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 Birthright - The Gorgon's Alliance - Dhoesone Guide

 
   
 
 
Birthright - The Gorgon's Alliance - Dhoesone Guide

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance - Dhoesone Guide [v 1.05]
By LordKarasuman - 2008

===============================================================================

This Guide (Copyright 2008) was made by LordKarasuman. This Guide may not be 
altered in any way without my consent, and may not be distributed without my 
name as author on it. This FAQ may be distributed, but not sold.

===============================================================================

Table of Contents:

[[0. Guide History                  ]]
[[1. Introduction to Birthright     ]]
[[2. Introduction to Dhoesone       ]]
[[3. Dhoesone's Starting Position   ]]
((Regents))
---Baroness Fhiele Dhoesone
---Clumine Dhoesone
((Territory))
((Holdings))
((Troops))
((Neighbors))
((Conclusion))
[[4. Beating the Game (& the Gorgon)]]
((Creating an Income Base))
((Expansion))
((Adventuring))
((Inevitable Showdown: The Gorgon))
((Other Enemies))
[[5. Fun Stuff                      ]]
((Miscellaneous Tricks))
((Selecting a Different Nation))
[[6. Special Thanks                 ]]

===============================================================================

[[0. Guide History                  ]]
9/23/08: v. 1.05 - Removed errors in "Selecting a Different Nation".
9/22/08: v. 1.04 - Revised parts of different sections.
9/19/08: v. 1.03 - Added information to several secions, and split "Fun Stuff"
into two sub-sections.
9/17/08: v. 1.02 - Added a few more tips, and also added to the Special Thanks 
section.
9/15/08: v. 1.01 - Added more tips, and a conclusion sub-section to Dhoesone's
Starting Position.
9/14/08: Added information and tips, and removed incorrect details.
9/13/08: v. 1.00 - Started this guide.

===============================================================================

[[1. Introduction to Birthright     ]]

Birghright is a campaign setting developed for the tabletop RPG known as
Dungeons & Dragons, based around characters known as "scions", who have the
power of the gods flowing through them. This power makes them "blooded", and 
gives them special abilities, the most important of which is a divine 
connection with the land that [normally] makes them natural rulers and leaders.

How did they become blooded? Well, at the Battle of Deismaar, a typical
battle-to-end-all-battles type of battle, the gods themselves fought against 
the evil deity Azrai. Both sides brought their mortal supporters in a titanic
battle that destroyed all the higher beings present. The now-dead gods' power
washed over the survivors of the battle, creating the scions.

Of course, Azrai also died, and his power was not only bestowed on those he 
left behind, but it also managed to transform a good number of them, turning 
them into monstrous powerhouses called Awnsheghlien. The most infamous of 
these is the Gorgon, who  was once known as the corrupted Prince Raesene 
before turning into the unstoppable sword-swinging, magic-slinging behemoth 
that you'll become intimately familiar with as you play this game.

Among the Gorgon's goals, is to kill scions-- slaying anyone blooded improves 
one's bloodline. Unfortunately, the game doesn't replicate this, so the Gorgon
settles for something different-- conquering the continent of Anuire on which
this game takes place. He'll make the map much messier than it would already
look, as anyone who's gone through a run of The Gorgon's Alliance already will
tell you.

So you can see why this game is named after him and his fearsome alliance. It's
one that not only includes him, but also two other rather sizeable nations that
serve as his puppets: the goblin kingdom of Markazor, and the dwarf state of
Mur-kilad. This along with the Gorgon's already-large territory make up the
fearsome Gorgon's Alliance.

It'll be quite the task to oppose him, and the other regents of Anuire, by
taking on the role as regent of a state, yourself. For this guide, we'll be
talking about the northern nation of Dhoesone.

But first off, if you're confused about things, you may want to look at the
Help files. Accessible through F1, "How to Play the Game" will illuminate much
of what you need to know, though throughout this guide you'll find that I
relate basic points anyway.

THIS GUIDE ASSSUMES YOU ARE PLAYING AT EXPERT LEVEL, WITH THE WIN95 VERSION
INSTALLED.

If you wish to know more about the Birthright campaign setting, the "History
and Atlas", also accessible through F1, is more or less "Ruins of Empire",
which is a key portion of the Birthright core rule set. For the five dollars
you'll likely pay for this game, much of it is worth a look on its own.

