By Al Giovetti
Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat Walkthrough
Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat
Question: What is Warhammer SOTHR?
Warhammer SOTHR is a real-time fantasy battlefield strategy game which is very challenging. While there are a few shortcomings to the interface, on the whole the game is rewarding and definitely worth playing for anyone who enjoys this type of experience.
Question: How do I win at SOTHR?
Since I haven't seen any kind of FAQ or strategy guide for this game (and I certainly could have used one when I started the game), I thought I'd throw something together which may offer some help. I have no intention of being comprehensive, just helpful (hopefully). Of course, what I'm suggesting here works for me, but you may have your own strategies which may work just as well or better. The game is quite winnable once you learn how to strategize and perform the necessary tactical maneuvers as the battle progresses. It is a difficult game to learn how to win, but of course that's what you have the save and restore game options for ;). Once you've mastered it using the principles described below (and practiced a bit with the somewhat awkward interface), you may decide the game is too easy. If anyone wants to contribute more information to this FAQ, please email me and I'll include it (email@example.com).
Actually, it took me a long time to learn the principles I'm sharing here, and a lot of frustration. It's only because I enjoy this game so much that I took the time to learn this stuff. I even cheated by using my hex-editor the first time through just so that I wouldn't get completely discouraged. But by the time I got to the end I found I'd learned the game well enough to win without cheating, so that's exactly what I did the second time through. Hopefully, with the help of this guide you'll be able to tackle the game without the initial frustrations that I suffered. I'm assuming you learned the mechanics of the game from the manual, so I won't rehash information that you already have.
Question: What are the most important principles of the game that the manual doesn't tell you about?
Answer: It's all detailed below, but the two most important
principles the book doesn't tell you about are:
Personally, I'd love to see a lot of people start enjoying this game, so maybe there will be a sequel! It really is a wonderful game, even with a few flaws.
Good luck, and may the Winds of Magic always blow your way! Bill Tindall -------------------------------------------
Strategy Tips: -------------------------------------------
1. Embark on the campaigns in this order:
-First, the human missions around Wissenheim. They allow you to acquire some much needed troops and gain much needed experience points. I recommend you perform all of these missions, though you can skip them if you want to as soon as you meet the dwarves and Ceridan. Or wait until you get the mortars and then skip the rest. But don't get discouraged! Some of the hardest missions of the game are in this section.
-Second, the Dwarf defense of Zhufbar. You are going to need dwarf help to pass through the mountains and complete the Elf missions later.
-Third, the Elf missions in Loren. You need to perform these before you can get to the final battle.
Along the way, don't let anyone bully you into hurrying. You have plenty of time to take on extra missions. Remember, YOU are the Commander. Take on anything that's profitable.
2. Avoid going on the offensive whenever possible.
As in real battlefield warfare, it's easier to defend than attack. In fact, this is doubly true in SOTHR. There are only a few missions where you have to take an offensive approach, and these should be handled very carefully, one step at a time. Except in such cases, and in the very earliest missions when the forces at your disposal are limited, the most important rule for every battle is to line up your forces in defensible and reinforceable positions, bringing maximum fire power to bear on the approaching enemy.
Keep these principles in mind:
-Arranging your defensive line prior to the battle (or at the start of the battle, if you're under ambush) is usually the key to winning. About the only time when this is not true is when you're required to protect someone or something, but even then you must have a good strategy for coordinated attack.
-Place your reserves in a position to reinforce the most likely points of attack.
-Place your wizard(s) in position to get a clear shot at the enemy. If any of your troops get in the way of your wizard's attacks, you can kiss them goodbye.
-I like putting the Wizards on the right and left flanks of my defensive line. From there they get a good shot at the approaching enemy troops while they're less likely to become targets themselves. If an enemy regiment approaches him, make the wizard move back and move a fighting unit to protect him. Although you can have three wizards later in the game, you'll never want to use more than two (if that) in a single battle. There just aren't enough magic points available.
-Place missile units at or slightly behind your line of defense so that they can maintain continual fire on the approaching enemy. Later in the game, the Imperial Cannon and the Wood Elf Archers are especially good at tearing the enemy apart as they advance. Some units need a clear line of fire and some don't, so arrange them accordingly.
-The heart of your defensive line should be infantry. These units are cheap (generally) and thus more expendable. Let them take the hits from enemy missile units if necessary and the brunt of the enemy's charges. Once the infantry is engaged in hand-to-hand combat, it's time to send in your reserves to crush the unfortunate attackers. There are other reasons why this strategy works best. Infantry, especially dwarves, are slower to move and respond to orders than any other units, so they perform much better when all they have to do is hold a position. Also, if they go into retreat, they are less likely to completely run off the battlefield before they rally, since they're moving slowly. Then you can bring them back into the fight.
