Path of War, Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 
Defense of the Abbey

by Stratego

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Mission Briefing:
“Barclay is sure to want revenge. Seren has given me charge of the abbey. Somehow, I must turn it into an impenetrable fortress and have very little time to do it.”

Objectives for Victory:

  • No Enemy or Enemy Invasions are left

Losing Conditions:

  • Your Lord Dies

Starting units:10 spearmen, 7 archers, lord
Available units:armed peasants, spearmen, archers, crossbowmen, pikemen, swordsmen, knights, engineers, laddermen, pictish boat warriors, outlaws, thieves
Map size:small
Starting Date:January 1066
Starting Stats:gold 2000 | honor 300 | population 0/8 | popularity 100
Starting Goods:20 apples, 20 bread, 20 cheese, 20 meat, 102 wood, 50 stone, 100 pitch
Buildings added:round tower, main gate, war hound cage, tower mounted ballista, iron mine, blacksmith
Buildings lost:siege camp, rolling logs
Buy/Sell:all food except hops, most other goods, all weapons
Game Version:1.2


Let’s start the Blue Path. Without any doubt, chapter 7 is pretty tough, but if you are resolutely pursuing the following strategic hints you should never fail.

Right at the beginning, it’s necessary to slow down game speed, maybe down to 20 or 25, keeping this pace very slow in the long term. Time is also an essential factor in this mission, therefore you should often pause the game, in case you want to coordinate your defensive preparations or establish a well-performing castle economy. Make good use of this advantage in SH2 to build up your settlement and to recruit any kind of troops quickly, whenever it seems appropriate to you.

First steps

While pausing, erect a market place next to your stockpile and buy in about 60 wood and 60 stone for your first projects. Now, purchase the only neighbouring northwestern estate, Quincetown, on the other side of the river. This is possible because you’ve got 300 initial honour. Then place two woodcutters outside your gatehouse and 5 sawpits in your new partner estate. People living there as poor pitch diggers seem to be content with little and will remain very happy if you add three hunter’s posts for a constant food supply.

Looking at this picture below, you also notice two carter posts that will continuously provide you with (50) wood and (20) pitch throughout the entire game.

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Now, let’s make the basic preparations before the first invasion starts:
Place your barracks, armoury, and treasury left of the monastery and start recruiting spearmen, crossbowmen, and archers by using all initial weapons available in your armoury. Spread all your troops out evenly along the entire length of your existing walls and gatehouse, and add some braziers close to your archers. You ought to set all your soldiers on “stand ground”, so they will stay there holding the fort, and not leave their defensive positions anymore. You can also send a few monks or several (“cheap”) armed peasants as reinforcements up onto your walls pushing ladders away.

On this second picture, you can see two pre-installed rolling logs. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to install more of them in this chapter. Therefore, I applied an old reliable trick luring the enemy to that deadly point where I planned to annihilate them.

I erected a second simple stone wall drawing along the southern border, just keeping this area open for my rolling logs. It’s very important, not to connect this new wall with the original wall system; instead of doing so, I integrated two narrow gaps on both sides, filled with pitch ditches and man traps. Oddly enough, the hostile forces will be fixated on these “insidious and tempting” gaps.

Use the peaceful periods between the invasions (and if your stockpile allows) to cover this dangerous zone with pitch traps, mantraps or large killing pits, whatever you want to.

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On the right corner, hidden behind the cliff, you can make out a small group of warrior monks waiting there to destroy the siege camps while hordes of enemy troops are attacking furiously. Besides these mobile warrior monks being in action as a kind of task force, they are brave fighters, too, and move on quickly wherever you order them to go.

Economic development

Simultaneously, we may not neglect our economic stabilization. This next picture shows us another detail of the “productive” zone down by the river. Successively, place two quarries, four iron mines, completed by four ox tethers on the upper left niche that will provide you sufficiently with raw material, very useful for your defensive and military projects.

Sell any excess stone and iron bars to finance recruitments (or to buy different weapons like bows, crossbows, pikes, leather arms or metal armour).

In the course of time, it’s advisable to establish a varied food production in favour of higher popularity. To achieve this, start with three or four hunter’s posts and three apple orchards, because there isn’t much wood available at the beginning. Later on, if your wood supply is running smoothly (remember Quincetown!), you should add at least one wheat farm, one mill, two or three bakeries and two or three dairy farms, but it’s up to you where you want to place them. You can try to establish the complexity of an ale producing industry (hops farms, breweries), but it is definitely better to confine yourself to erect an inn and to purchase ale. That will save a lot of time! However, keep in mind, your building area isn’t boundless and it’s quite evident that all this increasing number of buildings and workshops will require a growing population. Something for the statistics: At the end, I totally counted 80 peasants, i.e. 9 hovels (8×9=72 plus 8 initial subjects coming from the keep)

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In this chapter, you have to deal with some annoying criminals stealing food from your granary or breaking law and order. To fight against this deplorable stack of affairs and to catch or punish those offenders, you should set up one or two guard posts close to the granary. Additionally, a courthouse and the torturer’s guild should be the next important judicial buildings, essential to come into force by all the punishments you can select from, e. g. masks, wheels, gibbets, blocks and gallows…

Normally, the presence of criminals who are going unpunished, will depress your popularity exceedingly, so be on your guard!

Defensive structures

Set your weapons machinery going on the plateau as close to your stockpile and armoury as possible. In this case and in succession, I placed three fletchers (1 producing bows, 2 of them crossbows), 2 tanners near the dairy farms, 1 armourer (metal armour), 1 blacksmith (swords), and 2 pole turners (pikes and spears). Limited space on the map doesn’t allow you to expand without restraint, so you are forced to use each free corner effectively and wisely.

