Path of War, Chapter 4

Chapter 4
The Bull in the Borderlands

by Sparrow

Click here for this mission’s saved game or if you would like to add your own walkthrough, or comment on this one.

Mission Briefing:
“I am ill at ease with our alliance to this Edwin Blackfly. The castle Edwin has given me lays on the border regions and one of the countries oldest foes looms to the north.”

Objectives for Victory:

  • Quest: Rescue the Holy Relic
  • Quest: Destroy the Outlaw Camp
  • Quest: Rescue Sir Grey’s Castle
  • Kill the Bull

Losing Conditions:

  • Your Lord Dies
  • Sir Grey Dies

Starting units:lord to start, five spearmen and five archers in July of 1084
Available units:armed peasants, spearmen, archers
Map size:large
Starting Date:January 1084
Starting Stats:gold 1000 | honor 100 | population 0/8 | popularity 90
Starting Goods:30 bread, 40 meat, 152 wood, 40 stone
Buildings added:single and double thickness walls, stairwell, small gatehouse, treasury, lord’s kitchen, apple farm, pig farm, fletcher’s workshop, gong pit
Buy/Sell:pigs, wood, cloth
any quest:Add lookout tower, stone tipper, man trap, rolling logs, church, wheat farm, mill, bakery, eel pond, hops farm, brewery, inn, buy/sell hops.
any 2 quests:Buy/sell stone, candles.
all 3 quests:Add engineer’s guild, siege camp, and availability of engineers, catapults, burning carts, laddermen.
Game Version:1.2


This will be your first experience on the path of war campaign in building and running a large castle with a full economy. You’ll also get to acquire estates, learn how to run them and see the power of their contribution to your economy. Threats will be in the form of wolves, outlaws and lightweight to medium invasions, all of which should be easily handled if you get busy and create a well run and productive castle. You’ll be working to ultimately build up enough troops to siege and defeat the Bull far off in the northwest.

You must complete three minor “quests” in this chapter plus the major objective of killing the Bull. The quests consist of:

  1. Rescuing the small group of monks and their relic in the far northeast corner of the map before they are all killed by wolves.
  2. Destroying the outlaw camp to the west, home to outlaws who conduct periodic raids.
  3. Breaking the siege of Sir Grey’s castle in the far west before he is killed.

These all have a time element to them. The outlaws will harass you until you eliminate them, the wolves will periodically attack the monks, reducing their numbers, and the siege army near Sir Grey awaits their signal to begin. A count down timer to the siege and a status bar indicating the remaining monks are displayed onscreen for you to monitor. You can take what time you need to attack the Bull.

As you achieve each quest, additional buildings will be made available to you, additional goods may be bought and sold at the market, and more types of troops will be available, even siege equipment.

Estates: Estates can be a powerful addition to your economy, so learning how to use them here where they’re not critical is a great idea. Estates provide gold, 10 per month, and pretty much any goods they have the resources and space to produce. You can utilize their space for production when yours is scarce, and their resources when yours are low or nonexistent. When your space is better used for buildings that provide the honor you may need in some chapters, estates can be used to feed you, provide ale, goods to sell, weapons, and raw materials like wood, stone and iron.

While you have the room to be quite sloppy in how you locate your buildings and build up your economy in this mission, I heartily encourage you to see this as a training mission for learning how to build a robust, tight, well laid out castle that will enable you to withstand the most intensive of assaults and give you the production, gold and honor to create a truly unstoppable offensive army. Practice here, then in later chapters when space is limited, time is short and the enemy is relentless, you’ll have the skills to triumph.

I chose to make a smaller, tighter castle in this chapter (although there is a lot of space between the keep and the sea) mainly because it results in a smaller perimeter that is easier to defend. However there is not much to defend against here, and you have loads of space so you can make your castle big if you wish.

Check the screen shots to see where I placed my buildings, but really many locations work just as well as others in this castle. Note though, that I end up with four basic areas inside this castle:

  1. Granary and food production.
  2. Stockpile with weapons and goods production.
  3. Lord’s kitchen and exclusive food production for it (pigs, eels, geese, vegetables, and wine).
  4. Popularity and honor accumulating buildings (church, inn, etc.).

First will be the placement of your stockpile and granary. These are the focus of your goods, weapons and food production, so consider well how you place them. Their location relative to the buidings where their respective goods are produced has great effect on how much is produced, since travel time has significant impact. Cutting down the distance peasants have to travel between their workplace and the storage building produces more goods in the same period of time.