===============================================================================

[[2. Introduction to Dhoesone       ]]

Taken from the game:
"Half windswept moor and half pine forest, Dhoesone seems a land barely tamed.
Despite its numerous logging camps, it remains home to elf tribes rumored to
live among the pines. The people of the forest act secretive and keep to
themselves for they can feel the guilds' presence among them. They know a
wrong word can cause a "logging accident" for them or their familes. The people
of the moor are shepherds ever wary of the natural dangers like peat bogs,
ravines, Rjurik hunters, and roaming giants. This hardy breed, accustomed to
the wind and harsh land, lives a life only vaguely Anuirean. instead, these
folk seek to emulate the nearby Rjuriks. Though insular, they will share their
unique knowledge with travelers-- for the right coin."

So, Dhoesone is basically a state of lumberjacks, racial tension, and roaming
monsters. Well, there are indeed lumberjack guilds in your country, along with
nationless monster units that spawn in your northern provinces every turn.
Along with that, you've got units at the start that are taken from different
races.

It's your job to make it all work out.

===============================================================================

[[3. Dhoesone's Starting Position   ]]

Of course, to make things work, you need to know exactly what it is you're
starting with. First, we'll begin with the choice of regents you have from the
onset. Nearly all nations start the game with two choices, and Dhoesone is no
exception.

((Regents))

Choosing a regent is a very important decision. In general, you'd probably
want the regent with the stronger bloodline, due to Regency Points (RP). You
get RP equivalent to the level of your bloodline once at the beginning of
every turn.

Why are Regency Points important? For most actions, such as creating a holding
like a guild or taking a diplomatic action, you'll often have the chance of
improving your success rate by using up RP. The more you use, the higher the
success rate, and you can increase your chances all the way up to a 100%
guarantee. Strong bloodlines make this easier.

However, there might be advantages to selecting a different regent if they have
access to powerful magic like Legion of the Dead. This isn't really the case
for Dhoesone, though.

---Baroness Fhiele Dhoesone

Anuirean: True Neutral Level 6 Thief
Major Bloodline: Reynir, 46

STR: 9
INT: 16
DEX: 17
WIS: 12
CON: 13
CHA: 15
THAC0: 18
Armor Class: 1
Starting HP: 32

Armor: Half Plate
Weapon: Rapier
Inventory: Necklace of Missiles (8), Cloak of Protection, Gauntlets of 
  Dexterity, Potion of Extra Healing
Blood Abilities: Divine Aura

Taken from the game:
"Half-elf, proud, and pragmatic, the Baroness bears the burdens of rulership
well. A master thief, she battles with the guilds of the realm for control."

Fhiele's the default regent, an overextended half-elf whose full elf brother
is the only one keeping the Gorgon at bay, while having to walk a fine line in
dealing with internal problems of her own. She's also my preferrred regent of
choice due to her very high bloodline strength of 46, which is more than
enough for the initial part of the game. The ability to use espionage as a
free action (meaning it doesn't take up any of your normal domain actions to
use it, once a turn) is nice as well.

Something I overlooked in previous versions of this guide: Fhiele has an
alignment of "True Neutral". This makes it considerably more convenient to
ally herself with any other domain, landed or otherwise. Sure, you get no
boost at all to your chance of consideration in diplomacy, but a flat 0% is
way more convenient than having a -30% in other places.

---Clumine Dhoesone

Anuirean: Lawful Good Level 3 Wizard
Major Bloodline: Vorynn, 25

STR: 10
INT: 18
DEX: 13
WIS: 14
CON: 17
CHA: 13
THAC0: 20
Armor Class: 8
Starting HP: 24

Armor: Leather Armor
Weapon: Quarterstaff
Inventory: Ring of Protection, Necklace of Missiles (8), Ring of Fire
  Resistance
Blood Abilities: Enhanced Sense
Level 1 Spells: Detect Magic, Reduce, Shocking Grasp - Can cast 2 L1 Spells
Level 2 Spells: Morelf's Poison Arrow - Can cast 1 L2 Spell
Realm Spells: Dispel Magic

Taken from the game:
"A human relative of the Baroness and very loyal to her, he struggles with
others to maintain the ordder in the realm. Because of his deeds, he has a
reputation as a kind and fair man."

Clumine's a fine, upstanding fellow who loyally follows the Baroness, as both
his right-click profile and "The Ruins of Empire" included in the game's help
file will tell you. Unfortunately, his 25 bloodline strength and his piddly
selection of spells and abilities make him an inferior choice to Fhiele. Though
it's possible to learn more spells, so it might be possible to develop him, but
that requires adventuring.

