Turns 27 - 47
I spent all my mana to reserve this patch for my pioneers, but it was worth it.
Turn 29: Both my cities are training pioneers - Manufactorium can actually produce one each turn and get 2 gold in the process.
There are a lot of resources, and whether I will capture them or not will be decided in a race. On the other hand, the patch of fertile land West of Yithril is too valuable to be left to chance. I cast "Arcane monolith" to deny it to the pioneers who made it there before mine could.
Meanwhile both Petar and Badra are exploring and fighting. Petar is clearing the ruins of the Imperium, while Badra is picking off darklings, wildlings, wolves and mites. She could deal with stronger opponents, but that would require buffs, and I am saving my mana for monoliths.
Petar, in his combat kit. Otherwise he uses the longstrider boots and a telescope
Turn 32: I settle a new city, Ruins gate, at the entrance of the Imperium ruins. By expanding it carefully, I will be able to keep everyone out of the ruins until Lord Petar is strong enough to clear them. So far he has been avoiding the Death Demon's army, while killing everything else.
Both my cities are still training pioneers, but I still don't have enough even for the outposts I have already planned.
Altar builds the Great Library, which prompts me to negotiate an alliance with them. They are almost as weak as I am, so the treaty does not cost more than I can afford.
The borders seem to have been drawn. Time to develop the resources.
Turn 35: My pioneers build a multitude of outposts, which control more than a dozen of resources. The research on "Mining" has finished, so all cities start building workshops, and get ready to switch to resource development. I begin researching "Henchmen" because I need fire and water magic, as well as someone who can collect all the loot that Petar and Badra were too busy to grab.
As one the outposts go up, I notice a Kraxis holding Southwest of my lands. They are less hostile than Yithril and Magnar, and as soon as I have the cash, I will try to broker a few treaties.
Hard to believe such a choice spot is still available
Turn 37: Somewhat to my surprise, a pioneer unit finds a fertile patch in the Northwest. A forest, a river, a shard and four units of materials. I cannot believe no one has grabbed it. The pioneers settles the the city of Riverhold, and start the construction of a logging camp.
The "Henchman" technology is researched, and work begins on "Construction". Petar heads back to the quests that he started but did not dare finish. Of course, by now, butchermen and air shrills will present no danger whatsoever. The influence gained by the quests will be used to recruit henchmen.
The wolf guards the library while the golem plans my next city
Turn 40: During her adventures, Badra has collected a golem and a wolf. When she spots a library and a fertile patch in the Southeast, she sends her companions to guard the locations until pioneers can make their way to them. By the time a crowd of enemy settlers shows up, I have the mana for an arcane monolith which I use to reserve the whole area for my side.
Badra continues South. To my dismay, she finds an Yithril city. It seems that Yithril has gotten around Ruins Gate, and is spreading to the South. This is really bad news. I redirect some pioneers that way, but the damage is done, and Yithril is loose on the world.
Manufactorium revitalizes a patch of land. And what land it is!
Turn 42: My first henchman, Alex the Fire Mage, walks out of Manufactorium to find Petar waiting for him. Alex reads two experience books, gets some decent mage gear, and joins Petar in the pacification of the homelands. In the very first turn, he gets to level 4.
I am surprised and very pleased to discover something I had not seen before. As Manufactorium's area of influence spears, the soils around it improves to the point where it becomes arable. One of available spots is nothing short of amazing: 4/2/4. It goes without saying, Manufactorium starts training another group of pioneers.
Badra visits an Yithril market, and buys a horse. Actually, she buys two, because some idiot doubleclicked, but I won't hold it against her. I have a decent mana income, so Badra finally gets her first buff, namely regeneration. It's enough for her to kill an assassin demon, and get an amulet of Haste. The game crashed, and on the replay, Badra got an amulet of Flames instead.
The Kingdom of Men at a glance
Turn 47: An unit of pioneers finally makes it to the arable land guarded by the wolf and golem, and settles Southwest factory. It has no essence at this point, but I will build a pool and cast "Set it Stone" on it. I need it to develop quickly, so that it can keep Kraxis influence away.
I also cast "Sovereign Call" on Manafont, because I intend to turn it into a conclave, and make it my main research facility.
Petar and Alex have more or less pacified the homelands. I will explore for a while, but when "Heroes" is researched, I will bring them home, and send them on as many quests as I can pay for. For now, I am still researching "Construction".
I think that this concludes the second phase of the playthrough, the Land Grab.