With Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous by Owlcat Games out for a few days, a lot of people find themselves placed as the Knight Commander of the Fifth Crusade and fulfilling the duties it entails. Namely, being introduced to the Crusade Management and its sub-system, Heroes of Might and Magic-like tactical turn-based grid battles for armies.
Achieved as Kickstarter campaign stretch goal, this feature allows the player to take a strategic lead on the Crusade and send the armies against demons, undead and other bad guys barring the path to adventures and loot. However, seemingly added to the game at a later point of development, the tactical battles feature is much less intuitive than the larger Wrath of the Righteous systems. Check out our tips and tricks for a smooth start to your Crusade!
Note: most of the tips below would likely be obvious to anybody with any significant time invested in Heroes of Might & Magic, King’s Bounty, Disciples and other turn-based titles. If you are looking for a more in-depth guide, this is not one of them. This article aims to give more general tips to players who might have no experience with similar features.
Hire a General
One of the very first things you want to do is hire a General to lead what is going to be your main army. Generals bring a variety of passives and feats to strengthen your army as well as some impressive active spells that can turn the tide of battle.
How to choose what General to hire? Any General would be an upgrade over no General, however, there is a certain feat that will make your army much stronger. Initially, you are limited by only being allowed to have 3 units per army while the enemy does not seem to be bothered by the same limitations, frequently featuring armies that consist of 4 or even 6 units even in the early game.
Thankfully, there is something the Knight Commander can answer these armies with! There is a General trait you should be looking for called Master of Maneuver. For every level of this feat, it increases the maximum size of your army by 1 unit. Getting a General with this feat can make your early game much easier.
More importantly, grab a General that can dish out magic damage. They quickly become OP and won’t even need the army half-way through the game.
Learning a healing spell on a beefed-up General can also be quite advantageous. At this point (shortly after Drezen as I started a new playthrough after the official release), my main General can one-shot an enemy unit or heal one of my own back to full even if they are almost completely depleted.
Getting a General that can do both is ideal – looking at my boy Setsuna Shy.
Try to get the first hit in
Do not rush headlong towards the enemy forces! Unlike Heroes of Might and Magic, the units in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous do not seem to make retaliatory attacks after being smacked around in melee (Royal Griffins in HoMM3 greatly disapprove). That means that getting the first hit in can lower the amount of punishment you will get in turn when it’s the enemy’s time to attack.
If the enemy does not bring along ranged units or a magic-wielding General, you can lower your losses greatly by being the first person to land a hit and thus simply avoiding a lot of potential damage. In terms of your melee units, you might want to make them wait for the enemy troops to get closer. It might even be beneficial to skip a turn or even move your units a bit further away from the enemy so your ranged troops can needle their ranks down with their attacks!
Keep an eye on the initiative bar at the top of the screen to see if your melee units would be the ones having their turn first when the new round starts.
Finishing quests, passing decrees and tackling events in your Crusade Management system will frequently reward you with free troops in addition to the units you can recruit on a regular basis. Chances are, they are going to spawn in Kenabres or Drezen, away from your main army if it had been actively Crusading away from your base. Thankfully, there is a way to add their number to your main force!
Move the new Crusade Army #100500 to the same point of the world map as your main army. Then you will see an icon that indicates you can exchange units between the two armies – you can see it on the screenshot below, to the right of “Crusader Army 1”, it looks like two arrows pointing opposite directions.
Simply drag the chosen unit by their portrait into a corresponding place in the other army to add them. You can also swap units that way, replacing diminished numbers of your main army’s say, Scouts, for plentiful Archers that were just hired in your Crusade’s base.
Note: the number of troops in your army is still tightly limited. Without a General with the Maneuver feat, those random Crusade armies can only consist of up to 3 units.
There is no way to dismiss your useless armies completely
Do you find yourself in a situation where you have already combined all possible armies into relatively strong fighting forces but you still have quite a few useless leftovers like 3 Rangers or 2 Shieldbearers?
Yeah, there is no way to simply dismiss those. The only way to completely get rid of them is to throw them against an overwhelming enemy force and have them be wiped out and maybe weaken that enemy just a bit in the process. Sorry, Queen Galfrey!