-Use your cavalry and other quick moving units (such as Ceridan) as reserves. Place them in position to reinforce the expected point of attack. When the infantry starts hand-to-hand, cavalry can enter the fight quickly, attack the enemy's flank, and turn the tide of battle. Alternatively, cavalry or other fast moving units can be used as decoys to draw the enemy off from key points on the battlefield, or to draw the enemy into an arranged fight with your infantry. (I've found the book's suggestion on page 100 that you "Use your cavalry regiments to hold back the enemy while your slower infantry regiments come into play" to be a recipe for disaster. Nine times out of ten the fight will already be decided by the time you can get that slow infantry involved, if ever. Instead, let the enemy come to you. Also, it's all well and good to hide units somewhere on the battlefield and then bring them out in surprise, as the book suggests, but remember that once they are revealed they can come under enemy missile attack. Your cavalry is safer if you place in on your own flanks or behind your lines so it will be ready when you need it and can attack without suffering hits.)
-Use the Amber Wizard to slow down the enemy (with the Curse of Anraheir or the Tangling Thorn). While he slows or holds them, your missile units can pulverize them.
-Turn off the AI for your defensive units, so they don't engage too soon. Once a formation is broken it's difficult to put back together in the heat of battle. After they're engaged you can usually turn the AI back on. Remember that the enemy's charges, although they sound terrifying, have no special effect if your defenders are facing the charge (except with monsters such as Rat Ogres).
-Don't attack or defend uphill when you can help it. Your units will have a disadvantage fighting, and your missile units will have a hard time hitting the enemy (they may just fire into the side of the hill!).
3. Focus your efforts on doing as much damage as possible prior to engaging in hand-to-hand combat.
One of the best ways to lose your troops is to engage them in close fighting. While this is inevitable much of the time, you want to avoid it as long as possible so that your missile units can do maximum damage first. If you nail the enemy vanguard units with the Curse of Anraheir, for example, the units behind them must also slow down or go around. Blast them all with missile fire. The mortars are particularly useful in this type of situation since they're not very accurate. But if the enemy is bunched up they're easier to score hits on. Try to force the enemy to bunch up and pass through a narrow portion of the battlefield so you can direct all of your missile and magic fire on that sector, creating an effective "killing zone", and sending the enemy units into confusion.
4. You can't micromanage everything on the battlefield, so once you get things setup, spend most of your time with your most important units.
The most important unit of the game is the Amber Wizard, thanks to the value of his spells and the fact that he is with you from early on and long enough to build up maximum experience points. And, he's cheap! Make sure he is not killed in any battle, because he is impossible to replace until after Zhufbar. If you lose him, you may want to quit and restore the previous battle. He can do more damage than anyone else, especially if he has the Flock of Doom spell, so make sure you pick out his targets and use the most appropriate spells. Even more important, he is also indispensable at taking on the enemy Shamans, Seers, Trolls, Ogres, and Giants with the Hunting Spear spell. You can keep him out of the way of nasty enemy charges with the Flying Bower spell, if you get it. The only problem with the Flying Bower is that just when you need it you may find there are no magic power points available—OOPS!
After your wizards, keep close tabs on your missile units. They have a tendency to target a regiment, and then stop firing when that regiment comes into hand-to-hand combat, thus doing nothing for precious minutes. When that happens, you need to redirect their target to something they can shoot at clearly. Also, make sure their missiles are hitting their targets. They may just be shooting into the side of a hill ineffectually and you'd better do something about it.
The Dwarf Gyrocopters are worthless without constant personal attention, and you can really only use one at a time. Keep the others back out of harm's way until you need them.
Also, pay attention to your strategic map to determine what areas of the battle you need to intervene in. When an enemy charge approaches your defensive line, you need to intervene to concentrate your forces appropriately. Protect your missile units, and hold back your reserves until the enemy is committed. Then send in the reserves quickly, preferably upon the enemy's flank or rear, to turn the tide of battle.
5. The Enemy troops are different and each type of unit requires a different strategy for destroying it.
Goblins, for example, are fast but tend to gather in large groups. Best to attack them with mortar fire and especially arrows since they go down easily, or at least the smaller Goblins do. If they're riding on wolves then zap them with the Curse of Anraheir. They almost always break and run. The same with Orcs on boars.
The Orc Big'uns are particularly nasty in close fighting, so avoid hand-to-hand with them. They are good candidates for the Tangling Thorn if you have it, but be especially careful not to let any units engage them while they are tangled. Since they can't retreat under such circumstances, they'll fight to the last Big'un, taking as many of your guys with them as possible. Instead, hit them with missiles and spells. In any case, try not to let a regiment of Big'uns get close to any of your forces unless under ideal conditions (i.e., you charge them from the rear and/or you've already decimated them with missile fire).
Monsters will strike fear in any regiment, so don't send any regiments against them. Instead, let your Amber Wizard take them out with Hunting Spears.
