his army will disappear if we hide during the first night and attack all out during the second day.

The third team just refers to one friendly outlaw unit in the middle of the map whom we’ll meet later, and as if we didn’t get an obvious enough hint earlier that Caladon’s going to turn on us, we see he’s got his very own side.

Turn 1, Dawn

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This is a huge map with a ton of villages; we start in the southwest corner and Mal-Govon's in the northeast.
The main battle will take place in the center, where there's a tiny one hex keep to recruit in.

We recruit two citizens for grabbing villages in the east and recall some good anti-undead veterans, and start moving immediately with Krellis toward the central keep.

Turn 2, Morning

When we approach the keep in the center of the map, we meet a friendly outlaw:
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Please don’t lump us in with the likes of Caladon. He’s just following us around.

We also meet our old friend Siddry (the poacher from Scenario 4 Slavers), who is just as useless as before.
He brings some fodder friends with him, who will help us nab villages. They won’t come with us after this scenario though, so you know what that means for how we’re going to be using them. (We also get the ability to recruit outlaws, but it’s pointless since they won’t come with us later.)

Turn 3, Afternoon

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The rest of our army catches up, Krellis recalls a diviner from the center keep, and Siddry and his friends continue to village grab.

Turn 4, Dusk

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We destroy a bat near the villages and continue to recall anti-undead reinforcements.

The rest of our units stay put. We don’t see any undead around so we should be safe for now! …right?

Turn 5, First watch

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AGH what is that thing?!

Chocobones, in addition to looking downright creepy, have a massive 9 movement points and a charging attack that can pretty much kill any unit.
Our thug on the village got demolished so quickly you wonder why Siddry even bothered to bring him along.

We suspect that the undead placed those 3 central villages there as a trap to lure unwary Chocobone victims.

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Well, we’re not going to fall for their trap. We run for our lives from those central villages and form a tight line in the swamp backed by diviners.

Every one of our units that can be charged by chocobones does impact melee damage, so if they charge us they’ll take massive retaliation.

Turn 6, Second watch

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In the northwest our footpad is being harassed by a couple of weak undead.
Too bad everyone’s too far away to help…at least, that’s what the undead think!

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Silver mages are one of the most fun units to use in Wesnoth. Caladon teleports across the map…

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And bam! No more bat.

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In the center, the chocobones have killed our outlaw ally and we’re going to be next.

We put all our expendable units in the front swamp and the important ones in the back. (This is definitely not an army where everyone gets treated equally.)

Turn 7, Dawn

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Siddry and his thug friend died alarmingly quickly, but the good news is one of the chocobones decided to charge our brawler and nearly got whacked to death on the counterattack.

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We clean out the two chocobones with the experienced hunter leveling to netcaster in the process, and also get rid of the two wraiths and the dread bat.

Turn 8, Morning

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It seems like a lot of undead, but the situation couldn't be better. It's day, we've got powerful veterans, and the undead have conveniently lined up at the edge of our swamp.

It’s pretty straightforward to kill the 7 nearby units (the 5 in the north, plus the ghost and spectre in the south) which we can reach from the water hexes, and slow the chocobone in the water.
All of our units here except the netcaster are already maximum level so there’s no need to manage experience.

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We’ve done some nice work cleaning up!
I made the mistake of moving a brawler onto flatland to finish a ghost which just refused to die; I should have just left the ghost alone as it is not a dangerous unit.

Turn 9, Afternoon

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First we have some more fun with Caladon. Last turn two ghosts and a shadow killed the citizen on this village in the southeast corner, but the village is still ours so bad news for the undead!
We can’t see through the fog, but we can still teleport there.

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Surprise! This has to be one of the most satisfying things to do in Wesnoth.

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Meanwhile in the center, the brawler’s predictably died, but everyone else is doing pretty well.
Another pretty straightforward cleanup operation.

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As usual, we first attack everything we can using the swamp hexes. Cylanna finishes the bone shooter, and the brawler next to Krellis softens the banebow for the netcaster.

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We’re up to 727 gold in kills now- that’s most of the undead army!

Turn 10, Dusk

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The main battle is over now and the easy cleanup begins; our siren on the far right destroyed a deathblade, and we set up a kill to level our netcaster.

The rest of our units clear the dying chocobone and begin retaking the villages. There’s a shadow lurking in the north, but with no friends around to help it backstab it can’t harm us.

