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13. Aerial Bombardment

Enemy Tribes: Dakini, Matak, Chumara

Starting Spells: Swarm, Lightning, Convert, Landbridge, Invisibility, Swamp, Hypnotise, Tornado, Erode

Permanent spells you can get: Earthquake

Temporary Spells you can get: Volcano, Magical Shield, Firestorm

Buildings you can get: Balloon Hut

Vehicles you can get: None

On this level you get your last building, the Balloon Hut. I am a big fan of using balloons and Firewarriors as an outright replacement for ground forces. Warriors and Preachers are still needed for defense of your settlement, but during and after this level I typically amass an armada of 30+ Firewarriors in balloons, soften up an enemy tribe with my Shaman, and then send in the Firewarriors to finish the job. The main advantage of the air approach is that only Firewarriors can take out followers riding balloons, and you can use greater numbers to overwhelm Firewarrior defenses. The Shaman is also a threat to your balloons, but if you're careful she can be taken out easily before she creates problems. With that said, I'll begin the walkthrough of this level. You start in the southern region of the large continent that you share with the Matak.

Your Reincarnation Site sits atop a high plain with a shallow canyon running around it to the south. This makes the land around your Reincarnation Site sloped in many places and you may end up having your buildings strewn about wherever there is enough flat ground to place them. Use Land Bridge as needed to flatten out what ground you can, but be careful that you don't accidentally cast it on the wrong spot and raise a ramp or something. The downside of this level is that you do not have access to your Swamp spell. I don't know why, maybe it's just a glitch with my game, but that particular spell vanishes during this level and comes back in the next. Maybe the Dakini jacked your spell book and scurried off to the next planet. Those bastards'll get what's coming to them! As far as defense goes you'll want to get Firewarriors at bit faster than you may have in previous levels.

This is because all of the Chumara raids that I have seen came by balloon, either from the south or the north. The Chumara balloonists typically like to use a little spot of land at the very southern end of your continent as their staging area, so you might want to put a patrol of Firewarriors or a Guard Tower along that rise. When you do take out the enemy balloonists, don't forget to send your own followers to take their balloons. Like boats, unattended balloons are destroyed after a while. I would not recommend a perimeter defense is this level (its an awfully big perimeter), but one or two Guard Towers in the center of your settlement might help against Firewarrior raiders flying deep into your territory. Your own Firewarriors on the ground will also be a good defense against Chumara raiders if you have enough of them.

As for the Matak, employ a standard ground defense at choke points to the north. The ramp that leads up to your plateau area is north of your Reincarnation Site, near the Volcano Stone Head to the northwest, though you might not want to only defend this route if you intend to expand your settlement into the lowlands. The obvious choice, then, is the bridge of land connecting the north and south sides of the continent. This is a large area to cover, and I needed 6 Preacher/Firewarrior Guard Towers to get overlapping protection. Luckily, the Matak don't have a tendency to raid very much, but you should have defenses just in case they do, including 5-10 Preachers and Warriors at home to fight off ground attacks. Be aware of Chumara spies coming in with balloons. Nearby Firewarriors won't be fooled while the spies are in the air, and they will be fired upon.

If they hit the ground, right click on the spy to uncover him and have other followers kill him before he can damage your buildings. As you're building your settlement you should send 5 followers to worship the Volcano Stone Head. It takes a while to worship this, but its well worth it. Be on guard for the Matak Shaman, who will cast Lightning on your worshippers every now and then. If you move you Shaman north before the Matak set up their Guard Towers you can get to the Earthquake Vault of Knowledge without any interference. You can then use the one use of that spell that you get from the Vault and use it on nearby Matak Huts just for the hell of it. As soon as the Chumara send a balloon over and you kill its occupants, charge up Swarm and Lighting and head over to the Chumara's island to the southeast. The Balloon Hut Vault of Knowledge is on the north side of the island and relatively unguarded.

You don't have swamp to put down along the Firewarrior patrol paths, so be careful on your approach. Two hits will knock anyone out of a balloon and kill them, your Shaman included. Use Swarm or Hypnotize as needed while worshipping at the Vault. Once you have the Balloon Hut plans, and if you have Volcano as well, you can then cast it somewhere on the Chumara settlement if you like. Targeting their Balloon Hut should put the Volcano right next to their Warrior and Firewarrior Training Huts as well. Once you have the ability to make your own balloons, start a Balloon Hut and assemble your airforce. Steal Chumara balloons as the opportunity presents itself. Now that you have Earthquake as well, your Shaman is going to be very effective with her magical attacks.

Be sure that you have enough Huts and enough Braves in those huts to both keep your population high enough and your spell charge rate at its maximum. While you're building up you might send 5 followers to the Firestorm Stone Head to the west of your settlement, it's a powerful spell and it won't hurt to have it in your arsenal. When you're ready to attack, try creating some magical mystical mayhem with your Shaman. Tornado will rip through enemy Huts and Training Huts, a well-placed Earthquake can swallow some buildings into the sea or the earth itself, and Erode on coastal areas will have pleasant results as well. After you've softened up an enemy tribe, send in your balloon riding Firewarriors to finish the job.

When you engage the outer defenders the other attack class followers will move towards you. As long as you don't face a whole lot of enemy Firewarriors at once your Firewarriors will be able to pick off the enemies from perfect safety. Once you get through the counter attack, go after any Braves in Huts, Guard Tower sentries, and random other followers. I went after the Matak first, and then the Chumara. Neither tribe is a significant threat once you get your defenses together. I also bypassed completely the Magical Shield Stone Head because I just found I didn't need it. A word on alternate strategies. If you find that you don't like balloons or the balloon tactics I talk about, there's no reason for you to use them. All of the ground attack tactics that you've used on the previous levels still apply; you'll just have to be aware that enemy tribes will have balloons from now on, and they will use them in most of the future levels (unless I note otherwise).

If you want to attack the Chumara by ground you can build up a navy and transport them there by sea (more efficient than via balloon). I recommend the north side of the Chumara island where their Vault of Knowledge is because their main defenses are in the south with the rest of their settlement. Also, there is a small patch of land to the west of the Matak Reincarnation Site that you can cast Land Bridge to. From here you can cast Land Bridge to the Chumara island and attack from there. I have not seen the computer do this, the Chumara seem content to use their air power.

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