Placing the Stockpile: the stockpile stores all goods and raw materials except food and weapons, but includes wheat, grapes, hops and ale. Proximity of production buildings to the stockpile is critical since workers must make the journey between it and their workplace to pick up raw materials and deliver finished goods. Most chapters have many types of production available, so priorities must be established to decide which is to be closest to the stockpile’s two entrances. Weapons being so critical to survival, usually head the list and get top positioning. But this is your castle and you get to decide and build where you think works best for you.

Placing the Granary: I like to group apple farms, which are cheap and start producing quickly, tight around the granary, but leaving enough of a hole for a gong pit, guard post and falconer’s post (the last is not used in this chapter) to be added. Hunter’s posts, with their incredible efficiency, are placed just outside the apple farms. But again, experiment and find your preferred layout.

In Stronghold 1 and Crusader the relative placements of stockpile, granary and bakeries was critical to efficiency. Since bread production could overwhelm all other food types and make it easy to achieve double rations it was important to keep it efficient. One thing that helped was placing the granary near the stockpile. While the same positioning rules hold true in Stronghold 2, bread just isn’t as important. Apples and meat will have you at double rations in no time. I feel bread’s only real role now is as an additional food type to boost honor. So I separate granary and stockpile to provide more space for their respective production buildings.

Keeping all the preceding in mind, begin by placing your stockpile, then granary. I like to get quite a few things going immediately, so I next placed five hovels south by the shore, then eight saw pits, four north by the trees, 2 east of the keep in the bushes, and two south of the keep between it and the sea shore in the bushes.

Woodcutters: Woodcutters can handle bushes as well as trees so they can clean up scrub that gets in the way of building placement. Since they use carts it completely changes the dynamics you’re used to if you played the older SH1 or Crusader. Here the woodcutter travels by cart, makes one trip only to the target tree, cuts it down into a pile of logs, returns to the saw pit with one log, saws the wood, then delivers planks to the stockpile. He does not head for the saw pit, but instead travels to the pile of logs again for another log (or to cut a fresh tree for more logs), and takes the new log to the saw pit, and so on.

What this means is that it is no longer as crucial to place the saw pit near the trees, it just needs to be somewhere on a straight line between the stockpile and the woodcutter’s target tree. The problem is placing the saw pit near the stockpile will take up valuable building site space, and the farther it is from the trees, the harder it will be to predict which way the woodcutter will travel for the next tree. Therefore, it still makes sense to put sawpits near trees or bushes, but for these different reasons.

Food production is next. I like to get to double rations as soon as possible to raise taxes and earn more honor, so I placed eight apple farms and seven hunter posts around the granary. Then I placed a market and treasury in the extreme southeast on the shore, located out of the way since they can easily be accessed with the hot keys “m” and “t”.

I bought an additional 150 wood, placed two quarries and four ox tethers. Next two gong pits, one by the stockpile and one in the slot I left open for it by the granary.

It’s very important to get some weapons production going, so four fletchers next and an armory. Weapons production is so crucial I give its buildings top priority on placement, as close to one of the stockpile doors as possible, and the armory close to the weapons buildings, since each weapon produced needs a trip to each. As gold and wood was available I placed two poleturners and four more fletchers.

Next place a lord’s kitchen, important as it’s a great source of honor needed to train most troop types, in this case your archers. Since food must be carried by servants from kitchen to the table in the keep it makes sense to locate it close to the keep entrance. Only pig farms are available at this point (eel ponds will be available later in the chapter) to provide food to the lord’s kitchen, so place two pig farms nearby.

In July of 1084 Edwin will send you five spearmen and five archers, a great help in fending off the wolves and outlaw raids prior to training your own troops. Move them north of the keep and a little south towards the keep from a line extending west from the quarries. This is where the wolves will attack. I usually set my spearmen slightly in front of the archers to protect them.

I next added some income producing industry, four sheep farms and four weaver’s workshops, also a few more hovels and another gong pit. Extra industries producing salable goods are not critical in this mission as you will have more than enough gold to fund your army, but it’s good practice to build some of them up anyway. I ended up with nine sheep farms and nine weaver’s workshops. Add them in if you wish, as wood is available. A one to one ratio kept a nice balance between the two, maybe an extra weaver or two. Be sure to keep up with hovels as you expand your industries.

The first wolf attack comes around May of 1085 and your small band should be able to fend them off with very light casualties.