Turn 11, First watch

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The siren destroys the shadow, and we continue to advance northeast.

Turn 12, Second watch

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Nothing complicated here – we easily get rid of the 4 nearby units (Cylanna kills the necrophage, the siren and Krellis kill the bats and the other diviner kills the wraith) and then slow the chocobone.

Maybe the undead would have better luck if they didn’t only send out a couple units at a time?

Turn 13, Dawn

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The chocobone runs off to heal, but he didn’t run far enough because our siren can still reach him.

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We push forward and finally catch a glimpse of Mal-Govon, who has the magical flaming sword!

We forgot to move our poisoned 35 HP entangler out of the spectre’s range, but he’s on 60% and the spectre would have to hit 4 out of 4. Surely he’ll live?

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Nope, it’s just not his lucky day.
That had a 2.5% chance of happening, though we can’t fault the RNG as we easily could have moved him out of the way last turn.

We’ll miss poor Oceanus, as he has been with us ever since the very first scenario and now he’ll never get to see us retake our home.

Turn 14, Morning

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Our diviner gets revenge for Oceanus and we move ever closer to the lich’s keep.

Turn 15, Afternoon

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Time to begin the attack! We start whittling down Mal Govon’s health.

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Down to 18 HP! We’re almost there.

Turn 16, Dusk

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Zzzzap! Finally, we've got the sword! Now let’s go and-

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I KNEW IT

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Caladon gives us a turn to leave before attacking but we’re impatient so we’re going to attack now. Give us that sword back!

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Caladon summons a bunch of fire elementals around him if we attack him, so we filled the hexes around him before attacking.
Our southwest siren takes full retaliation (9-4) from Caladon – why is everyone getting full hits on us today?

What I completely forgot is that we also need to pick up the sword after killing Caladon, and didn’t leave a unit to do so.
Unfortunately, this means we'll lose the wounded siren to the banebow next turn.

Turn 17, First watch

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On the bright side, Cylanna gets the flaming sword and becomes our deadliest anti-undead unit!

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We did a good job village grabbing and finishing early, so we get a very high carryover.

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We got some slightly extra damage taken, losing two level 3 veterans due to unusually bad luck and bad play.

RIP: level 3 Siren, level 3 entangler, brawler, citizen, all 4 of our fodder outlaw friends

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The rest of our recall list is 3 entanglers, a diviner, and the triton with the holy water, so we've still got a healthy number of veterans despite the fact that they keep dying on us.

Scenario 11 (Cutscene): Getting help

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Yes! A loyal diviner and priestess recruits! Almost made this whole trip worth it. Almost.

We get an extra 100 gold too, so we’ll start the final scenario with +336 carryover (a lot!).
Next time: we return to where it all began! Will we finally be able to reclaim our home?
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Inky
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Re: Let’s Play Dead Water!

Post by Inky »

This is it – the final battle!
[u]Scenario 12 – Revenge[/u]
We make our triumphant return to Jotha!
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Seems there are still a few loyal mermen living here. They would have been a huge help if they had come with us at the beginning instead of just hiding out in Jotha the whole time, but better late than never I guess.

It seems the undead have been too busy with their interior decorating project to pay much attention to us.

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Short, simple and sweet.
No turn limit, no gold worries, and everyone’s expendable – it’s just a straightforward all out battle.

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Despite our massive 336 gold carryover, we’re still very outmatched in terms of gold. Even so, this scenario isn’t that hard.

In fact, once you know the trick to it it’s one of the easiest scenarios in the entire campaign:
  1. As hinted by the dialogue at the beginning, the undead haven’t noticed us yet and won’t start recruiting until turn 2;
  2. The central leader only recruits weak units like bats and swimming corpses;
  3. The central leader loves blasting units like brawlers which can’t fight back in ranged, and will even leave his keep to do so.
If you put it all together, it all adds up to launching a massive brutal rush on the central leader.

Turn 1, Second watch

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We recall our strongest veterans immediately: they’ll be able to reach the central keep around turn 5 (Dusk).

Our income will get very negative very quickly, but we have more than enough starting gold and don’t need to worry about carryover, so it doesn’t matter.

Turn 2, Dawn

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We recall all the rest of our veterans and start recruiting initiates.

Turn 3, Morning

The undead finally noticed us last turn and started to recruit. The enemy setup is basically the same as in Scenario 2 Flight, except they have more gold and recruit higher level units.

