Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

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Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby Marcgal » January 20th, 2017, 8:54 am

I’m playing now The South Guard, on Soldier (Normal), (which is the hardest diff level there), forcing myself to strictly avoid any mid-scenario saveloading.

I chose the bandit path this time, and I successfully passed all scenarios until Pebbles… Successfully means here while collecting all bonuses, hoarding gold, leveling units and avoiding loosing any loyal, leveled or close-to-level units.

So I’d like to do the same with Pebbles – inspecting scenario code revealed that bonuses for the campaign finale start repeating only after turn 23, so if I want to collect all unique bonuses (and I want to) I have to survive till turn 23…

The problem is that while previous scenarios were easier or harder, this one for me borders impossibility… On Trivial, I can close myself to turn 23. On Normal, I frequently die around turn 10. Not sure how can I survive longer.

I tried: • stopping the undead army with thugs and footpads on the hills – but while this works on Trivial, on Normal the disproportion of strengths is so vast that my “army” gets annihilated almost instantly; • trying to force the AI to make erroneous moves by sending it suicide cavalrymen and footpads, hoping that I can play cats-and-mice with it until turn ~20, then surviving till turn 23 thanks to Gerrick’s tankiness and with the help of conceals Afalas blocking the path to Gerrick – but the AI has so many troops that even when I manage to detour some with these suiciders it still has plenty to rush for Gerrick.

All I devised until now is that given a good portion of luck, I can assassinate the leftmost lich at turn 2: I send the horseman at (14,17) and the heavy at (15,16), sending the lieutenant as close as possible. Turn 2 the lich leaves his castle and attacks the horse, but then I can retaliate with day-and-leadership-boosted heavy, further weaken the lich with the lieutenant and finally, kill him off with day-and-leadership-and-charge-boosted horseman. The horseman will then be only one kill away from evolving. But, this requires a good portion of luck, and actually is far too little to turn the tides… *sigh*

Any way how could I survive till turn 23?
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby UnwiseOwl » January 20th, 2017, 2:51 pm

I've certainly never managed it. As far as I know, even most very good players don't manage to survive past about turn 12-13 with conventional strategies.

I believe it used to be possible to retreat Gerrick to the corner of the map and have him live indefinitely if he was 1XP from levelling up, but I suspect that with the new AI rules that this cheesy tactic is no longer viable, or if it is then the AI should be tweaked so that it's not doable, as finding a gimmicky way to get through is counter to the whole point of the level.

Moral of the story, you'll probably have to make do with a slightly fewer bonuses. Maybe that's the lesson this level is here to teach you, sometimes, no matter how you try, you can't achieve a perfect game of Wesnoth.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby Marcgal » January 22nd, 2017, 8:33 am

WOW! Playing with debug mode showed that this gimmick seems to work! Thanks for the tip. Now all I have to do is to replay a good amount of past scenarios to ensure Gerrick has this 1XP from leveling up… Which kinda sucks.

the AI should be tweaked so that it's not doable, as finding a gimmicky way to get through is counter to the whole point of the level.


I agree, but only as long as the whole scenario is tweaked so that it is possible to survive till turn 23 24. It’s pointless to have unachievable bonuses.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby zookeeper » January 22nd, 2017, 9:58 am

For what it's worth, I made the list of bonuses that long because it's also annoying when they end too soon. I wanted to ensure that no matter how well you do, it always pays off to hold out for just one turn more. Of course that then means that the final unique bonuses can be practically unattainable, at least on the harder difficulty levels.

Now, I don't mind making the scenario easier on the harder difficulties to make it more realistic to survive longer (without the XP gimmick, that is, since that won't work in 1.13 anymore) if you come near-perfectly prepared, but I'm not exactly sure what's the best possible recall list one might enter that scenario with. Although I suppose that the 250/200/150 starting gold is the bigger limiting factor. I guess I'll have to playtest it a bit to remind myself of how hard it is currently.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby Marcgal » January 22nd, 2017, 1:44 pm

zookeeper wrote:if you come near-perfectly prepared, but I'm not exactly sure what's the best possible recall list one might enter that scenario with.


Err… The fact is, in this scenario you aren’t allow to recall anything… Not even bandits.