Before you do that you can also use them to explore the map for your Mythic Hero party, opening the yet unvisited locations and scouting further enemy armies.
Get Clerics and Hellknights, Clerics are OP
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous features a great variety of units that can be recruited to join your army. Of course, the longer you play, the more advanced units will be tempted to join the ranks of the Crusade.
But in the early game, two particular types can make your life so much easier, namely Clerics and Hellknights.
Clerics are a bulky melee unit with three special active abilities: Smite Evil, Lay on Hands (Self) and Lay on Hands (Others). Only one version of Lay on Hands can be used per battle, allowing you to instantly restore a number of units lost in combat. It is an extremely handy ability, especially if the enemy managed to zerg rush your back lane and significantly lower the number of archers or casters.
You will get access to Hellknights after you recruit Regill Derenge, a Hellknight Paralictor companion. They are a tanky mounted unit, which allows them to cover about half of the battlefield in a turn and also withstand some pretty serious punishment in order to protect your ranged troops.
Check what the enemy army drops before engaging them
To make your life easier, you want to maximize the amount of your daily income in terms of the special Crusade currencies such as the Finance points. The map is filled with demon armies awaiting your Heavenly cleansing fire or Demonic rage or whatever your chosen Mythic Path entails. How to choose what army to pursue?
I’m glad you asked! In addition to certain armies being the quest requirement or simply standing in the way of your main party, there is a scattering of troops that offer gear, a one-time increase to your finances or experience, or even a permanent increase to your daily income.
Once you get to the point where you can hire mercenaries for a hefty sum of Finance points or need to start constructing buildings, having a healthy amount of daily income can help out greatly. Scouring demons is also an easy way to get some additional magical gear, either to outfit your party or to sell for some extra gold.
You might want to leave some smaller armies with no interesting drops as experience crumbs for your secondary General, to streamline their leveling process and bring the B-squad up to speed. Certain armies – the ones that possess great strength and/or General but don’t drop anything of significance – are better left alone until you are absolutely sure you can stomp them into the ground with next to no losses.
Check resistances before attacking an enemy with magic
As I mentioned in one of the points above, your General can quickly and easily get quite OP with their magical damage. However, before you employ spells in combat, you might want to check enemies for immunities.
Fighting fire with fire doesn’t work well in Pathfinder. Striking the wrong enemy with spells can simply waste your General’s very finite mana resource. In harder combat sequences where an enemy General is also present, it can also turn the tide of battle – and not in your favor.
For example, take a look at Water Elementals below – immune to Cold, Sleep, Paralysis, Poison, Bleed… Thankfully, I have Fire Damage to bring against them!
Some demons have resistance to basically all types of magic and can only really be brought down with good, sharp steel of your units.
To see the expanded inspection sheet, right-click on the enemy portrait in the Initiative bar at the top of the screen. Simply right-clicking an enemy will prompt your units to attack them instead.
Update: after a patch, PF: WotR now shows expected spell damage to enemy forces, so you can easily see which mobs are immune – the damage to them would be zero.
Prevent enemy units from reaching your archers and casters
The AI of the enemy troops will be actively using the age-old tactics of zerg rushing your ranged units… if you allow them. The easiest way to prevent that from happening is to place your archers/casters/both at the bottom or top edge of the map and to body-block them with bulkier melee units.
From that point on, as the enemy moves closer, you should actively try to prevent them from simply rushing past your melee fighters, preferably bottle-necking the combat at some point of the grid.
Clerics, Hellknights, Paladins, Shieldbearers, etc. can tank quite a lot of damage – which cannot be said about your ranged units
Don’t be afraid to drop some gold for Finance Points to quickly boost your army
Unlike gold, the Finance and Materials points you produce are usually relatively low in the early game. If you have a run-in with a magic-wielding enemy General or face off against a particularly nasty opponent like the Nabasu or the Wights, you can find yourself in need of quickly replenishing your army with no Finance points to spare.
Thankfully, you can purchase Finance and Material points for gold, much like you could in Pathfinder: Kingmaker when it came to Build points. It might seem daunting to drop a few thousand on FP/MP, but needs must, Commander.
This option is available in the recruitment window and in the Crusade Management interface options.