((Territory))

After selecting your regent, it's time to look at what's within your domain.
First we'll look at provincial territory, using this as a legend:

Province Name - X/Y - Terrain
x = Level of development. This level is the maximum level at which Law, Guild,
Castle, and Temple holdings can be developed. A higher level also means better
taxes.
Y = Level of untamed land. This level is the maximum level at which Source
holdings can be developed.

Bjondrig - 1/4 - Plains
Dharilein - 1/4 - Hills
Giant's Fastness - 1/4 - Forest
Hidaele - 2/3 - Plains
Nolien - 3/2 - Plains
Riveside - 2/3 - Plains
Romiene - 1/4 - Plains
Ruidewash - 2/5 - Forest
Sidhuire - 2/5 - Forest
Soniele - 1/6 - Forest
Sonnelind - 4/3 - Forest
Tradebhein - 2/5 - Forest

You've got plenty of territory, most of which would be nice for a wizard.
Unfortunately, Clumine's not a very good one so you'll need to hire a good
Wizard Lieutenant or get Clumine some books.

Sonnelind's the only province capable of creating Knights without using the 
Rule option. Make use of every opportunity to muster if you've got the income
for it.

((Holdings))

Holdings contribute in some manner to your domain, and represent different
things. Law Holdings represent your control of law enforcement. Guild Holdings,
your grasp on the trade and economy of a province. Temples, your strength on
a populace's faith. Sources, your grip on the magical energies flowing
through a (hopefully) untamed land.

There are five key types of holdings: 
-Law Holdings, which allow you to exact more funds through a collection option
assuming they're a high enough level. Along with that, if the level of a
Law Holding is close enough to the level of development in a province, you can
get away with getting higher taxes from them.
-Guild Holdings, which let you open up trade routes between that province and
a province with either a different type of terrain, or a port. The amount of
income provided by a trade route is the average of the development level of
the two provinces in the route. Along with Guild Holdings, a road is normally
needed to establish a trade route.
-Temple Holdings, which allow Priests to cast divine Realm Spells.
-Source Holdings, which give Wizards the ability to cast arcane Realm Spells.
If a leyline is created between two Source Holdings, the highest level between
the two Sources will be applied as the maximum level between both Sources.
-Castles, which serve as detriments to the enemy. Each turn that an opposing
army is present, the Castle will go down one level until it is removed
entirely.

Special types of holdings include:
-Seaports, which allow trade routes to a province with a port regardless of
terrain.
-Wizard's Towers and Strongholds, which are basically Castles with a different
graphic.
-Ruins and the like, basically plot points for Adventures that don't really
impact the overworld gameplay.

If you find that you cannot improve a Holding to the maximum development level
of a province, this is due to the fact that there are other Holdings that are
"taking up levels". For instance, in a 4/1 holding, you might have a Level 2
Law Holding, and another regent might have a Level 1 Law Holding. You can
improve your Law Holding up to 3, but not to 4-- the other regent is taking up
a Level. Therefore, you must contest the other regent's Law Holding.

*Holdings can be contested. Once assisted successfully/opposed unsuccessfully
with RP, an "x" appears under the holding. If the holding is contested one more
time, it is destroyed. There is an exception-- Level 0 Holdings are always
destroyed outright on the first contest.

Dhoesone starts with max-level Sources and Law Holdings that are at least
Level 1 in all the provinces it owns. It has a port in Nolien. It has a Level 4
Castle in Sonnelind. Finally, there's some Ruins in Ruidewash.

((Troops))

Along with Fhiele and Clumine's unit, you start with:
1 Elven Cavalry
1 Unit of Irregulars
2 Elven Archers
2 Knights
and 1 Goblin Infantry

Not exactly the best starting army, but it's enough to deal with the
"nationless" units that show up on the northern provinces (identified as
"Chaos", and they can still actually try and take your provinces), but you
want to convert to an army made entirely of Knights soon.

((Neighbors))

You have two allies and one somewhat antagonistic state surrounding on your
borders. To the south, the goblin kingdom of Thurazor ruled by Tie'skar
Graecher. To the east, the elf lands of Tuarhievel where Fhiele's brother
Fhilereane rules. To the southeast, the guilder state of Cariele.

((Conclusion))

You'll notice that Dhoesone is listed amongst all selectable domains as being
the "Easiest" in terms of difficulty as compared to other domains. This isn't
exactly true.

Sure, Dhoesone has the advantage of a lot of territory, countries to act as
buffers against Awnsheghlien, a regent with a high bloodline strength, and
ownership of all its Sources.