Erect a barracks and start training archers as soon as bows are available. I liked putting my barracks west of the keep in the direction the outlaws will come from. Their first attack will come in October of 1085 and they will continue to harass you periodically. I stationed some archers on the barracks, a few on the keep, and strengthened the band defending from wolves. This created good coverage and a nice crossfire for the outlaws.

I added three more apple farms. Food supplies should be rising, so set to double rations and increase taxes to -6. Monitor your food supplies and add more production if needed, but you should have enough to maintain the double ration rate.

You can go after the outlaw camp or rescue the monks from the wolves first, but the monks may make the most sense. They can be rescued with fewer troops and will join you to fight alongside your forces. About 15-20 archers should do it to take on the wolves one pack at a time. Send them north and position them an arrows flight from the first wolf pack. Have one archer target a wolf. When he’s hit the whole pack will move for your archers. Most will be taken down on the charge, a few may make it in for close combat. Injuries are usually quite light and you can advance from pack to pack using the same tactics, towards the monks. You needn’t take out all the wolves, only the ones in your path.

When you reach the monks, advance to the last one who is holding the relic. The game will temporarily go back to the objectives screen and show a check mark in the circle next to this quest. Clicking on the right arrow returns to the game at the same point. The remaining monks have joined your army and are now under your control. March all back to the castle.

Your completion of the first quest has added the availability of lookout towers, rolling logs, stone tippers and man traps. You also can now build a church, wheat farms, mills, bakeries, hops farms, breweries, inn, and buy and sell hops. Most of these are quite useful.

First though, see if you have enough honor to purchase an estate. They cost 100 honor each and can contribute food, goods and income to your castle. St. Columb Minor, just to the northwest, makes the most sense as it produces cheese. This would add another food type to your granary, doubling your honor earned per month from two to four (at double rations). Clicking on its flagpole brings up a box allowing you to buy the estate. Purchase St. Columb Minor estate.

Managing Estates: Estates must be run somewhat indirectly. First, you must remember everything on and produced by the estate is theirs. The only thing you get automatically from ownership is 10 gold per month. Anything else that is to benefit you has to come in the way of shipments of goods. This is done via a carter. Carter posts must be built by you if they don’t already exist, and transport goods one way only, from the estate they are located on, to your castle or any other estate you own, and at your direction. An estate may erect basic buildings on its own, but mainly you build the industries you want them to engage in. You must provide extra hovels, too.

You must monitor the popularity rating on your estates or peasants may leave, just as in your own castle. However you can’t adjust settings such as rations, taxes or such. Providing adequate food will usually do the trick, bringing popularity up to 100% and maintaining it. Stocks of food and goods can be monitored by clicking on the carter post and viewing quantities there. You can also zoom in on the granary and stockpile to get a rough visual view of stocks.

While the granary has infinite capacity, the stockpile does not, so you will need to monitor quantities there. You cannot sell off goods directly as you can from your own stockpile. You have several options, though.

  1. Reduce production. If there’s more than one building involved in producing the overstocked item, delete one or more of them.
  2. Stop production by putting overproducing industries to sleep for a while.
  3. Ship the goods to another estate. Place more carter posts on the estate and transport the goods to another of your estates or to your own stockpile to be sold off.
  4. Destroy the goods by using the trick of instructing a carter post to deliver a load of the item to another estate. The moment the cart leaves the post, click on the stop button, whereupon the carter should dump the load and return. Repeat until stocks are at an acceptable level. This may not work 100% of the time.

If you buy St. Columb Minor first, it will deliver cheese to you. I recommend adding apples and meat production so they will use up less cheese themselves, then set the carter to deliver cheese only.

After acquiring an estate they always need a little attention, mainly adding to the food production, establishing other industries you may desire, and adding hovels and carter post if needed.

Next set up four eel ponds to provide two more food types (eels and geese) to the lord’s kitchen, earning more honor at each feast. You can set up a church if you wish, although you won’t be able to buy candles until you complete your second quest. You can also set up some breweries, buy in some hops and set up an inn. You should be able to run the inn at double consumption for an additional +8 in popularity and a boost in taxes once the first ale starts rolling in. I had about six breweries for a population of 136.

Hops and wheat farms can also be established if you wish, also a mill and bakeries. Bread would add a fourth food source and increase the granary’s contribution to honor each month from four to six. When you can afford the honor you might wish to purchase the Sternly on Toad estate to the north. Lots of flat land there. I set up wheat farms, mills and bakeries to deliver finished bread to me. Delivering bread rather than the raw flour or wheat has the advantage of being stored in the estates granary, which, as far as I know has infinite capacity. Accumulating goods in an estate’s stockpile needs monitoring as it may fill up the stockpile.

