Age of Wonders II Heaven Julia with Gameplay background
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Downloads Home » Scenarios » Orb of Dreams Beta

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Orb of Dreams Beta

Author File Description
Roger the Rampant
File Details
Ruleset: AoW: SM - Unofficial Patch 1.4
Map Size: XL
Levels: 3
Single Player?: Yes
Co-Op vs. AI?: Yes
PBEM/Hotseat?: Yes
Multiplayer Online?: Yes
# of Wizards: 8
# of players: 7
Skill Level: Any (depends on AI difficulty setting)
Password Protected: No
This is the beta version of Arbiter Mundi's map, it uses UPatch 1.4 and there are no guarantees that it is balanced or that it works properly, so you use it at your own risk. It is an XL map on three levels. Arbiter Mundi described the map as "broken", and allowed Swolte to pass it to Roger so that Roger could attempt to fix it and to give it a story. I think that the problem might have been fixed now. UPatch 1.4 introduced a new type of Seeing Waters which was razeable, and it has subsequently been discovered that you cannot reload games after a Seeing Waters has been razed. So I have gone through this map, and changed all of the razeable Seeing Waters for the earlier "non razeable" type of Seeing Waters. Since making these changes I have not had any problems with the map refusing to load.

It may not be to everybody's taste from a gameplay perspective. There are some very strong stacks of indies that might attack you. Most capitals were fully-developed from the start, and some had two shrines. Also outposts are OFF and teleportation gates are OFF. I hope you guys don't mind, but although I kept the shrines I reduced the capitals a little so that they are not full developed at the start - if you want me to change it back, just let me know!

Because Arbiter Mundi has stacked several things on top of each other that I haven't seen stacked before, such as teleports on towns, those towns might not always function in the way that you expect, so this is very much an experimental map.

Many thanks to Arbiter Mundi and Swolte for allowing me to work on such a visually stunning work of art, and I hope that you will enjoy playing it. If you would like to make constructive criticism of the map on how to improve it, please post it in the thread that is linked below:
http://aow.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=ct&f=32,5413,,20

"Our world, our dreams - our Orb of Dreams; and no one is willing to let it go"
~Dhudes the Great~

For many generations things had remained much the same. The elves and the dwarves had run things on the surface, with the elves to the north and the dwarves to the south, and although there were no formal alliances or treaties they remained the keepers of law and order for the surface world, which they had essentially been for time immemorial. Julia was the leader of the elves, whilst a succession of Gramnlors had controlled the majority of the dwarves, who tended to stick to the surface, only venturing underground in places where they had found sufficient gold reserves to make it worth the significant risk of venturing underground.

The dark elves and the undead were known to habituate the caverns, and had their squabbles from time to time, but generally all the races kept themselves to themselves. The frost people had found that the underground lakes were far more lucrative for them than the surface rivers, and they had managed to find a corner of the underground caverns which the undead and dark elves seemed unable, or unwilling, to venture into. Eventually they had ended up selling their surface holdings to the incoming human migrants, and the humans had also taken some without payment, or offered to pay and then subsequently not completed the deal. So the frost people had ended up moving into the corner of the caverns, lock, stock and barrel, but there was still a certain lingering resentment by the frost people towards The Arbiter and his human settlers, who overall were not considered to be an honourable people.

The elves also frowned upon the unbridled urge of the human population to expand, their obvious disrespect for nature and the fact that they would let nothing stand in their way. They knew what they wanted, they knew how to achieve it and they seemed to bear little regard to the consequences that their actions might have in the long term. The elves were very finely tuned to the natural world, they were aware how finely balanced nature was, and a race which upsets the balance of nature might well cause enormous damage to the environment that they were running riot in. The supreme irony was that their leader called himself The Arbiter, which translates from the Latin as "the person who is authorized to judge or decide", yet in the opinion of the elves he was in no position either to judge or to decide, as he clearly had no understanding of, or concern for, the enormous consequences of the wholesale desecration that his people were busily embarking upon.