The same goes for enemy wizards of various types, seers and shamans. Infantry and cavalry will probably not fare well against them. Kill them as soon as possible with Hunting Spears. The only missile unit which I've found to be at all effective against them are the Wood Elf Archers. Even direct hits by artillery don't seem to kill them. Grey Seers are especially dangerous when they use the Madness spell, which can turn your own forces against you. Make killing them your number one priority going into the battle.
Skaven are somewhat of a mixed bag. The Skaven Slaves are sent at you basically to wear you out. Knowing that, you want to avoid letting them do it. Use mortars and arrows on them when possible. If you have to fight hand-to-hand, try to rout them quickly in preparation for the units that follow. Don't let your units waste time tracking them down when they're fleeing, if you can help it.
Stormvermin, on the other hand, are very nasty to get entangled with. So avoid getting entangled whenever possible. Don't even send in a unit to finish off a battered Stormvermin regiment that has Warpfire Throwers, unless you want to lose your unit. Such Stormvermin are really missile firing units with Warpfire that tends to blow up when they are defeated, killing any of your guys that are close. The best weapon against Stormvermin with Warpfire is the Dwarf Gyrocopter which can sneak in behind them and blast them with steam continuously until the Stormvermin blow themselves up. Once you attack a Stormvermin regiment with Gyrocopter steam, keep after it relentlessly even after it starts to flee, until it blows up in green flame. Your Gyrocopter should be safe from the explosion since it's elevated. If you don't have a Gyrocopter, send your wizards after the Stormvermin, but only after you've first dealt with enemy wizards, the greater threat. In general, arrows are not very effective against the tough-skinned Stormvermin, so expect a difficult time if you have to go after them with bowmen.
Enemy artillery units, such as Doom Divers and Rock Lobbers, should be dealt with last, after you've defeated all other enemy units. In other words, stay out of range of enemy artillery as much as possible in the first part of the battle. All the rest of the regiments coming at you are enough to keep you busy. You've got to get those enemy wizards and roving missile units taken care of first. Then when you've defeated the onslaught in detail, and only then, send appropriate units to kill the artillery. The Dwarf Gyrocopter is great at this since they won't able to hit it as it swoops in to pulverize them with steam. If you don't have one of those, send in your fastest units to charge the enemy. Spread out your forces and send them all in at once to rush the enemy and engage in hand-to-hand combat as soon as possible. You can even pick an expendable unit to send first (all enemy artillery will target it) and after they open fire, slip in some other units to finish the job.
Dragons: don't even think about trying to fight one. You can use the Curse of Anraheir on one, however, to slow down the Dragon's attacks.
6. The dwarves are your best friends and won't steer you wrong.
Best of all, they pay well, so they are naturally good allies for mercenary armies to have. You can't ignore the Elves in order to finish the game, but the dwarves will help you with that as well.
7. Base the amount of resources you devote to a mission on how much you are getting paid for it, under the following conditions.
Always save the game before starting a mission. On some missions you won't need to fight any battles, so you'll want to save money by not assigning any more regiments to fight than you have to. Do a restore and try it again.
Early in the game when you are fighting around Wissenheim, you will need practically all the troops you can muster for every fight, with a couple of exceptions. After you get the mortars you won't need them for every battle, nor every other unit all the time afterwards. Use the wizard effectively, and you'll be OK. Let the offer of payment be your guide. If you are offered 800 crowns to do a job, make sure your expenses come in less than, but not too much less than 800 crowns. The money you are offered around Wissenheim is fair and should enable you to make at least a small profit with nearly every mission. More important are the experience points you earn by completing these missions and the troops you hire along the way.
When fighting for the Dwarves, remember that they always pay more than what you need to make a profit. Expect to make a great deal of money on the defense of Zhufbar, and you won't need to use all your troops on the missions. The exception is the one time they pay you for each man you're able to field. Send everybody on that one and make a real financial killing!
When fighting for the Elves, remember that they always pay less than what you need to make a profit. This is not so much because the Elves are cheap but because you've amassed a large army (hopefully) by this time that you have to support with retainers. In fact, it's when fighting for the dwarves that you make more than enough money to cover your costs in fighting for the Elves. When you get a mission from the Elves in which they offer 500 gold crowns, expect to spend 600 or 700 crowns just to get the job done. Even so, all of the Elf missions are worthwhile and most of them are required. Don't worry though. If you performed well for the dwarves you should have been able to amass over 10,000 crowns after you arrive in Loren and get paid there, more than enough to complete the game successfully.
Remember that you can't assign more than 13 regiments to any one mission, so don't get too concerned if you lose one or two regiments. Actually, it may serve you well to have lost a couple in the game so you don't have to keep paying them a retainer (or you can always fire them). The Grudgebringer Cavalry is required and the Amber Wizard is practically essential until you can acquire other wizards later in the game. Most of the other units are not essential (though I'd hate to go into the final battle without at least two canon and the Elf Archers, and either good cavalry or a Gyrocopter).