As soon as you have enough troops you can make your move on the outlaw camp. 40-50 archers and 10-20 spearmen plus the remaining warrior monks should be a more than adequate force. Less could do it, and more is even better. Be sure to leave some archers defending the castle, although with eight fletchers going, more archers should be emerging almost continuously.

If you want to be very conservative, you can position about 30 archers on the hill overlooking the outlaw camp and pick them off from above. You can then take the ground troops in to destroy the camp. Many of the outlaws will start trekking around the cliff and up to your sniping position, having the benefit of the cliff for cover. Three quarters or so will make it past your archers on the backside of the outcropping and up the path into the hills. Not to worry though, when they make the sharp turn at the far end and begin their final rush on your position, your archers will have clear shots and should dispatch them with ease. If you’re nervous, take some spearmen with you to slow them down.

If you want to be ultra conservative it’s even possible to build a navigable wall from the grassland up to the top of that same hill overlooking the outlaw camp. From that vantage they can’t seem to target you at all. Send up 15 archers and pick them off at leisure. You will need to station 15-20 archers on the stairwell, however, to deal with outlaws that will try to attack your position by coming around the cliff. (You could, of course, delete the stairwell to deny access, but that’s sort of a cheat and totally unnecessary.) You can also build the wall with access from the cliff top rather than the grassland below if you wish.

And if that’s not enough there’s a super ultra conservative “Devastation from Above” method using burning logs. I don’t recommend using this but it’s just too cool not to mention. The screen shot pretty much says it all.

As fun as those can be, I took the more direct and faster approach by taking my band directly south and well out of range of the bandit camp to make a direct assault. The best tactic here, I’ve found is to march all your archers just into range using the line formation. Enemy reaction time seems to be a little slower than in SH1, allowing this to be quite effective.

40 or more archers are better if you use this ground attack. Advance your archers quickly to the little hill just south of the outlaw camp in line formation (see screen shot) where you should be able to take them all out. Keep your ground troops in reserve just behind or to the side ready to run in to protect the archers should you get an unexpected rush. When outlaws are eliminated send in ground troops to destroy the camp.

While it’s great now in SH2 to be able to use a line formation (although larger groups form in multiple lines) troops only form the line when moving to a new position, and the orientation of the line will be perpendicular (at right angles) to the direction of advance. Therefore it works best when you form up well out of range and inline with your planned path of advance. That way your line will advance directly forward facing the enemy, rather than sideways or obliquely. Practice beforehand.

At the point you destroy the outlaw camp will get the original objectives screen again, this time with the outlaw camp checked off as completed. Return to the game and you will find you can now sell and buy candles and stone. If you built a church you can now hold mass and get up to another +8 popularity bonus. This will give you more than you can use so you can back down on food rations, ale consumption or mass type to just give you the maximum taxes of -16.

As honor accumulates, more estates can be purchased if you wish. Keep building your army and sell off unneeded goods to keep the stockpile from filling up, especially wood and stone which accumulate rapidly.

With care you should be able to relieve Sir Grey’s siege with 50 archers, 10 spearmen and the remaining warrior monks, but using larger numbers can make it even easier. I approached from the south. Advance the archers quickly in line formation to the northern edge of the large, slightly dark patch of grass to the south of the siege camp (see screen shot). Keep your ground troops close in support and rush them in to take the brunt of the counter attack from the enemy macemen.

The ground troops serve to block the macemen’s advance to your archers, rather than being a force to eliminate them. Most macemen should fall from arrows. As soon as they are eliminated, pull back the ground troops and advance archers about half the remaining distance to the siege camp to bring the remaining archers and spearmen into range. When they’re eliminated, destroy the siege camp with your ground troops. You also can attack from the east, with tactics being fairly similar.

A quick return to the objectives screen to see Sir Grey’s siege checked off, then back to the final task, sieging the Bull. You’ll now be able to build an engineer’s guild and siege camps, providing engineers, catapults, burning carts and laddermen.

But first you have a surprise visit. The moment you return to the main screen after completing your third quest you are warned of an impending invasion by the Bull. Order you troops back to the castle pronto. There should be enough time. Keep training all the fresh troops you can. I ended up with over 150 archers (more like 200) and over 40 spearmen. You should too, if you’ve had eight fletchers and two poleturners working.

It also helps to build enough hovels to have 24 peasants (the maximum) available around the campfire at all times. It’s easy to provide enough food, they provide extra tax income, and you can train 24 more troops at a moments notice if you have the weapons available.