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We have our old friend Mal-Kevek in the southeast with poisoning and flying units.

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The death knight’s in the northeast with skeleton types.

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And Mal-Verloth in the center basically just recruits cheap spam.

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We start spamming priestesses and initiates – in my opinion they’re the only two units worth recruiting here.

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Everyone else races northeast as fast as their fins will carry them.

Turn 4, Afternoon

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We spend all our remaining gold on more priestesses and continue to move northeast.

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Everyone has gone as far northeast as they can go – we’re ready to attack the central keep next turn.

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Here’s our unit list – a perceptive reader will be able to infer my personal views on the relative usefulness of various unit types in this campaign. :)

Turn 5, Dusk

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We do need to keep in mind that Mal-Kevek’s been recruiting tons of shadows and nightgaunts, so we’ll need to be careful with our southeast flank during the night.

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In the center, Mal-Verloth, perhaps fearing that we would have a hard time attacking him in his castle, decides to make our life much easier by coming straight to us.

In fact, he is so eager to blast Teeloa that he doesn’t even recruit. These 12 units scattered around the screen are all the units he has left.
(He has 4 guards in the northwest, but they are lazy – or perhaps wise - and will just stay there the whole battle.)

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And in the blink of an eye, Cylanna uses her newly acquired flaming sword to do the world a huge favor by getting rid of Mal-Verloth, who still had over 500 gold left to spend.
Our reinforcements from the southwest then come in and start getting rid of Mal-Verloth’s remaining units.

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It’s anticlimactic, but at this point, we’ve basically already won.

We have an absolutely massive army of anti-undead units and another squad of priestesses offscreen in the southwest.
Night’s coming but it doesn’t even matter – we’ll just roll over them with our numbers.

Turn 6, First watch

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A couple overeager undead units wander into our deathtrap…

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…and we just swim right through them.

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Meanwhile in the south, our last batch of priestesses is acting as a distraction to split up the southeast undead forces and prevent them from grabbing all of our southwest villages.
We don’t need the villages, but we’re not going to let Mal Kevek have them either.

Turn 7, Second watch

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The distraction was a success, though the priestess who was killed last turn may perhaps see it differently.

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We even manage to make a couple kills.

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In the center, the undead continue to slowly trickle in…

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…and we quickly take them out.

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Even the RNG is trying to help the poor undead, but they’re so outnumbered that it doesn’t even make a difference.

Turn 8, Dawn

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Our southern distraction squad loses another member, but has had great success luring out most of the southeast lich’s force, meaning our main force in the center has a pretty clear path southeast.

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They’re actually doing a pretty good job making kills too.

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In the center, the main undead army shows up… just as day is breaking.

They really need to work on their sense of timing.

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In the east, we clean out the nearby undead…

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…and advance as far as we can go. If the death knight’s brain hadn’t rotted long ago he’d have the intelligence to run as far as he could in the opposite direction.

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Thanks to our squad of fodder priestesses in the southwest, our southeastern squad didn’t face much opposition at all.

We’ve pretty much demolished most of the undead by now, and the coming day is going to be even more of a one-sided slaughter. There’s a reason this scenario is called Revenge.

Turn 9, Morning

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One sided doesn’t begin to describe this; we blast our way through the death knight’s army while he stands in his keep, frozen in bewilderment and horror.

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We send a small squad to deal with the death knight and rest of the units go to help out in the south.

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Not that the south needs much help. There are hardly any undead left here either.

Turn 10, Afternoon

At the beginning of the afternoon a bunch of necromancers and dark sorcerers will show up on the northern beach.
They can be a pain to deal with, but we have a completely foolproof strategy against them:

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…we just ignore them.

At this point they’re too far away to ever reach us, though it’s amusing to watch them try.

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In the northeast, the death knight couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and rushed out to a quick death. Only Mal Kevek’s left now.

Meanwhile our southeast squad clears out a couple spectres and wraiths and heads straight for Mal-Kevek.

Turn 11, Dusk

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Mal-Kevek sits almost alone in his keep while a huge squad of angry mermen marches on him.

This should be eerily familiar to him, as this is exactly how the very first scenario ended.

Turn 12, First watch

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We whittle him down and even occupy his keep so he can’t recruit anymore. He’s completely on his own now.