EDIT: With the exception of Gerrick and Afalas ofc, which are auto-recalled at the beginning of the scenario.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby zookeeper » January 22nd, 2017, 1:56 pm

Marcgal wrote:Err… The fact is, in this scenario you aren’t allow to recall anything… Not even bandits.

EDIT: With the exception of Gerrick and Afalas ofc, which are auto-recalled at the beginning of the scenario.

Oh, right, I misremembered and didn't notice that in the code. Well, at least that makes (re)balancing a bit simpler then. :whistle: Feel free to make specific suggestions.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby Marcgal » January 23rd, 2017, 9:21 am

Hmm… What about lowering Mal M’brin’s initial gold, but setting his base income so that he can send a steady wave of lv2 units, that is still manageable at the beginning?

Perhaps even better: Set Mal M’brin’s initla gold and base income low at the beginning of the scenario, but increase his base income by a set interval each turn - so that the scenario is manageable at the beginning and it is realistic to survive a bit, but sooner or later the player will fail.

When I have a little time I’ll prob try to playtest this a bit and see what exact values would fit for me.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby Marcgal » February 5th, 2017, 11:59 am

Hi. Been thinking about this scenario, and came up with some ideas to improve it.

Here is the suggested scenario .cfg: https://paste.ee/p/D1C0H (diff: https://www.diffchecker.com/ZkexhBNg ) And also there were some additions to sg_utils.cfg: https://paste.ee/p/h4BbA (diff: https://www.diffchecker.com/AnVVTVnZ )

I’ve been trying to give rationale for every change in the comments, that’s why I was commenting out any removals rather than cutting them.

Note this is by far not the final version, and is still largely unbalanced. I’m allowing myself to post it nevertheless for two reasons: 1) Rather than simply adjusting variables, I’ve made some more fundamental changes to the scenario’s gameplay, so I’d like to hear Your opinions if these ideas of mine make much sense before I invest much time in trying to polish this, and 2) While I’ll try my best to balance it well tomorrow or so, I’m not a very good Wesnoth player, so if I want to achieve my goal that a good player can realistically survive till the bloody turn 24 but only with a little luck I’ll need help of more experienced players anyway.

The general idea is: Both enemies will have their income increased every turn, so that while the scenario should start manageably and offer some actual fight at the beginning rather than an immediate slaughter, sooner or later the player will get overwhelmed. The enemies’ income increasement rate will be fairly constant among difficulties, because else it would be trivial to survive much longer on Easy, however Easy will still give the player much more gold for a greater error tolerance. The goal is to make all difficulty levels realistically allow survival till around same time, however with a lesser or greater ease.

Please comment?

EDIT: Ah, I forgot, what I posted above works for 1.12.6, I dunno if there are any changes that would need to be done for 1.13.

EDIT2: As per the barriers… Arguably they are not necessary, but (IMHO) they are a nice addition for the storyline (they are talked about, but never seen) and they can open up certain additions for the next scenario, like this one: The Council of Westin can take them down, but only after 10 turns, so if anyone of them dies before that time, the player looses.
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby Marcgal » February 15th, 2017, 1:25 pm

EDIT: Modified the proposed scenario. Fixed overlays, made all mages named and loyal and changed the task needed to take the barrier down.

All right. It took me a while due to lack of time, sorry for that. Anyway, here it is: The proposed, a little expanded version of Tides of War, making use of this barrier thingy. I also think I’ve cleaned the code up a little bit.

Proposed scenario .cfg: https://paste.ee/p/k6Kke (diff: https://www.diffchecker.com/zATHbzFU )
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Re: Any tips for Pebbles in the Flood? (The South Guard)

Postby CalculusKing » April 19th, 2017, 8:31 am

Just putting this here so that people having difficulty with this scenario on normal know it exists:
You can cheese this mission by retreating to the mountains in the northwest corner; just recruit all the footpads you can and place your whole army in that corner. Sir Gerrick should go in the northwest-most square. There he can be attacked by at most two enemy units and your other troops can buy him at least a dozen turns before the enemy reaches him at the very worst. Avoid attacking enemies capable of retaliation unless it is to level a unit or kill a chocobone (those are the worst threat). I can easily make it past turn 16 on hard and have made it past 20 in the past. With very good luck (or very shameless reloading), collecting all the bonuses is possible on normal (at turn 26).
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