Build structures for extra recruits / extra daily income
Once you get to Drezen, you can have a more permanent solution to your extra currency problem. Drezen itself as well as your forts scattered around Mendev can have a variety of buildings constructed in them, including the Inn, Supply Center, and others.
Between Drezen and the variety of smaller cities/forts you take back from demons, you can easily up your daily income to a very comfortable range relatively quickly and save that gold for the needs of your party. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or go overboard – you can always destroy buildings you have no need of anymore and construct others in their place.
The same can be said about your weekly army income. Carefully read the buildings’ description and decide which units you want to prioritize. However, before you get those extra recruits, you have to make sure you have Main Stables, Main Archer Range & Main Barracks in Drezen, or you will have no recruits, leaving you with very expensive mercs only. You don’t want that, trust me.
In the early game, quantity matters more than quality. Recruit as much as you can!
Construct medical buildings to restore more troops after combat
A very similar tip: build Hospitals in Drezen and your cities. After combat is finished, a part of the losses taken by your troops in battle will be replenished at the infirmary.
The overall number of those replenished units can be increased by building the corresponding structures in your forts. Save yourself some gold and finance points by having no need to replenish your army as vigorously!
It is extremely helpful when you are facing enemy magic-wielding Generals who will try and wipe out your casters and archers in one blow. They will also frequently succeed, too! Thankfully, with hospitals buffing your armies’ infirmary, you will be able to bring most of them back after a victory regardless.
Make sure your Morale stays high
To make sure you are not just sitting on your hands in Drezen, Wrath of the Righteous introduced the Morale system. Far from Kingmaker’s infamous death timer events (I remember you, Call of Abaddon), it nevertheless gently pokes players to keep fighting against the demonic invaders with the newly introduced turn-based tactical mode.
While the banners are green, the morale of your crusade increases daily, capped at 20 points. If you do not fulfill the conditions, the banners first turn yellow, still providing morale but at a reduced pace, and then red, finally starting to subtract morale points.
- The Banner of Victories: each victory over a demon army adds 4 days to the time it stays green.
- Banner of Conquest: each capture of a demon fort adds 30 days to the time it stays green. Reclaiming lost forts doesn’t count.
- Banner of Defense: as long as no crusader fort is under siege, the Banner of Defense is green. If any fort is under siege, it turns yellow for 3 days, then red.
Morale affects your recruitment and special currencies income as well as how your troops behave in battle. High morale means a chance for two turns in row for your units!
Certain decisions, decrees, and events temporarily increase your morale as well.
Estimated army strength numbers lie – enemy general can one-shot your ass
To help you decide whether or not you are ready to take on a particular army, the game offers you an estimation of their strength represented by a number next to it. While it does offer a vague idea of how hard the fight is going to be, it is not entirely true when an enemy General is present on the battlefield.
You can easily stomp a “7” strength army into the floor with no losses, only to get wiped out by the spells of an OP mage general with his measly “3” strength army.
Save often! Everything is fair in love and war, including save scumming.
Getting your General to learn a healing spell might somewhat mitigate the power of the enemy leader, with the two characters locked in eternal conflict of who can damage or heal those poor archers better.
Smaller final tip, not particularly related to the Crusade: build the Teleportation Circle in Drezen so that your Mythic party can easily return to the capital of your Crusade for rest or quests. Don’t forget about the Magic of the Crusade as well!
If you hate the subsystem, automate the tactical battles
If you don’t want to deal with Crusade management, you can automate the entire experience in the game’s difficulty settings. The drawback of such a decision is that it locks you out of certain story beats, items, and more. However, there is a way to only automate the actual tactical battle sequences themselves, allowing you to continue tinkering with your Crusade in Drezen while being spared of having to click those Gargoyles for 15 minutes straight.
You can find an option to do so on in the top right corner of the screen, next to the Skip Day button.
Simply click on the cog and turn the “Run the tactical combats automatically” option on. Be warned, though, the AI controlling these automated battles is not very smart and can easily lead to much greater losses in combat than if you were to do it yourself.
This is it. I hope you have found the article helpful to your future army battles in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. If you have any tips to add or want to see similar articles related to romances, Mythic Paths, companion quests, or any other feature of the game, let us know in the comments below.