8. One of the best refinements in this game is the way the missiles are fired on the battlefield. The missiles behave as they would on a real battlefield. They go up in the air and go down in an arc or else they hit something on the way, realistically. Each type of unit fires differently. Plan appropriately.
With this in mind, prepare your missile attacks. It does no good, for example, to hide a canon behind a cliff, because all it will do is fire into the cliff. Instead, hide the mortar behind the cliff because it fires up into the air and over the cliff.
Archers also shoot into the air, especially longbows. Your longbows may be able to fire over an obstacle that your crossbows would fire directly into.
So mount your straight-firing canon on the tops of hills. Put your mortars behind the hill so they can fire over it from protection. Crossbows should go with the canon, and longbows with the mortars. Elf Archers are effective from just about anywhere, unless the target really is shielded from them completely. But of course, you have to watch the Elves closely since they like to advance on their target, exposing themselves to counter attack. (Stupid Elves! They really need a baby-sitter!)
Wizards are really the most stupid of all the missile units, however. You have to give them plenty of room to work and don't let any friendly units get in front of them. If you place an infantry unit in front of your Amber Wizard, for example, and let him attack an enemy regiment continuously with Hunting Spears, he'll happily launch spear after spear into your infantry until they've been wiped out and he can proceed to wipe out the next unit that gets in his way. The other wizards are no better. That's one of the big reasons why you have to manage wizards carefully. Also, the idiots are going to keep firing their least effective spells at approaching enemy regiments, unless you manage them closely and make them use an appropriate spell. For example, the Amber Wizard should use the Hunting Spear against single person regiments like wizards and trolls, while the Flock of Doom is much more effective against masses of infantry like Goblin Stickers and Skaven Slaves.
9. Make sure you don't miss the magic items in the game; they are very important. There is a complete list below, if you don't want to search every single battlefield. Even if you don't make money, a mission can be worthwhile if you acquire a magic item. Make sure your most important units acquire the items and can use them appropriately. For example, it does little good to give the Dread Banner to a Wizard, because wizards never charge at anyone.
10. Often you can't control whether your units chase after a routed enemy regiment to finish it off, but sometimes you should try to stop them and sometimes you shouldn't.
Don't chase after Warpfire-toting Stormvermin, which blow up, or Plague Monks, which keep firing filth even when running away. Your pursuers will pay a heavy price.
When your units are needed elsewhere, naturally you'll want to rally them as soon as possible to send them where they're needed.
Otherwise, when you've got an enemy regiment on the run, that's the best time to finish them off. Rarely will they score any hits on your forces while they're running away and they're easy targets. Killing them increases the experience levels of your units and prevents the enemy from rallying later and coming back at an inopportune time. I hate it when an enemy unit flees and then suddenly finds it in itself to rally just when it's passing by my vulnerable missile units!
When enemy units are fleeing across the battlefield, even after you've won the battle, track them down and finish them off. You get the extra experience points which allow your forces to improve their skills. Missile units will target fleeing regiments if you order it. Otherwise, direct a fast unit to move across the path of a fleeing enemy and run them down.
Dwarves are so slow they won't catch any enemy units that are fleeing, so always try to rally the dwarves ASAP and put an end to their futile pursuit.
11. Be sure to space your artillery units far enough apart so that they don't blow up! This includes mortars, canons, and hellblasters. You should be able to easily fit about two good sized infantry units in between each artillery unit, or else the artillery units stand a good chance of blowing themselves up when the battle commences.
At the same time, if you space your artillery units too far apart they are harder to defend and one of them will invariably be out of position to fire at the most crucial moments. So space them and place them carefully.
12. Pay close attention to terrain so you can use it to your advantage. Spy out the land before the battle starts, if possible.
I once used the Celestial Wizard's Wind Blast spell to hold off an entire army for 10 minutes and as the enemy units went the long way around they were easily picked off one by one by my missile units. Two Orc Archer units remained and it looked like it would be an easy and glorious victory, but the archers wouldn't die no matter how many arrows and cannon shot I threw at them, after the Wind Blast was removed. Only after I took a number of casualties, including my Celestial Wizard killed by those archers, did I look closely at the terrain and discover that the enemy archers were standing in a low place behind a hill. My missile units kept hitting the front of the hill without doing much damage, while the enemy archers were firing freely from behind their protection. I ended up sending a unit of cavalry to trounce them. But if only I'd looked at the terrain I could have placed some of my own archers down along the enemy archers' flank where they could have had a clear shot. Or I could have nailed them with appropriate magic spells which are not limited by terrain. Instead I lost a wizard and some other valuable men.
Of course, if the enemy can do something like this, why not do the same to him back? Hide your units so they can't be hit by missile fire until they are needed. Let your mortars fire from completely out of site so they remain safe. If your wizard casts his spells while hidden behind trees, no one will ever touch him. This game is very good at making realistic use of the terrain and it should be easy for you to take advantage of this better than the computer opponent does.
