Dark Lord: Troll King and Ice Queen

More unit-by-unit overviews of various dark lords and their minions from the half-finished RPG Dark Lord. We discussed yesterday how fodder can either try to get themselves killed ASAP in order to reroll as something better, or they can try and hang on to level 5 for a major reward. Elites and especially lieutenants face a different conundrum. They’re fairly powerful, in the lieutenant’s case about as powerful as a dark lord themselves, and this means that their dark lord doesn’t want them to retire and collect their bonus Fate. In order to discourage them from doing this, a dark lord gets a certain amount of Favor each quest that he must distribute amongst his minions over the course of a quest. Every surviving minion can then convert their Favor into Fate. If a lieutenant makes themselves useful, their dark lord may lavish them with Favor, especially after they’ve reached level 5 and could retire, in order to try and keep them on. The benefit from retirement is fairly low for a lieutenant, especially compared to constantly sucking up Favor quest after quest.

The problem is, by the time a lieutenant spawns (and it while it’s not as rare as it seems based on the stat requirements alone, it can definitely take a while), the other minions are probably all used to getting some Favor of their own, since the dark lord must distribute all favor by the end of each quest. Some players might be pursuing a strategy of grinding through fodder and troops until they spawn an elite, and then use that elite to soak up as much Favor as possible rather than retiring. An elite, or especially several, might conspire to assassinate a lieutenant in order to get the favor flowing towards them again. If their overlord finds out it was them, they may find themselves executed for their impudence, but if there are several potential culprits, the overlord might never have to know. An overlord can try to placate all his minions by distributing Favor evenly, but then lieutenants have much less incentive not to take a retirement bonus after they reach level 5.

I haven’t done any actual play playtesting of Dark Lord yet, so I don’t know if these incentives will work the way I want them to, but I’d be eager to find out. Unfortunately, I haven’t actually finished the game yet, which makes that a tad difficult, doesn’t it. Anyway, here’s the Troll King and the Ice Queen.

Troll King

-The Troll King (dark lord). He is very tough and hits very hard, but has limited ranged attack abilities, can only target a small number of enemies at once, and has low mobility. Works spectacularly against small groups of powerful enemies who can’t get away from him, and works reasonably well against swarms just due to his extremely high durability – he will get through all of them eventually, and they will have a lot of trouble overcoming his regenerating health, especially once the crowd starts to thin.

-Troll Flame Lord (lieutenant) requires 16 INT, 14 CON, 10 STR, 10 WIS. Powerful AoE ranged attacks can wipe out mobs of little enemies in a hurry. In melee, he’s more powerful than an orc warrior but not as powerful as a troll knight or fire giant berserker. Lacking in ranged single-target firepower.

-Fire Giant Berserker (elite) requires 16 STR, 11 CON. Powerful melee fighter with both single-target power attacks and AoE cleave attacks. Durable but not excessively so, vulnerable to spike damage.

-Troll Knight (elite) requires 14 STR, 14 CON. A control tank who maintains the front line and can force enemies to attack him instead of fragile allies.

-Troll Mage (elite) requires 16 INT, 11 WIS. A weaker version of Troll Flame Lord, can clear out swarms of weak foes with powerful AoE attacks. Has a wide variety of shapes (sphere, cone, line, etc.) for different situations.

-Orc Priest (elite) requires 16 WIS, 11 CHA. A healer and buffer who keeps the rest of the team on their feet. Has good single-target heals but lacks across the board healing. Trolls rely on regeneration to stay standing while the Shaman targets his healing on recipients of major damage and non-troll allies who don’t have passive regeneration.

-Orc Captain (elite), requires 14 STR, 12 INT, 11 CHA. A dedicated buffer who can increase both attack, to help punch through the enemy front line faster, and defense, to help keep his own front line alive.

-Goblin Champion (elite), requires 14 DEX, 12 STR, 11 INT. Fragile but evasive, the goblin champion specializes against large opposition by avoiding AoOs to get within range, avoiding attacks in general so as not to be splattered by heavy attacks, and being able to hit far above his weight class in melee. Also effective at range and can kite slow enemies lacking ranged attacks. However, he is very fragile and any opposition who can hit him reliably will bring him down in a hurry. Orc captains and priests can ameliorate the issue to a degree.