However, keep in mind that the provinces you have aren't the strongest
economically speaking, especially compared to the Mhors, Ghoere, Avanil, and
Boeurine. Aerenwe and Baruk-Azhik have the same benefit of buffer nations with
arguably better economies.

Fhiele isn't the best of Regents, either. She lacks the gimmick that Rogr
(Ilien), Caine (Endier), and Danita (Chimaeron) have of casting Skeletons in
any province where Sources/leylines would allow. In fact, she lacks any
spellcasting of any kind, and Thieves in general don't give me as much
benefit both on the world map and in adventuring as any of the other classes.

Then there's the fact that her bloodline strength isn't as much of a benefit
when you can adventure for items that would improve any weaker regent's
bloodline strength to greater heights.

However, I'd say that Dhoesone is most certainly on the easier side of
domain choices. You can make plenty of trade routes, have three very strong
units at the start in Elven Cavalry and Knights, and Fhiele can improve her
bloodline strength through adventuring too (and improve her bloodline to gain
more than 100 RP per turn with only the State Crown of Anuire!).

===============================================================================

[[4. Beating the Game (& the Gorgon)]]

The normal definition of winning the game is to get 300/400/500 points,
collected through acquiring relics, territory, and alliances in an effort to
gain enough influence to ascend the Iron Throne. The definition I personally
use is conquering as much of the Empire as I can, whether it be a great
majority or the whole thing. That said...

In order to win the game, you'll need to be able to stand up to any threats,
including the main one-- the Gorgon, which seems far to the east, but is much
closer than he seems to be. To start with, you'll need money.

((Creating an Income Base))

My favored method of getting gold bars flowing into my treasury is through
creating trade routes. There's two ways of going about this:

1: Create your own individual guild holdings in each province to set up trade
routes
2: Buy out the non-landed domains (domains with no territory, only holdings) 
that have guilds within Dhoesone

I prefer to do #2. If you take the Diplomacy option, you'll notice that there
are several non-landed domains listed to the right. One of them are listed as
"N. Import and Export" and another is known as "Upper Anuire Traders". I would
try to first make Permissive Alliances, then Full Alliances, then extract an
Oath of Fealty from each of their regents. When an Oath of Fealty is made,
these non-state domains go under your rule-- their regents become Lieutenants
and you gain all of their holdings.

In fact, a trick I like to use is to offer the highest level holding as part of
the Oath of Fealty deal. The holding you provide will simply be given back to
you once you absorb the non-state domain.

Once the N. Import and Export and Upper Anuire Traders are absorbed, you'll
have pre-developed guilds, numbers of other holdings, and a few lieutenants.
There are still a few provinces in Dhoesone that don't have guilds under your
control, but at least plenty of the work has been done for you.

Staying on the same page of absorbing non-landed domains' holdings, you may
want to exploit Fhiele's True Neutral alignment and try grabbing all of the
regents who have several high-level guilds: Points East Trading and Port of
Call Exchange. The former holds high-level guilds in Elinie, and the latter
in Ilien and surrounding states. However, be aware that these holdings are in
foreign, faraway nations. Therefore, they'll be susceptible to contest actions.

If you're really, REALLY hurting on money, you'll notice at the tax collection
screens at the beginning of each turn that you can choose to tax a province
at three different levels. Use this, but there is a caveat-- if your Law
holdings aren't high enough, you'll cause discontent in the province. The
level of discontent is shown by the color of the province name-- if blue,
content. If red, that province is in rebellion.

((Expansion))

You get three Domain Actions per Turn. Only on the first two of those three
actions can you declare war, so keep this in mind.

Once you've established a good flow of income, you'll perhaps want to get rid
of your non-Knight units (except the Elven Cavalry) and create Knights.
Unfortunately, you can only create four Knights per turn in Sonnelind. However,
a full stack of them (15) can wreck most other armies without your personal
supervision.

In order to improve your ability to create more Knights, you might want to
think about expanding towards Cariele. However, this may force an early
confrontation with the Gorgon, considering that Cariele borders the puppet
state of Markazor. Not to mention the fact that Cariele's provinces have high
level Castles. However, the potential trade routes, rich provinces, and high
level guilds that you can wring out of Cariele through diplomacy (so long as 
their regents are still alive) can be worth it.

There is the option of turning against your ally, Thurazor, for a safer early
game. They're not very strong allies anyway. This can lead to expansion
against Talinie, and the rogueish, manically expansive (though not as manical
as the Gorgon) Five Peaks. The Peaks can be somewhat of a problem, and a
Talinie allied with Boeruine can be a bit of a problem as well. However, this
is your best bet for a more relaxed expansion.