During the Bull’s journey to your castle, a second invasion, by Olaf, will be spotted landing and advancing from the north. He leads a much smaller band and should arrive first.

With 150 archers the invasions should be brushed aside with ease, so if you have less you should still be ok. You can fight completely from the walls or send a good size group out to ambush their encampment.

Olaf is quite easily defeated, depending on whether he decides to build a siege camp and catapults. Deal with those and his laddermen and he is virtually powerless since he brings no archers. He attacks from the north but will but will go around your castle’s northwest corner to mass and setup a siege camp on your western flank with the Bull. He may put up a ladder or two on your walls as he passes. With burning logs and archers its fairly easy to wipe out most of his force before he makes his turn to the west.

The Bull will set up a siege camp and produce many catapults but he will be fairly light on archers. Don’t forget you now have a siege camp and engineer’s guild available, so you too can build catapults, in SH2 a powerful offensive weapon against troops as well as walls. Try it. A small group of catapults can rain down massive destruction on a siege camp and massed troops. Protect the catapults with archers and ground troops though.

You can now build lookout towers but I preferred not to. Archers will tip ladders away from walls as well as pikemen if they have no other targets, so spacing your troops out along the walls is a very effective defense against enemy ladders. Grouping the archers in towers gives certain advantages but leaves the walls more vulnerable to successful ladder scaling. And since the Bull uses only a small group of archers, protecting your own with towers is not necessary.

Lookout towers seem a mixed blessing in this chapter. While they’re a good place to concentrate archers, if you stick them out from the wall they will attract catapult fire. Not being too strong they are vulnerable; belting them with a layer or two of wall does a good job of providing additional protection. But that also attracts ladders and adds additional wall length to protect. And unless you are very careful about troop positioning on the belting walls around the towers, they will get scaled and the towers overrun. Other than resorting to other “trickery” I found it best to forego the towers and space the mixed troops out along the walls to counter the ladder rushes.

Olaf and the Bull have only one other way to defeat you, breaching your wall with their catapults. You probably have enough archers to eliminate these before they do too much damage. You can also send ground troops out after them. But…

You have one other very powerful defensive weapon now, wall mounted rolling logs. They’re expensive but cut a wide swatch of destruction when triggered and mow down most things in their path, even trees (and siege camps if close enough). They must be triggered manually. You also have man traps and plenty of wood and gold to deploy them, but probably unnecessary. Should you employ a combination of all these weapons the enemy should be completely at your mercy.

With these two invasions dispatched you are ready to tackle your last mission in this chapter, sieging the Bull. With the strong economy you’ve built you can attack the bull with as large an army as you like. You have a few choices, but not many. You can batter the walls and/or gatehouse down with catapults and rush in, even use burning carts, or you can send in laddermen and rush spearmen over the walls with lots or archer support to neutralize troops on the walls and gatehouse.

Of major concern in your assault is the Bull’s wall mounted burning logs. They are widely spaced providing huge unprotected gaps that you can use, but don’t stray too near or you’ll discover just how effective they are. Well placed catapult hits can destroy them on the wall or a small band of troops can be sent in front of the logs to trigger them, then run clear. Don’t forget, logs reset after a period of time, unless they’re destroyed.

I preferred the ladder assault since it’s very quick and easy against the Bull’s lightly defended walls. There are many spots along the walls where you could mount your assault, but I chose the gatehouse. It has a very wide area not covered by burning logs. Place a siege camp if you didn’t bring laddermen and ready a group of 60 archers, 20 spearmen and 10 laddermen. Send all in together, laddermen target the wall just to the left of the gatehouse, archers directly in front of the gatehouse and well in so they can target archers on the walls and gatehouse, and spearmen to a point on the ground just to the left of the gatehouse. When ladders are in place retarget spearmen to the top of the gatehouse and move them to the inner edge.

The end is triggered by the proximity of a single one of your troops to the Bull himself. The inner edge of the gatehouse is just close enough to trigger it if he is still outside the keep. If you decide to use the catapult, upon actually smashing a hole in the wall, the Bull will retreat to the rear of his castle and stop in the entrance to the canyon. Now you will have to get troops further inside the castle to a position somewhere near the far side of the keep to get close enough to him to trigger completion.

The reason you can use what seems a rather small force is that your assault will be cut short. The Bull, seeing your success, and his impending demise, will decide to make an escape on his horse through the rear canyon to parts unknown as soon as you take the gatehouse or make it into his castle and get close enough.

A great victory! Congratulations.


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