Turn 13, Second watch

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We set up a kill for our favorite pet kraken, slowing and illuminating Mal-Kevek first to reduce his drain attack, giving Inky a 99% CTK.

Poor Mal-Kevek, this is just about as unfair as ulfserker vs. dark adept.

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Wham! In a flurry of giant tentacles, Inky whacks Mal-Kevek right out of Jotha and reclaims our home, a truly fitting end to this excellent campaign.

Growloff would be so proud of him.

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Scenario stats – the luck evened out at the end.

Losses: 3 priestesses and a hunter (all members of the southwest distraction force.)
[u]Campaign Stats and Epilogue[/u]
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Here are our stats for the entire campaign - we generally got even luck.
The entire campaign was played straight through without reloading turn saves or restarting scenarios. Of course, it helped just a little that this was my third time playing it. :)

Campaign recruits:
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Campaign losses (40):
5 Level 3: Keshan (Scenario 9), triton (S 6), two entanglers (S 4, S 10), siren (S 10)
7 Level 2: the loyal dread bat (S 6), enchantress (S 9), 4 priestesses (S 4, three in S 12), netcaster (S 2)
13 Level 1: 1 hunter, 4 fighters, 2 brawlers, 2 initiates, 4 outlaws
15 Level 0: 15 citizens (these guys just weren’t meant to live long…)

Epilogue

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This references Gweddry’s adventures in the other anti undead campaign, Eastern Invasion.
Not everything was as before, of course. Many good merfolk had been lost in the first attacks and on the journey. The visiting priestesses did much to console the families of the dead, and as it always does, life continued. In a few months, the giggles of children could be heard echoing through shallows. Many of those children were named after Kai Krellis, Gwabbo, Cylanna, and the other heroes.
I hope they’re naming their children after Inky too, as he’s the one who really saved Jotha!
Cylanna never traveled far again, but stayed in Jotha as a respected elder. She remained a royal advisor, but her main work was healing the sick, and presiding at naming ceremonies and weddings. All this agreed with her disposition much better than battling undead.
I could not disagree more – I think battling undead suits Cylanna very much.
Gwabbo lived to a ripe old age in Jotha. Tales of his heroics were told to merfolk children for generations thereafter. He became an almost legendary figure.
Gwabbo fervently hopes that the tales omit the incident at the very beginning of the campaign when he got beaten almost to death by a level 1 skeleton.
Gwabbo and Cylanna were often together, and when Kai Krellis found a wife (which is a tale for another time!) they presided at his wedding.
We also learn that Tyegea and Teeloa both return to their homes. (And if we hadn’t gotten Keshan killed, he would have gone to rule the drakes at Bilheld.)
Krellis himself married within a few years, and fathered strong sons and beautiful daughters. When the orcs who had learned to fear his father tested Jotha again, they learned to fear Kai Krellis even more.
Remember when we had to babysit him at the beginning? We’re so proud of how far Krellis has come.
Inky lived with Krellis at court and frolicked in the kelp beds of Jotha until he became fat and lazy in his old age.
Uh… we’re proud of you too, Inky. Always knew you’d go on to do great things.

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The End

Thanks to everyone who has been following along (and putting up with those annoying ads on the image hosting site)!

Also a special thanks to Wesnoth developers for an amazing and deep strategy game, and Beetlenaut for creating this fun and tactical campaign.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the heroic 15 merman citizens for their valiant sacrifices, without which this playthrough would not have been possible.
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Chief_Chasso
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Re: Let’s Play Dead Water!

Post by Chief_Chasso »

Hey Inky,
This play through guide is awesome. Thanks so much for posting it. I especially enjoyed the replay of Scenario 6 Uncharted Islands. This scenario always gave me trouble. The next time I get around to playing Dead Water, I'll be sure to reference this guide. Really nice job! :)
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The_Gnat
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Re: Let’s Play Dead Water!

Post by The_Gnat »

I just found this thread, and though its old now it is no less valuable and i would like to say thank you for creating this walk through! :D
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CannonFodder
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Re: Let’s Play Dead Water!

Post by CannonFodder »

Wow! This is one great playthrough, it was fun to read it, interesting to see how you play it in a rather professional manner (of course after completing the scenario myself a while ago, so I had some base for comparison and remembered the story). I like the tactic, how you could improvize on whatever situation you ended up in steadily marching towards eventual victory. Fun, I would say if you have time, probably do some more, but I see that's already done :)
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