13. Read the books in Dietrich's wagon. Only there can you get current information about races, spells, magic items, and the abilities of your own troops. You especially need to know how to use the magic items if you want to be effective. Read about every new item you get.
14. Hire everybody you can (unless you're really short of money).
The best units are the ones you don't have to pay. I usually assign those to nearly every mission, unless their numbers are decimated and you need to give their wounded time to recover.
I have completed the game twice while hiring every possible unit I could. You may be running a bit short of money at the time you reach Nuln for the first time, however. In that case, you don't need to hire everyone there. Some of the units are expensive. If you've got enough healthy infantry, you can skip the Greatswords or the Halberders. They are both good but expensive units. Make sure you do hire the artillery units, however.
Remember that if you've lost a lot of troops, the good part is that you don't have to keep paying them. The only unit you can't lose is the Grudgebringer Cavalry, of course. Everybody else can be replaced.
Notes about managing your troops ------------------------------------------
Just as there are different types of enemies you have to know how to deal with, the forces you command are equally diverse. Success often depends on whether you use your forces wisely, so here are some tips on how to do so.
These are the most important units of the game, so manage them carefully all the time. You really only need one wizard on the battlefield at any given moment, and more than one in action means thinly spread availability of magic power points. I won't repeat all that I said above about wizards, but here are a few other things to remember.
Make sure you save your magic points for the most crucial spells. If you tell your Amber Wizard to continuously attack a regiment, he will use the Curse of Anraheir and Hunting Spears. But the Hunting Spears' effectiveness against masses of infantry is not always satisfactory. Let him use the Flock of Doom in such situations if you have it. And don't ignore the Tangling Thorn which can stop a powerful unit. The enemy's front unit, if halted, will block the ones behind it from proceeding. And don't let the Celestial Wizard waste all of his power points on ineffectual lightning. The Storm of Shemrek can turn the tide of battle, while the Wind Blast can halt an advancing army, and I've seen it happen.
Make sure an enemy is in range before trying to cast a spell on him. Otherwise, you've wasted the magic power points. You'll have to learn from experience what the wizard's maximum distance for spell casting is. Only if you tell him to continuously attack a regiment will he actually move himself into position (but then at least you'll know when he's in range!).
Most important of all about wizards, make sure your other units already have their marching orders from the start so you can spend as much of your time as possible managing the wizard closely. Work with him carefully and he can win many of your battles for you almost single-handedly.
For some reason, although the book says that cavalry will have a movement rate of 8, in actuality it's only 4. But the cavalry are faster than the infantry anyway over most terrain. Hopefully there will be a bug fix for this.
I find it much easier to maneuver cavalry around the battlefield than infantry. They respond more quickly and seem faster at moving into position. Use them to charge the enemy's flanks. Some cavalry units will give you a bonus when charging.
Use the magic power of the Grudgebringer sword to send fireballs prior to hand-to-hand.
The heart of your army. Use them to setup a defensive line as described above. There are several excellent infantry units available in the game, both human and dwarf. The Grudgebringer infantry only becomes really good if you build up enough experience points for them (which is hard to do—it's cheaper to field dwarf infantry instead). Dwarf infantry is good but really slow moving.
Larger formations of infantry are especially difficult to manage on the battlefield. They don't maneuver very well, and you can spend half the battle just trying to get them into position. So don't waste time with that. Let the enemy come to you while you pulverize them with missile units, then meet them with your infantry. Let the infantry hold them while your cavalry rushes in to finish them off. Piece of cake, right?
4. Archers (Crossbows, Longbows, Archers)
It's a good idea to watch the flights of arrows to make sure they are hitting their targets.
Crossbows have a good strength skill, so they should be able to bring down some of the tougher enemy troops. I had a hard time trying to get the Mercenary Crossbows (available early in the game) to advance in experience, but it's worth it if you can do it. They can hit the enemy without getting hit back, which is what bowmen do best. The key is to make sure they are well within range when they fire. Otherwise their arrows will fall short and do no damage.
The Longbows are more effective in some ways, mostly, I think, because they fire higher into the air and over obstacles. However, their bows are less effective strength-wise.
It's not until you get the Wood Elf Archers that you find out what archers can really do. As long as they don't have an obstacle in their way, they can tear enemy formations apart with their accurate, rapid fire.
Set your archers in position to bring maximum fire power on the enemy while not exposing themselves to the same thing. From on top of a hill their effectiveness is increased while the enemy's is significantly diminished. If they are just behind a hill, they are extremely difficult for the enemy to hit but their own effectiveness is not much diminished.
Archers are best used against infantry regiments which have limited armor and move relatively slowly.
This includes mortars, canons, and the Hell Blaster.