When you're ready to cross the border into other regents' lands, you'll first
need to Declare War. After that, you'll need to fight the enemy, drive them
off their territory, then maintain a position on the territory until the turn
ends. If there's a Castle present, the Castle's level dwindles by 1 until it is
no more. Once you've sat in a Castle-less province for one whole turn, you can
proceed with an Investiture of a province.

An Investiture, if successful, will forcibly transfer control of a province
to you. You can use RP to improve chances to 100%, but if the enemy regent is
alive, he or she will most likely try to lower your chances. It might be
beneficial to find some way of taking out the enemy regent so that you'll face
little opposition in Investing the province.

With each province taken, be sure to create roads and guild holdings to create
more trade routes, which will allow you to make more Knights.

Knights aren't the only good option available to you. There are also Elven
Cavalry, Elite Infantry, and others. You'll need to take a look at unit stats
by right-clicking on them, I just simply find Knights to be the most readily
available in the majority of provinces. In terms of quality, Elven Cavalry are
probably the best, though they have a heft 8GB pricetag to go with their
strength.

Along with that, tactically handling units yourself rather than letting the
computer automatically roll the outcomes for you can be much more helpful
against certain types of enemies. For instance, Skeletons outclass most other 
units, so you may want to take control of the battle yourself and use ranged 
units or Wizards/Priests' spells to defeat them. Hit and run tactics with such 
units can prove to be highly effective.

Enemy stacks will retreat if you far outclass them. Be careful-- they may
retreat into provinces you own. If you don't own Castles/Strongholds/Wizard's
Towers in there, they can try Investing your province and taking it away.

Fhiele's a Thief, and as such, gets a free Espionage action. If you want to
take a stab [pun intended] at assassinating a regent before attacking his
domain, you can do so. However, you can only spend RP to increase the chances
of *finding* an assassin. Actually succeeding in kiling the regent depends on
the level of the assassin. What class the assassin is doesn't seem to matter.
Assassination attempts can also be targeted at normal units, but as those can
be replaced easily by the AI, there are only specific situations for doing so.

I prefer not to have my Lieutenants at the forefront of the war effort. They're
susceptible to assassination attempts.

Whenever you expand, make sure you tax them at the lowest possible level--
sure, you can get plenty of money from a lot of provines taxing highly, but
Rebellions are problematic... Especially when you become a huge empire.

((Adventuring))

Before you go on adventures, be sure to equip Magical Items by clicking on
their icon. You'll see a * showing they've been equipped. This goes for
Gauntlets of Dexterity, Gauntlets of Ogre Dexterity, all the Ioun stones, and
the like. Also, set your spells. Continual Light, the "See" spells, and
Fly/Levitate are very useful utility spells for navigating dungeons. 
For Wizards, pack remaining slots with attack spells. For Priests, take mostly
healing spells and a few attack spells as well.

Among the best Lieutenants you can have is one you can get through the "Hire
Lieutenant" option: Rhober Nichaeleir. He's a Level 13 Priest, and though 
he'll want as many Gold Bars as his level, he's worth it because of all the 
healing you can get from him.

An alternative to Rhober, if he's refusing to show up on your Hire Lieutenant
list, is Ruarch Rockhammer, a Level 11 Dwarf Priest that you can get through an
Oath of Fealty. Fhiele's highly flexible True Neutral alignment along with
exploiting your high level Source holdings as a diplomatic bargaining chip
(that you'll get back once Ruarch's under an Oath of Fealty anyway) will prove
very useful in getting him.

I'll go right out and say it-- Adventuring's a bit of a hassle in Birthright.
You don't exactly have the friendliest control scheme, and the graphics are
pretty bad. Along with this, it can be pretty confusing to get through each
dungeon, at least for me. Still, I do enjoy it on occasion.

Not to mention it can be rewarding if you take the right quests. 

For instance, the Ansien quest is ridiculously easy if you have a Wizard with 
Levitate, a good fighter, and a healer. Simply head forward until you reach the
throne room, go up the stairs on the right, take the key in the bedroom, and 
then head through the wall behind the bed. You'll be able to go through it, 
into a hidden area. Head down, but not into that black hole. Stay on the side
platforms, and head right. You'll fight some spiders, and find a key and a
switch. Take those and head to the opposite end. You'll see another room with
more spiders, and a door with a lava pit in front of it. You can levitate over
the pit. Opening the door will reveal more spiders. Take them out, and get the
treasure including the State Crown of Anuire, which can add 70 (!!) bloodline
points to a regent's bloodline strength.