The following picture illustrates an instructive detail of the castle layout shortly before the fourth assault.

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There’s a strong line of mighty round towers manned by archers, crossbowmen and ballistae that are very efficient against siege machines. I have to annotate that most of these towers are “isolated” not being connected with the outer walls. This fact causes another special effect: In case that enemies should climb up the front walls, they aren’t able to conquer your towers, so they would be captured up on the walls like mice in a mousetrap!

Permanently, keep training crossbowmen, archers, pikemen, swordsmen, and spearmen, as weapons are produced or bought. Again, while the game is pausing, use those peaceful periods between the forthcoming invasions to extend your castle in adding more round towers or to organize your soldiers if they should not stand on the right place.

When the first invasion starts (in all, you have to withstand five invasions) you should watch the invading troops carefully. As soon as they are getting nearer, release the rolling logs from your castle walls. Rolling down the hill the logs will knock the approaching enemy down, and ignite your pitch ditches. After your rolling logs are used up, it will be your archers’ task to set pitch on fire. A hail of arrows will shoot down all surviving hostile troops.

If some laddermen should succeed in putting up their ladders, your spearmen and pikemen (on “stand ground”) will push them away. Normally, you have to invest 200 pieces of gold for the first installation of rolling logs, then they will be reloaded automatically as many times as possible, though every six months later. These two pre-installed rolling logs can’t be displaced, but there’s no need to save some money to install more defensive weapons of that kind. If they should be destroyed by the bombardment of trebuchets or catapults, you won’t be allowed to rebuild them in chapter 7.

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This picture above (though a detail of the final invasion) is showing the principle of the combined strategy of rolling logs and pitch traps; the enemy is passing straight on through this infernal area dying in flames.’To be on the safe side, I also ordered about six pikemen and swordsmen (defensive stance!) outside the gatehouse waiting there as hidden reserves to intercept those robust attackers who entered the “intentionally inviting gaps”. If some enemy pikemen or swordsmen should get on to your walls yet, keep cool! Just send a group of warrior monks there beating them off.

Don’t forget to put ballistae on each tower and finance this placement through the sale of iron or surplus stone. Fight off all following invasions by applying the same tactics. With an increasing number of your garrison, your castle will become strong enough to repulse each imminent invasion, even if they should deploy their terrible trebuchets (these are welcome targets for your ballistae!)

Honour – taxes – popularity

Before I’m going to talk about the last (5th) invasion, I’ll have to make a few general annotations on the connections and the relationship with honour, taxes, food and ale consumption:

Probably in this chapter, it’s a more efficient and time-saving strategy to purchase ale than to build up a time-consuming ale industry with hops farms and breweries. Of course, depending on your amount of gold, buy in about 30 or 40 ale barrels that should last for a while to make your people feel happy. Click on your inn and a specific box will appear. There you can adjust ale consumption by pulling the slider to the left (for less) or to the right (for higher ale consumption). It won’t do any harm to control your ale provisions from time to time with regard to a constantly high popularity. This next picture with view of the western courtyard, demonstrates a well-functioning combination of civilian and military buildings.

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To collect honour points, you should erect two pig farms, the Lord’s kitchen and one eel pond. For the Lady’s bedchamber you will need some articles of clothing, as you know, fine feathers make fine birds. Thus, place two sheep farms and weavers providing you with additional honour points, too. Perhaps you will notice the Lord visiting the Lady for making love…but we have to keep discretion here.

Use granary rationing to balance out the negative effect of the taxes. Extra rations will equalize high taxes; doubled rations will compensate cruel taxes and so on. Therefore, always take care of a well-balanced relationship between higher taxes and food consumption that will have an influence on popularity throughout the game. Besides, honour and gold are the essential conditions for a constant recruitment of military units, be aware of this aspect.

Final invasion

Now, let’s have a look at the biggest challenge in this chapter. The final invasion is still to come and it is more dangerous than the previous before. As usual, the green enemy will erect his siege camp on the southeastern plain, but suddenly he hesitates… What has happened?

When you get the message from Lady Seren, wondering why they aren’t attacking, pause the game. That’s the moment to activate your special suicide task force consisting of warrior monks reinforced by a few swordsmen. Towards the end of the chapter, I had ordered them to the southern protruding cliff that is separating the plain and deployment area.

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Meanwhile, they left this wall of rock moving down to the south-western point as you can see on the picture above being prepared for the teal coloured enemy’s arrival, this time approaching from southwest; it’s exactly that point where this new opponent is about to gather. While they are busy coordinating their troops you should immediately destroy the siege camp. If you should fail, the enemy would deploy his siege equipment – mostly catapults and possibly some trebuchets.

In that case, use your ballistae on the towers to eliminate them. I hope that you have made your defensive preparations like pitch ditches, killing pits, mantraps, and refreshed forces, and then you will be in a strong position to withstand this final onslaught by two opponents at the same time.

It’s a good idea to protect your Lord by some swordsmen as bodyguards in case that a few persistent enemies should break through your wall of defence.

When all hostile troops are dead, you’ll be victorious!

I managed this chapter with an army of approximately 150 men. In detail, I registered about 70 crossbowmen, 30 archers, 20 spearmen, 15 pikemen and 15 swordsmen, to say nothing of my 25 monks rushing to all burning points whenever needed.


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