You can't get enough of these. Mortars are inaccurate but great at eliminating large formations of advancing infantry. Try to get the enemy infantry to bunch up in one place and the mortars will be three times as effective.
The two canon pieces you can get in the game are excellent, especially the Imperial Great Canon Crew. They love to chew up advancing infantry with deadly accuracy. The Hell Blaster is not as good, but still useful when the final battle rolls around.
Remember to space your artillery weapons out as described above to avoid having them blow up. There is still a chance they will blow up anyway, though. As long as the unit is still in existence, it will be repaired. So if the weapon is destroyed, get the surviving members out of harm's way to save them for the next battle.
Protect your artillery from enemy attack as well as you can, but put the artillery in strategic positions from which to fire. Canons fire in a relatively straight line, mortars fire up into the air.
Don't be afraid to use him whenever you can. Ceridan seems to be about the only indestructible unit in the game (dragons excepted). He may get defeated on the field, but the worst that happens to him is that he's only wounded (he's too crucial to the plot to let die). If you let him take the Dread Banner, he can run around panicking enemy regiments. However, Ceridan will often be unavailable to you until the latter part of the game, so don't give him too many magic items, at least not until you get to Loren.
7. Dwarf Gyrocopters
These can be very useful against relatively immobile and/or missile firing enemy troops. The key to the Gyrocopters is to send them against regiments that won't charge them and lock them into hand-to-hand combat. They are best used against enemy missile units of all types, especially artillery and Stormvermin with Warpfire.
The catch is that you have to manage them all the time. Using their steam gun effectively means a lot of clicking the mouse. If any enemy manages to engage a Gyrocopter in hand-to-hand combat, order the Gyrocopter to retreat immediately (no enemy regiment can catch it). Keep the Gyrocopters completely out of harm's way when you are not using them.
Use a Gyrocopter at those times when the action is less intense, and you have extra time to manage them. When things heat up elsewhere on the battlefield, send the Gyrocopter to some safe corner of the map out of harm's way until you have time to use it.
Mission help (under construction) -------------------------------------------
Here are a few words of advice regarding many of the specific missions from the earlier part of the game. Of course, you don't need to perform all these missions to complete the game (but where's the fun?). The more missions you attempt, the easier it will be to win the game later.
1. Protect Schnappleburg
Do what the book tells you, it's straightforward, except don't forget to retrieve your first magic item before finishing the mission (see below).
2. Escort to Holst
First ambush is easy. Second ambush, engage as quickly as possible, make sure crossbowmen fire at clear targets, not hitting your troops accidentally. Biggest challenge is fending off enemy on your right flank in time to engage units coming from the north.
3. Sven Carlsson
Your first real chance to implement the strategy principles outlined above. Don't bother to try to save Hiln (you can't). Might as well attack Hiln's guard first, then line up in a defensive position to face the Clanrat warriors. Don't forget magic item.
Setup defensive line as battle commences. Good time to practice maneuvers. Apparently, if you let some from the first battle escape you get to fight a second one with the possibility of making more money. I'm not sure what the exact conditions are for fighting the second battle, though.
5. Rescue Ilmarin
Don't get too caught up in rescuing the dwarves, you don't have to. Probably the best thing you can do for them is use your own units effectively. You now have 2 missile units including Allor. Place your crossbows as far to the northeast as possible to give them a clear shot at enemy regiments. Use Allor's Hunting Spear spell to take out the Rat Ogre. If you decide to attack rather than just defend, don't do it piecemeal. Coordinate your Infantry and Cavalry.
I suggest that you give the Shield of Ptolos to Allor—it offers protection against missile fire.
6. Orc Pursuit
Most difficult mission yet, but should not be hard for you if you follow the above tactics. Be sure to concentrate your forces when you engage.
You will not be ambushed so take Grudgebringer Cavalry only, to save money. A decision for revenge means working for Carlsson for a while. You can skip this and go straight to Zhufbar, but you won't be nearly as well prepared for Zhufbar. You don't have enough of an army yet to go straight to Loren, so if you're reckless enough to try it you're on your own. I've heard that some players have gone directly to Loren successfully, but if you do that you miss half the game!
Carlsson Guard troops are not especially good but they can fortify your defensive line. You lose them before going to Zhufbar, so don't work on building up their experience points. Put the Guards in harm's way but send in your regulars to do the killing. Or to put it another way, lead them to water but don't let them drink.
9. Against the grain
This one is tougher thanks to the fact that you have to go on offense. Still, you should be able to draw the enemy to you, one or two regiments at a time. The rest should be easy.
The good part is that enemy units will be attacking buildings and therefore not be available all at once to turn on you when your units surprise them. I suggest taking the southern route and falling on the enemy rear, then advancing in an orderly fashion (as always) until you've methodically wiped out every unit. Don't worry if a couple of buildings are lost: your pay is only diminished slightly. It's more important to keep your regiments in tact. Also, you might have to take a slight financial loss on this one.
