v.1.0: Campaign basics, three political dilemmas
One of the coolest features of “The Last Roman” DLC is the Roman Expedition faction, which is essentially a Roman Horde. Led by Belisarius, this expeditionary force starts in Africa in the southern reaches of the Vandal Kingdom.
The start is easy enough; the Vandals will be at war with the Sardinians to the north, and occasionally with the Berbers to the West. With the Roman Expedition in the south, it can potentially become a three front war for the Vandals, which ended with the faction destroyed before the end of Chapter 1 in my Legendary difficulty campaign.
In 535 AD, around June or July, the Moors will appear. They spawn multiple stacks, but if you were aggressive early on in gaining land for the Byzantine Empire, you’ll have some support armies help to wipe them out. The Moors died in about 6 turns, with the help of the Berbers.
After that, the objectives will encourage you to fight the Ostrogoth Kingdom. Landing in Sicily is the obvious choice, but you can also try to go in through up through Illyria and hit them from the east.
- Move in normal marching mode as much as possible and always remember to encamp at the end of the turn. The ability to encamp regardless of remaining movement points is a big advantage; it allows you to move over a normal range while allowing the player access to the growth and income benefits of encamping every turn.
- The civil tree offers little if you are playing a loyalist campaign. There are only a few research options that open up horde-mode buildings, the rest really only benefit separatist campaigns (naval buildings, industry, etc.) So if you’re a loyalist, you will be focusing primarily on military research.
- You get an army from Justinian every chapter (if you’re loyalist) which will be upkeep free for a while. Take the opportunity to build it up with food, market stalls, and an officer tent. Avoid building recruitment and workshop buildings until the proper infrastructure is set up first.
- As a personal preference, I partner two armies together in different war theaters. One is the “field battle” army, and the other is the “siege” army. The rivalry penalty isn’t awful (-10 food and -10% wealth generated) between two armies. As you get more armies, you will want to keep them farther away from each other.
Antonina, your wife, presents you with the first dilemma. She will want you to adopt someone.
- If you adopt, you will gain a general/statesman. Belisarius will also gain the Well-Watered trait, which prevents his commanded army from taking desert attrition. The penalty is 10 turns of -7 integrity.
- If you don’t adopt, you gain an integrity buff, but Beliarius’ army becomes afflicted with dysentery, which lasts roughly 4 turns.
- The best choice here is to adopt. The Well-Watered trait is nice considering you’ll start in North Africa where there is a lot of desert attrition areas, and there are plenty of battles to be had early on to reduce/negate the integrity penalty. Also, dysentery will kill a lot of your men, which will sideline Beliarius’ army in the critical early stages of the campaign.
A princess will be imprisoned by the Ostrogoths. Justinian will task you with rescuing her, which will involve moving an army into Ostrogoth Kingdom territory.
Empress Theodora will approach you to not take on Justinian’s mission.
- If you reject the mission, you will receive a +5% income bonus to buildings for 50 turns, as well as +2000 denarii.
- If you accept the mission, you will receive a -5% income penalty to buildings for 50 turns.
Once the mission is completed, you will be awarded an army by Justinian with the temporary “no upkeep” buff. You will also get a large boost to diplomatic relations with the Ostrogoths.
The choice here is up to you as there are pros and cons to each one, but my personal preference is to reject the mission. Why?
- You have to send one of your armies up to Italy from North Africa. This takes a lot of turns.
- You have to raid an Ostrogoth province to complete the mission. The Ostrogoth diplomatic bonus isn’t a “bonus” per se; it just offsets the diplomatic damage done by trespassing and raiding for the mission.
- An extra army is nice, but early on you don’t have the income to build up a third army. Add on that Theodora’s penalty debuff, and you’re going to be hurting. You get an army every chapter end, so you will not be gimping yourself by taking one less army.
Your wife Antonina will want you to raid Caesaria (which is under Berber control) in order to get her some gems.
- If you raid them, you’ll get an army from Antonina
- If you don’t, you will get a political penalty from Antonina, but a +10 diplomacy buff with the Berbers.
This one is up to you also. I personally decided not to raid the Berbers. Why?
- The Berbers are strong; they are usually in the top 5 factions. They may help you against the Vandals, and maybe even the Ostrogoths.
- More importantly, you need their help if you want to destroy the Moors quickly.
- You will probably need to take Berber territory sooner or later, but the +10 diplomacy buff for 50 turns can help delay hostilities if you choose to take Italy first, otherwise you are looking at a long war in North Africa.
- You may or may not want the extra army. At this point in the campaign, you may have enough money to build up another army, but it’s up to you to decide if your income and current treasury can handle it.