Other good quest rewards include:
1-The Emperor's Crown, which also increases bloodline points
2-Farid's Coffer of the Realm, which is a boon to your treasury; on top of
that, the quest's pretty easy
3-Chalice of the Dead, which allows you to make one Skeleton unit per action
for 1 Gold Bar each Skeleton unit
4-Hammer of Thunder, which can you can throw an infinite number of times at
enemies, and the quest is ridiculously easy
5-Staff of Prosperity, which Blesses all of your provinces at the start of
each turn and summarily nets you a vastly higher amount of taxes

There are other nice rewards that can help your game, but these stood out to
me.

I've found the game occasionally crashes on me in the middle of an adventure.
I'd recommend that you save before starting one, and then only do one during
any one turn so you don't end up crashing on the next domain action, thereby
losing all your progress.

((Inevitable Showdown: The Gorgon))

Ah, the Gorgon. He might seem like an insurmountable difficulty, what with his
seemingly infinite troops, a lot of which are made up of fearsome Skeletons
that can do even Knights. When it comes to facing him, I'll give some tips:

1-In battles where you have a stack of Knights against a stack of Skeletons,
with no units that can turn the tide if you control them yourself, it's best
to let the computer automate the battle. You're certain to come out of it the
worst, but the results will be better than if you took command of the battle.
Skeletons are so strong that they'll often floor your Knights one after the
other.
2-In battles where you've got ranged units and spellcasting Lieutenants,
hit and run tactics against Skeletons can be very useful.
3-Hammer of Thunder is a nice weapon to use, considering you have limitless
uses. However, I think you cannot use it in army battles after a certain
patch.
4-The Gorgon is a fan of using Mass Destruction. Be wary of moving units into
a province where he has a Source strong enough for him to use it. He'll be able
to remove a unit from your stack in the province with each action he decides to
cast it. A good way of sidestepping this problem is to create a holding (I
usually make a Guild), contest it, then destroy it. Kind of takes a while, but
it forces him to use assassinations instead, something I don't see the AI
do as often.
5-You're probably not going to be able to actually kill the Gorgon in an army
battle. Often, you'll remove his troops, but he'll remain. Not only that, the
stack you used to fight him will be forced to stay there as well. Man, what a
bastid. 
6-The Gorgon can automatically gain whole stacks of army units in his home
provinces. Therefore, when attacking the original northeastern territory of the
Gorgon's Crown, be prepared to fight battle after battle as these armies
spawn on top of you every other turn.
7-Sideath is a province with a permanent warding spell on it. Be sure to have
a caster with Dispel Realm Magic on hand to capture it, as the Gorgon can get
into the habit of creating stacks upon stacks of units in the otherwise
unreachable province.

Usually, the only way to permanently get rid of the Gorgon is to take all of 
his territory. Good luck accomplishing this, as the Gorgon often goes on such a
rampage that he'll have provinces under his control all over the place.

You'll see some cutscenes of the Gorgon meeting with a messenger from another
nation. Eventually, these meetings will degenerate into the Gorgon absorbing
the territory of that messengers' nation. There are many, many times in which
the absorbed nation ends up being Tuarhievel, meaning the state you've probably
been using as a buffer while you expand elsewhere will turn on you. Be wary if
and when that happens-- create trade routes through Tuarhievel's lands before
then.

((Other Enemies))

Non-Awnshegh states tend to lose their enthusiasm to fight you after they lose
their initial full-stack armies. Even moreso if they lose their regents. The
exception to this is Markazor and Mur-Kilad, both of whom will muster unit
after unit. To be expected from the Gorgon's puppet states.

There are three other Awnsheghlien who own landed domains: The Spider, Rhuobhe
Manslayer, and Danita the Chimaera. 

The Spider and Rhuobhe are just as persistent as the Gorgon, and close to being
as unkillable-- you'll need to Invest all their provinces to rid yourselves of 
them permanently.Unfortunately, this ends up being quite a task for Dhoesone 
as you'll most likely be facing off against the Gorgon before fighting these 
two. However, the Spider really only gains stacks of Spiders automatically
(as opposed to the countless Skeletons that the Gorgon will gain with no
effort), and Rhuobhe can attribute his own expansion to the fact that he
himself is such a friggin' strong Regent and unit.

Danita's only scary if a player is using her. Her AI is such that it can be
defeated other AIs. Dhoesone, being literally the farthest nation from her,
may find the Chimaeron absorbed by Coeranys. I blame this on the fact that
the AI doesn't know how to make use of her incredibly powerful Legion of Dead
(much stronger than anyone else's except the Gorgon at the start) properly.