The humans were not felt to pose any immediate threat to either the elves. The humans were well aware of how the elves had used the waters of the river to stop the pursuing Nazgul at the Ford of Bruinen, although admittedly some humans had already forgotten Glorfindel and incorrectly assumed that it had been Arwen that harnessed the power of the waters, in order to save Frodo. That was another example of the fickle nature of humanity, almost as if they remembered only what they wanted to remember, selective memory, and they would also often hear what they wanted to hear, rather than what you had actually said to them. There was only one bridge leading into the elf territory, and to reach that bridge required safe passage through an area that was controlled by the desert people, and was heavily guarded. The desert people had a deep-seated fear of the forests, and the strange creatures that lurked therein, whilst the elves were not big fans of desert lands, either, preferring instead the comfort and safety of their beloved forest. Assuming that the humans could safely make their way to the bridge, they were well aware that the river itself could be used as a weapon against them, so would be unlikely to risk a land-based assault. Even if they used ships to launch a water-based attack, they would still need to negotiate the forests, and the elves totally outclassed humanity when it came to skills in the forest.

On the other hand the dwarves felt far more threatened by the human advances, as there was a direct, albeit circuitous, land route between the dwarf territory and the places that the human settlers had disembarked. So after a vast amount of clamouring for war by a large segment of the aggressive dwarf population, the current dwarf leader, Gramnlor IV Bog, had consulted with the elves about the possibilities of forming an alliance, with the sole intention of eliminating the human race from the face of the shire.

However, despite this dislike of human methodologies by the leadership of the other races, for many of the rank-and-file members of various races the humans seemed to be embarking on a huge adventure, and the whole idea somehow seemed quite exciting and alluring. Many were tired of the old ways, and felt that they wanted to move on in their lives. They were ambitious, often young, and didn't want to live in poverty for the rest of their lives. The humans seemed to them to offer a brave new world, allowing them to break away from the old traditions that their parents and grandparents seemed obsessed with, and building a new and successful life for themselves and their families. Stories were abundant of how the humans were creating wealth from their new technologies, and how willingly they embraced new ideas and new ways of working. So most of the other races found that a lot of their youngsters were disappearing in the night, going off to join the human expansion, in the hope of making a name, and possibly a fortune, for themselves. There were also rumours that The Arbiter, in his endless explorations, had come across a magical orb which would allow him to totally dominate any person or creature that he chose, and also to read their thoughts and their dreams. Such an item could be extremely dangerous, certainly in the hands of a fickle human.

At the same time, the races in the caverns were hearing strange rumblings, and although the rumblings usually came from up above, in this instance the rumblings appeared to come from down below. The leader of the dark elves, Enrigo Morrand, had sent an emissary to the leader of the undead, Spectron Redus, asking whether they had any idea what these strange vibrations were being caused by. Spectron Redus in turn had sent a few ghost dragons up to the surface to scout around, but had discovered no evidence of unusual seismic activity up there, with no collapsed building or structures to be found anywhere, so it was subsequently confirmed to Enrigo Morrand that the undead were as confused by the vibrations as he was.

The frost people in the caverns were very concerned by a rapid lowering of the water levels in their lucrative underground lakes, and the sudden emergence of various protrusions from the floor of the lakes. This in turn caused most of the fish in the waters to die, and a lot of the shallow water inevitably tuned into ice, due to the low temperatures. Their leader, Rezner Freyzre, had sent scouting parties up to the surface, but things seemed to be fine up there.

So what was happening beneath their feet was a mystery. It appeared not to have affected the surface folk, but for the cavern-dwellers the changes were too significant to be ignored. When they explored the waterways they found newly-dug holes going down into the floor of the caverns, which their water supply was pouring down through. They appeared to have been created by some sort of enormous creature, as claw-marks were quite clearly discernable in the freshly-excavated rocks. Unfortunately they were not able to go down the holes to explore, as their passage was blocked by a motley selection of aggressive creatures, which seemed quite hungry and clearly viewed them as their next potential meal!

So there was clearly a new shadowy world waiting to be explored underneath the caverns, and rumours started to emerge that the syrons had again returned to the shire, and were already down in that shadowy world, fighting off some terrible invasion which threatened the health and safety of the entire shire. It would indeed have to be a potentially catastrophic situation for the syrons to have ever considered becoming involved, so this was indeed ominous. For the time being, the eyes of the whole shire were distracted away from the humans and their aggressive expansion plans, and instead turned to this ominous evil presence that was threatening to seep up from below the caverns, and to poison the whole way of life that they had all come to know and love.

So now there was talk of unsealing the central ground seal which prevented direct access between the surface and the caverns, which had long ago been sealed in an effort to stop the undead emerging onto the surface, and even talk of a new emergency council to oversee events throughout the whole shire. This was a diplomatic minefield, however, as clearly for the undead and the elves, or the dwarves, to be sitting around the same negotiating table would take a lot of persuasion. There were difficult times ahead.
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