10. Bridge over River Weiss
I'm unsure what effect actually stopping them from crossing the bridge has on the outcome of the game. I would say it's best to let some enemy units get away rather than lose some of your own troops unnecessarily. If you insist on trying to stop them all, the Curse of Anraheir can slow down the lead unit enough to catch it with your cavalry.
In any case, use the mortars to target large infantry regiments and the wizard to slow down or stop units. The greatest threats to your own troops are the rear units in the enemy column. Send cavalry and infantry against them and let your missile units and wizard try to pick off as many from the front of the column as possible.
11. Slave Train
This mission is worthwhile because of the magic item. Also, you will get some payment if you do it and every participating unit will get 2x experience points.
Mortars are worthless in this mission (they'd just hit the slaves). You shouldn't need too many troops to complete it successfully.
Special hint: if you use the Tangling Thorn spell on the Goblin Stickers they will just disappear—use the spell on all three groups: then you only have to fight the wolf units. But the wizard doesn't get any experience points for it.
12. Shattered Pass
Final battle around Wissenheim: let the killing begin! You probably need every unit for this except for infantry. The Carlsson units should be enough (if your Carlsson units are still in reasonably good shape).
Setup your defensive line in the narrow pass to the southeast and you should have ample opportunity to shell the attackers with mortar fire. Might at well place everyone at the bottom of the hill since otherwise you'll be fighting on the hill at a disadvantage. Let Hunting Spears take out the troll. The rest is easy. Rush the three units that stay in the northwest after all the others are killed. Don't forget the magic item before you move on.
13. March to Zhufbar
No battles on the first leg. Assign cavalry only.
Go to Zhufbar to get the most out of the game, though of course you can go straight to Loren, which is a significantly more difficult but faster route.
14. March to Zhufbar
Second leg of journey will prove more challenging. Mortars will be useless so leave them behind. When ambushed, form into defensive line out of range of enemy artillery. Fight off the onslaught (kill the enemy wizard with Hunting Spears) and then charge the Rock Lobber when it's safe. What? Still too hard? Well I can't do everything for ya. Restore and try it again.
All right, try this: Send your cavalry way out in front while you organize your defensive line so that all enemy regiments target it and chase it. Then call the cavalry back around behind your line (before they can be engaged, of course). The Orc regiments will keep going after your cavalry, so your defenders need only lie in wait. Setup your units lying in wait to attack the enemy flanks when the time comes. That leaves only the enemy wizard to defeat (easier said than done, I know). Hopefully your wizard can finish him off before he gets too close.
From this point you're on your own.
Good Luck! -------------------------------------------
Wish list -------------------------------------------
I've become fond of SOTHR, but there are some problems and room for improvement. Here are a few thoughts.
The interface still definitely needs some tweaking. It's a problem when you click a button only to find that the button changed its function suddenly, basically giving the opposite order of the one you wanted to give. When you try to click on Attack, there is a chance the button will suddenly change to Retreat and your forces will become easy prey for the enemy.
Another problem is that units are difficult to select. I would like to see some kind of window that opens up and lets you select a specific unit. If several units are close together it's very difficult to get the one you want by clicking on the map, and when you thought you selected one, you actually got another. Also, when you give marching orders, you may have thought you were done giving the order and so you click on another unit, not realizing that by clicking on the other unit you countermanded the order you just gave. That makes the interface very hard to get used to, especially for a beginner.
The learning curve in the game is very steep. You win the first few battles without much difficulty, but then suddenly you are thrown into some very difficult ones and after repeated failures, you want to just give up and return the game to the store from which it came. That's too bad, because the game really is worth learning. There's a whole lot of substance in it.
The manual could be better for finding information in. How hard could it be to just put an index in the back of it? Most word processors will do that for you automatically. Well, I know that problem isn't going to get fixed—nobody ever changes the manual. But I'd like to see it done right for the next game. Otherwise the manual is pretty good, except for the hints on strategy which are not only not helpful but can actually make the game much more difficult if you try to follow them.
I like the way formations are handled in the game—nothing complicated, but it's flexible enough to give you some control. But I wouldn't mind seeing some more advanced options for giving troops orders. For example, I'd like to see the ability to give a unit an order to defend a certain area on the map and attack anything that enters it. Better yet, I would like to be able to order one unit to guard another unit. Of course, this may be a problem like when I want a regiment to guard a wizard and they get in the way of his spells. Perhaps if they took up position behind him until needed…
The AI for the wizards is too limited. He will keep casting the same spell over and over, even though he could use other, more effectual ones. At least I would like to be able to order him to continuously attack using a PARTICULAR spell of my choosing, if nothing else. Also, the wizard should realize when there are friendly units in the path of his spell and refrain from casting it, as the archers are able to refrain when the enemy is locked in hand-to-hand combat with friendly troops.