Then there's the Five Peaks. The Wizard generally attacks with some very varied
units and doesn't expand as fast as the Awnsheghlien. You'll face stacks that
can be easily defeated by Knights. Though, she's still problematic since you
can't negotiate wtih her. The real problem lies in the fact that her provinces
are a hotbed for randomly spawning nationless units of Chaos.

Something very important to note: as far as I'm aware, Rhoubhe, Danita, and
The Wizard are all susceptible to assassination attempts, unlike the Gorgon.
Rhuobhe and Danita are kind of longshots though, since they're so high level.
Late game Rhuobhe at Level 17 required a Level 7 assassin to have even a 5%
chance.

===============================================================================

[[5. Fun Stuff                      ]]

((Miscellaneous Tricks))

Interested in leveling up your regent, or really any of the characters at your
disposal, very fast? There's a simple way to do this: the Rule option. Rule 
allows you to improve the level of your holdings. You can improve multiple 
holdings at once, and doing so usually means you get a lot of experience all 
at once. Do this enough times and your character will be in the two-digits in
no time.

Skeletons are one of the most fearsome units in The Gorgon's Alliance. They're 
up there in strength and they have no maintenance cost. A better way than 
slowly acquiring them through the Chalice of the Dead would be to summon
them up yourself. Well, Fhiele's not a caster and Clumine's not much of a 
Wizard... So try getting the Wizard Eyeless One under your control through an
Oath of Fealty. He's a caster with the Legion of Dead spell, Source Holdings 
in different places... Also, he's got a funny mask. Sure, you only get one
Lieutenant Action per turn, but if leveled high enough, he can summon half a
stack of SKeletons with one cast. Furthermore, creating leylines to the Sources
that Dhoesone already has in its possession allows you to summon Skeletons in
provinces without needing to declare war.

((Selecting a Different Nation))

Not interested in Dhoesone, or already went through a run? Well, it might be
time to try a different landed domain. Before I talk about who you might want
to use, it might be a good idea to expand your options through the game's
scenario editor. If you don't see it, that's alright, you have to download it.
Of course you won't be able to find it on the Sierra website or anything, but
a few Birthright fansites have it. Download it, set every possible domain as
playable, and you suddenly have more than double the starting amount of
nations. Some of them range from ridiculously easy to very hard, so be
prepared.

Now then... I'll try to tier them in terms of each state's strength and
relative position.

-------
S Rank:
Gorgon's Crown

A Rank:
Avanil, Boeruine, Ghoere

B Rank:
Mhoried, Aerenwe, Baruk-Azhik, Osoerde, Alamie, Markazor, Brosengae, Chimaeron
Sielwode

C Rank:
Dhoesone, Taeghas, Talinie, Thurazor, Diemed, Roesone, Coeranys, Tuornen, 
Ilien, Endier, Medoere, Five Peaks, Anuire

D Rank:
Elinie, Tuarhievel, Cariele, Rhuobhe, Spiderfell

F Rank:
Mur-Kilad
-------

S Rank is the top of the crop, and there's only one person who sits there...
_The Gorgon is self-explanatory. Ridiculously strong regent due to raw stats
and quirks (the only regent able to have a 100 base bloodline strength, etc.),
he's got the potential for different sources of income, two allies to the
south, and easy ways of making armies (including his Legion of the Dead spell).
As the player, you'll steamroll through Anuire.

A Rank nations are placed there because they're large nations with rich
provinces, established holdings, and very strong regents. 
_Avanil's the top of the crop, what with having two vassals, plenty of targets, 
and sharing no border with any of the more aggressive nations (not even 
Rhuobhe, despite how it looks). 
_Boeruine's more or less a slightly worse Avanil that DOES share a border with 
Rhuobhe-- the Archduke's rivalry with Avanil suddenly makes sense.
_Ghoere makes it in here while Mhoried doesn't because while both are somewhat
close to each other in strength, Ghoere edges Mhoried out slightly in economic
strength, shares a border with the Spider rather than the Gorgon, and the
Sword Mage is an excellent regent since he's both high level and has Legion of
the Dead as a spell.

