Play-through (Turns 1 - ??)
The spot Boris chose for his new nation
Turn 1: As the band of refugees neared the spot Boris had located, a pack of wolves attacked them. Boris was the only one in a state to fight and even he was surprised. He did not have a chance to bring any of his enchantments up. The wolves surrounded him, and managed to inflict quite a few grievous wounds. All of a sudden, as his Krax blood flowed over his clothes, he felt himself becoming nearly impervious to the wolves teeth, and managed to dispatch them with his rusty short sword.
Unfortunately, the fight left Boris in no better shape than the rest of his companions. After skinning the wolves the group barely made it to the spot Boris had chosen for the new conclave. The refugees erected a makeshift fence around their camp as well as their wounds allowed them, and collapsed where they stood. Boris was the only one who knew that the Magelords could not afford to rest. He managed to trade the wolf skins for a few extra Gildars, and headed towards a tent he had spotted about a mile from the camp.
As he approached the tent, he was hailed by an Ironeer woman. She introduced herself as Hannis, and appeared interested in aligning herself with the Magelords cause. She was not willing to do so for less than 131 Gildars, but Boris did not feel he had much of a choice, beat up as he was.
The deal left him wondering how he would pay her salary, but Hannis soon proved that she was worth every Gildar. She left the tired Boris behind, and headed towards the nearby remains of a long abandoned caravan. It must have been quite the caravan, in its day. The remains were strewn over three square miles. Hannis had time to check only two of the most promising locations. She found a fending blade, and a dragon cloak.
Meanwhile, Boris was busy organizing the refugees' camp into a functioning community. The first thing he did was to give the camp the lofty name of "New Conclave" and abolish all taxes. None of the other mages were in a state to go out and adventure, but they were all perfectly happy to focus their efforts into researching some practical applications of magic. Boris used the "Inspiration" enchantment to speed up their efforts, but he was still told that it would take more than two years to learn how to harvest elemental shards.
He got pretty much the same estimate from the people whom he had tasked to build a workshop. He considered making enchanted hammers for them, but decided that his mana would be better used for a "Regeneration" spell to speed up his recovery.
The Magelords' corner of the world
Once he assigned a task to everyone in New Conclave, Boris set out to catch up with Hannis. On his way, he searched the last area with caravan debris, but he only came up with some salted pork.
This was enough to convince him that he should leave looting to Hannis, and concentrate on the more violent aspects of exploration. Once he caught up with Hannis, she was only too happy to give him the cloak and the blade, and agree to let him take care of all fighting.
Soon enough, they both proved to be quite good at their assigned tasks. Hannis found a sharp dagger in a beast's carcass, while Boris dispatched another wolf pack and a darkling lurker. In the latter fight, he was careful to allow his "Regeneration" to seal all of his wounds before he finished off the enemy. All this fighting seemed to improve him, and he felt even better about his potential.
Near the darkling camp, Boris met Leadanna, a traveling Mancer merchant. Unfortunately, she requested 134 Gildars for her services, which Boris was nowhere close to having.
Hannis focused on exploring the lands north of New Conclave, but found nothing but dead woods haunted by a number of fearsome cave bears.
Boris kept heading southwest until the reached the ruins of his old home. From there, he tracked the brigands who had killed his friends. After dispatching the raiding party and the group guarding their lair, he found a leather cap that fit him. The experience made him stronger.
In the north, Hannis found a dark wizard's tower surrounded by a number of dangerous creatures. She spotted a forest drake, some cave bears, an army of brigands, as well as the Imperial hero Kulan and his tame mire skaths. But Hannis was a master scout, and managed to sneak past all the dangers and even retrieve an ice staff from a treasure chest. She also noticed two elemental shards, a library's ruins and a old battlefield.
With great danger come great rewards
Turn 10: In the Summer of 161, the researchers in New Conclave finally figured out how to exploit elemental shards. Hannis had a great place in mind for an arcane monolith, but the mana reserves were insufficient at that moment. Instead she searched the lost library and uncovered a treasure trove of information on Civics, which would make running and expanding the Magelords' fledgling city much easier. The news seemed to attract more people to New Conclave, and the city council decided that Agricultural improvements should be the researchers new priority.
Warlord Verga and his pioneers invade the Magelords' lands
Turn 11-12: New Conclave finished building the workshop complex. Immediately a group of hardworking citizen began constructing tools with which to erect an outpost north of the city, where Hannis and Boris had found an elemental shard and a hive of twilight bees.
Hannis got news of their project and tried not to smirk at their efforts as, with a few motions of her hands, she summoned an arcane monolith into existence. It would do just a good job at exploiting the two shards near the dark tower as any outpost constructed by mundane means.
Hannis tried not to think of the fact that she had completely drained her nation's mana reserves, and that, until the two shrines were completed, the Magelords would be starved for magical energy. Instead decided to check whether the old battlefield concealed anything of interest. She was very happy when she found a pair of long stride boots, and considerably less happy when she discovered an outpost flying Ythril's colors further east.