I hate having to switch my display to 256 colors to run the game (though I wouldn't mind if my video card could do it on the fly). Also, the game keeps setting my MIDI music to maximum (very annoying).
MOST OF ALL, I would like to see a scenario editor for this game which allows you to create your own battles. Or at least I'd like to see a sequel to the current game. In conjunction with this, there could be a two player option via modem or network.
Warhammer: SOTHR is so close to being a breakthrough game, with the potential of being very popular if it just wasn't so frustrating at times. All the essentials are in place, and it offers so much more strategic depth and challenge than the other real-time games out there, easily beating Command and Conquer and Warcraft, in my book. The AI in those games just does not compare, nor does the storyline, nor does the realism. Granted, you can get scenario editors and/or two player modes with other such games, and SOTHR lacks these. But really, all this game needs to become a major hit is a little interface tweaking and an easier learning curve. That would eliminate the majority of the frustration. Probably if it included a strategy guide with the game, one that actually helped, that would improve the learning curve. Adjustable difficulty levels might serve even better to make all of us happy. ---------------------------------------
STEPHEN 'DURIN' DI CIANO's Magic Items list follows in his posting to the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic newsgroup. Since he posted it publicly, I trust he doesn't mind my reposting it here with proper credit given. It's very helpful, and with this list you don't have to waste your time scanning every map for a magic item.
Magic Item locations for Warhammer: ----------------------------------
Hi, so Warhammer's a bit ard' for ya eh? Eres some help...
*BTW there are 18 magic Items in the game.
*It is not possible (unless cheating) to obtain all the items.
*Each mission is of the form BF0XX in the \SCRIPT. Objective K in a mission indicates a magic item can be found. The second number indicates what item. Note - missions can be edited.
These are in the approximate order that you may find them-
10- SwordOfMight (BF003) ------------------------
This item is in the very first mission. Found to the right of the clump trees in the centre of the map. Should probably give to infantry, as cav have a sword. But remember bonuses are cumulative.
11- DragonBlade (BF001) -----------------------
Found in the sleaquit assassin mission, behind the house, near the snowman. Give to cavalry.
6- ShieldOfPtolos -----------------
Found in the rescue of Illmarin mission, near the rock to the west.
8- SwordOfHeroes (BF004-4) --------------------------
In one of the Carson missions where you rescue slaves at night. The item is behind the building.
7- PotionOfStrength (BF004-5) -----------------------------
This item is in the NE corner of the map in the last Carlson mission.
3- BannerOfWrath or PotionOfStrength (BF018) --------------------------------------------
The mission is the suicidal troll mission to Loren. This excellent Banner is supposed to be in this mission, but in my game it isn't. It is due to 'objective: X' in the file making the potion appear instead, but I don't know why this was done (maybe its buggy). The Banner seemed to work fine for me. The item is near the 2nd stream of lava on the east wall. This mission is a waste of money unless the item can be obtained.
4- BannerOfArcaneProtection or PotionOfStrength (BF019) -------------------------------------------------------
This mission is the skaven suicidal mission to Loren. Problems same as troll mission. Item is near the two rocks.
0- BannerOfArcaneWarding or PotionOfStrength (BF012) ----------------------------------------------------
This mission is the orc suicidal mission to Loren. Problems same as troll mission. Item is near rock to NE of the map.
5- TalismanOfObsidian (BF028) -----------------------------
This is the 'save sheep in farm from goblins' mission. This item is probably the best in the game, it cancels all magic. The only way to get to this mission is to get to Zhufbar through the mountain pass, not underground. The item is in the far east behind the house. Give to cavalry.
1- BannerOfMight (BF037) ------------------------
This is also a excellent item (adds to combat bonuses) The mission is called Slave Assault. It is one of the missions given to you in Zhufbar. The item is behind a pile of rocks near the north wall.
12- ArmourOfMeteoricIron (BF025) --------------------------------
This item is in the Bandit hideout camp mission after the Decoy mission. You do these missions at Nuln. But if you do any of the bandit mission rather then going to Loren right after talking to the Emporer, you don't get the Reiksgard Knight cavalry unit (your choice). The item is in the far west behind the tents.
2- Dreadbanner (BF033) ----------------------
It is in the Exterminate skaven mission in Karak Norn. An excellent item that makes you cause fear (now you can be the big scary monster). But this mission may well take its toll on ya. Make sure you attack the caves. The item is in the eastern corner, near a cave.
9- ParryingBlade (BF022) ------------------------
This mission(i think) is where you fight heaps of skaven on your way to Loren. I don't think it appears all the time (maybe only if you get the Knights). The item is behind the 3rd rock to the east.
7- PotionOfStrength (BF034) ---------------------------
This potion is in the 'Final Battle?' mission against Urgat. It is near some trees? to the NE, close to your setup area.
Please send us your comments and suggestions.