B Rank nations are either large, have a nice economy, or sit in a comfortable
position.
_Mhoried has a pretty solid combination of those first two qualities... But
then he's got Markazor-- and therefore, the GORGON-- right there to the east.
Good thing he's strong enough for it, while that bastard Gavin Tael sits
comfortably below him.
_Markazor would be C-rank if it weren't for its alliance with the Gorgon.
The choice of regents is a choice between bad and worse, and the Gorgon has an
iron grip on all your holdings.
_Brosengae may seem like it's not in a good position, what with having only
two ways to expand, both of which are towards nations that are much bigger
than you. However, you can become so filthy rich with your guilds that you
can swarm Taeghas with Knights over a very short course of turns. From there,
you can turn on Avanil and take all of his very powerful provinces. In a few
games I became powerful enough that Rhuobhe sent me alliance offers.
_Chimaeron is only in here because of Skeleton spam, which is possible because
Danita's a high level Wizard with Legion of Dead. The domain itself is
otherwise so terrible that it would go down to D Rank.
_Sielwode seems screwed at first because it's an all-forest province nation
(no native trade routes) with borders to BOTH of the Gorgon's vassals, but a
good understanding of Birthright will allow you to survive and thrive in
the adversity. You can potentially ward off ALL your provinces from the
Gorgon's incursions because of Isaelie's max-level Sources, you can solve your
trade problems with alliances, and Isaelie's a damn powerful Wizard which
translates well into both army battles and in adventures.

C Rank nations are often average across the majority of the board, or may even
have some very outstanding qualities. However, they might have some important
(though not exactly crippling) flaws-- it's usually having the misfortune of
being next to The Wizard, Rhuobhe, 
_Dhoesone, the subject of this guide and what I'd consider to be the very
definition of average. Large nation and insulated position, but only "okay"
provinces, "okay" regents, "okay" holding possessions, and an "okay" economy.
This has the plus side of making Dhoesone very flexible.
_Endier's got a pretty good economy for a one-provine nation, but what makes
it stand out is Caine, a solid Wizard who can abuse Legion of the Dead to
create Skeletons in the Spiderfell and essentially take out the Spider in less
than ten turns at the very start. Be prepared for other hostile powers,
though. You might find yourself more or less relying on a gimmick in order to
survive at the start.
_Five Peaks... fighting The Wizard is tough, but BEING The Wizard's harder.
Sure, you automatically get units, but it's unreliable. Then there's the fact
that you've got NO holdings as an internal infrastructure. Still, you've got
relative freedom to make it yourself-- it's usually YOU that starts the wars,
after all.
_Anuire's got a mighty regent in the Chamberlain, along with a rich and heavily
fortified province. Too bad you only have one of the latter, and you're 
surrounded by some tough nations. After three turns, Avanil will become very
aggressive and the Spiderfell will start encroaching on Diem's lands. Make use
of diplomacy to wring guilds out of Avan's grasp and create trade routes before
all of it goes to hell.

D rank nations are either very flawed, or have one very unfortunate quality...
They're next to the Gorgon. An enemy so relentless that you'll have to fight
battle after battle.
_Elinie only has two provinces bordering the Gorgon's vassal Markazor, so
you'll know exactly where he's coming from. Good luck dealing with him when he
gets there, though.
_Tuarhievel has a rough time since it's the only nation with a direct border
with the Gorgon rather than, y'know, his proxies. Along with that, Tuarhievel
has worse trade opportunities than Sielwode and Fhilearane isn't as good of a
Wizard as Isaelie.
_Rhuobhe's got a crap economy. Sure, the man himself is strong, and you can
abuse that. He's also got a Chalice of the Dead. However, literally every
nation around him has a smoother time in the hands of a player.
_Spiderfell's economy is slightly better than Rhuobhe's, but the Spider is a
terrible regent. A strong unit, sure, but he counts as a "Monster". He can't
actually use any of his spells. Oof. Again, it's a good thing he's got a
Chalice of the Dead.

F Rank. The bottom of the barrel. Self-explanatory.
_Mur-Kilad... Weak, two province Dwarf vassal with crappy regents. Good thing
you can take the unfortified Sielwode provinces by surprise and rely on the
Gorgon's rather dependable masses of armies, and you get a comparatively
unreliable boost to your treasury now and then. Otherwise, this Dwarven nation
is utterly meh.

===============================================================================

[[6. Special Thanks                 ]]

I give my thanks...

-To the PSOSB and FD folk who have remained good friends over the years.
-To the folks at TSR (Baker, Richard, McComb, and others) for making this
fascinating setting.
-To the folks at Birthright.net for continuing their dedication to the setting.
-To Synergistic and Sierra for their involvement in the making of this game.
-To GameFAQs for hosting this.

===============================================================================

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance - Dhoesone Guide [v 1.05]
By LordKarasuman - 2008
 

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