Soon enough, Warlord Verga himself made an appearance, leading a group of pioneers toward New Conclave. It was clear that the Empire of Ythril meant to invade the lands near New Conclave, and attempt to stifle the fledgling nation. War was only a matter of time. Unfortunately, Boris was rather far away, circling the mountains south of New Conclave.
He's only asking for a thousand times as much money as we have
Turn 13-16: Uppermost in Hannis's mind was to get the long stride boots to Boris, so that he could move faster and attempt to prepare for the inevitable war with Ythril. She managed to cross the lands surveyed by the Ythril outpost without being noticed.
As soon as their tools were ready, the pioneers built an outpost north of New Enclave, and then decided to erect a shrine over the air shard and domesticate the twilight bees nearby. The outpost also surveyed a crystal crag, but the Magelords were running out of cash, and decided to delay developing that resource until later. Their labor in New Conclave was instead directed toward the construction of a tower which would serve as a symbol of the Magelords' dominion.
Boris had just found a midnight stone in the lair of a darkling lurker when he received a message from Yithril. Warlord Verga insulted the Magelords' nation, and demanded 3200 Gildars as tribute. The sum was of course preposterous. Boris had two Gidlars chasing each other in his pockets, and no intention whatsoever of letting himself be extorted by a fallen beast. He refused, and rushed toward the border.
Meanwhile, Harris was doing some rushing on her own. Using her superior speed, she managed to loot the camps of a darkling and some bandits before Verga could do it. Given that he probably had cleared them himself, her actions probably did not do anything to improve his feelings towards the Magelords. In any case, the camps provided her with a pair leather vambraces, and another midnight stone.
Turin had an enviable capacity for absorbing damage
Turns 17-20: Hannis finally reached Boris, and gave him the vambraces, the boots and useless gear loot she had gathered in her exploration. She then headed toward Yithril, while he set North, to destroy the lairs that she had spotted and marked on her map.
On his way North, Boris stopped at New Conclave to sell the wolf skins and the loot that he did not need. Had it not been for that, he would have not been able to pay Hannis the following season. While he was there, Boris used the opening ceremony for the tower of dominion to gather volunteers for a new squad of settlers tasked to prevent Yithril from settling too close to the city.
But Boris could not afford to rest in the city. Warlord Verga was approaching the camp of the Imperial hero Turin Mafaru, who could not be allowed to join the enemy. Unfortunately, Boris did not have the mana to turn his skin to stone, as he had wished to do before he started fighting stronger opponents, so he took on Turin with no other enchantment but "Regeneration".
Turin's capacity to absorb damage was enviable, and despite Boris's superior swordsmanship and equipment, the battle was going poorly. Once again, Boris was saved by his Krax blood. As it flowed over his clothes, it hardened to the point where Turin's spear barely did any damage. Eventually, Boris dealt the final blow, and there was one less recruit for Verga's horde.
Immediately afterwards, Boris attacked an defeated a troll. A few times, it looked as if the troll would be victorious, but Boris was so much faster that he could run around the meadow in which the fight was taking place, and regenerate his wounds. Of course, so did the troll, but eventually Boris's blade found the troll's heart. The experience from the fight convinced Boris that his way of fighting would be best served if he followed the Path of the Assassin.
In comparison, New Conclave is a hamlet
Turns 21-22: Verga must have been close enough to observe Boris's fights, because it turned around and headed back to its own lands. Clearly the trog must have been a coward, for all its posturing.
Emboldened, Hannis entered its teritory, intent on scouting the future enemy's resources.
Meanwhile the Magelords rediscovered the secrets of Agriculture, and thus pushed back the fear of food shortages in New Conclave. Eager to attract more people to their cause, they started figuring out the intricacies of effective Administration.
The squad of pioneers finished training, and headed south. New Conclave began the construction of an inn with which to attacts even more people.
Boris found a simple wooden shield in the troll's lair. He then entered the woods North of New Conclave in search of cave bears. As soon as he spotted one, he turned his skin to stone, and attacked. He barely made it. His Krax blood, his equipment, and his enchantments kept the bear's claws from more than drawing blood. Even so, bringing the bear down took forever, and even scratches can kill a warrior, eventually.
Nevertheless, the fight was worth it. In the bear den, Boris found an amulet of Frost. His celebratory mood lasted barely a moment, because he received a report from Hannis.
Hannis had found the capital city of Yithril, and had been shocked by its size and population. New Conclave had seemed really tiny in comparison. She had visited the marketplace, and found horses, wargs, chainmail armor and burning axes. And to really drive the point home, she had overheard a rumor that the Kindom of Altar had constructed the Merchantcross Bazzar, which had made her realize that Yithril was not even the most powerful enemy the Magelords must face.
Boris knew that the reports of Yithril's power would dismay the population of New Conclave. He decided that he needed to address the nation, and show them that there was a way out of the situation. He started to write his first "State of New Conclave" speech.