-Orc Warrior (troop), requires 12 STR, 10 CON. A moderately powerful melee fighter who keeps the pressure on the enemy with high damage attacks. Quite fragile.

-Orc Archer (troop), requires 12 DEX, 12 CON. Has single target ranged damage comparable to a Goblin Champion, but very fragile in melee and has poor defenses.

-Goblin Shaman (troop), requires 14 WIS. Less effective healer than the orc priest, but can still keep allies up for an extra round or two in the face of average opposition.

-Goblin Fodder (fodder), no prerequisites. Someone has to make level 1 heroes feel like they’re badass. That’s you.

The orc archer, hobgoblin archer, and skeleton archer are all basically the same guy. Same with the orc warrior, the viking raider, and the bloodletter.

Ice Queen

-The Ice Queen (dark lord). She is the undisputed master of control magic, quite capable of preventing enemies from ever moving when she doesn’t want them to or forcing them to move to places she would like them to be. Some of her control powers double as AoE (because they start dealing damage immediately as well as dealing damage to anyone who enters), but overall her offensive capability is limited. She is durable, but also slow and easy to hit, so powerful ranged attackers are a major threat to her.

-The Frost Giant Jarl (lieutenant) requires 16 STR and 16 CON. The Frost Giant Jarl is quite slow but also quite hard-hitting, and can use his impressive size to shield smaller people behind him from ranged attacks, which he is durable enough to endure. So, the Ice Queen funnels enemies into his giant axe, and he stands in front of her to absorb all the punishment she can’t stay on top of forever.

-Frost Giant Warrior (elite) requires 14 STR and 14 CON. A slow but powerful giant with an extremely hard-hitting axe and a bow that does solid single target damage.

-Frost Giant Icewright (elite) requires 14 INT, 12 CON, and 11 STR. Specializes in battlefield control, slowing enemies down and creating impassable walls of ice or difficult or slippery terrain. Also has good AoE ranged attacks, including some that serve as battlefield control by creating persistent high damage terrain effects.

-Ice Elemental (elite) requires 14 CHA, 12 DEX, and 11 WIS. Relatively fast amongst the Ice Queen’s minions, and capable of hitting hard in both melee and at range, the ice elemental is also quite fragile compared to the other Ice Queen minions. He does well with a Snowscaper, who can give him a bit of durability.

-Snowscaper (elite) requires 14 INT, 12 WIS, and 11 CHA. Primarily a buffer but with some healing and mes ability, most of her buff spells are either counter control or otherwise defensive, dispelling ongoing battlefield effects, allowing targets of the spell to move freely over difficult terrain, or providing them resistance or immunity to certain types of damage. Her healing is mostly single target, and her mes is mostly of the sort that punishes specific behaviors in afflicted enemies.

-Viking Berserker (elite) requires 14 STR, 12 CON, and 11 DEX. A melee AoE. Low armor but lots of health, tends to put a strain on healing but covers the unique niche of being able to reach melee quickly and kill lots of weak things there. Can be a tax on party healing (if you even have a Snowscaper), but has the best crowd control of the tundra domain.

-Ice Golem (troop) requires 12 STR and 12 CON. As slow as the Frost Giant Warrior, but not as durable and much less hard hitting. Its ranged attacks, in addition to being woefully lacking in AoE, are very short range, and mostly involve throwing stuff.

-Ice Witch (troop) requires 12 INT and 12 WIS. A caster who splits the difference between defensive buffing, battlefield control, mes debuffing, and AoE damage. As you might expect, she’s not amazing at any of it, but she covers the bases.

-Viking Raider (troop) requires 12 STR and 10 CON. A moderately armored and somewhat fast unit with good single target ranged and melee attacks, lacks crowd control and can’t stand up to serious single target damage.

-Viking Fodder (fodder). The axe and spear are better than what most fodder get, but the total lack of armor, low hit points, and dearth of any actual abilities are unchanged.

The viking raider, the orc warrior, and the bloodletter are all basically the same guy.

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