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So I've tried to find the fastest ways to beat this game, and so far this is the best I can do.

1. Morkin's quest: 6 days and 3.5 hours (Day 7, 4.5 hours left)

Send Corleth ahead to recruit Shadows, recruit Farflame, recruit Lothoril. Don't waste Morkin's time on any of this.

Shadows clears wolves from straight ahead of Morkin. Then he finds horses north-northeast of where he started. Then he keeps clearing wolves to the north.

Eventually he, Lothoril and Farflame escort Morkin.

Morkin and one of the escorts use the two Cups of Dreams available northwest of the Ushgarak complex (towards Gloom). Morkin uses the one closer to the Tower of Doom. The escort can use the farther one - he just needs to run interference against any enemy troops that might be close enough to detect and attack Morkin.

Savegames - Morkin victory - Day 7, 4.5 hours left (6 days 3.5 hours used) - day by day breakdown.

2. Military victory: Day 8.

The main tricks used:

- Luxor recruits Blood, who heads east. From then on Luxor manoeuvers in such a way that the 10+ troops coming straight at him from Ushgarak don't interfere with anyone.
- Rorthron heads for Korinel, picking up the Wolfslayer from the ruin 6E 1NE of the Tower of Moon.
- Corleth heads 5 East, dips 1 SE to pick up the Wolfslayer from the Lith of the Moon, then 1 E and 1 NE to maximise the use of movement points. He reaches Shimeril on Day 2, and goes on to recruit Thrall on Day 3.
- Thrall heads NE; his goal is to reach Dreams on Day 5. To that purpose, he will cut through the mountains near Marakith and use a Cup of Dreams from the lith 7W 4S of Dreams. No one else must touch that particular Cup, as it's the only one in a 1-day range of Dreams.
- Shimeril heads east, and uses 3 of Cups of Dreams to reach Marakith still on Day 2, who reaches Herath. Shimeril uses 2 more Cups and almost reaches Kumar, still on Day 2.
- Herath cuts through the mountains. Marakith, Thrall, Blood, and Corleth soon do the same, not all in the same place.
- Kumar uses the Cup at the Lith of Herath (in the area north and west of his citadel) and goes 3N 2NW to cut through the mountains, on day 3.
- Shimeril uses the Cup at the Lith of Ithrorn (on the winding path northeast, in the Forest of Whispers) to reach Ithrorn on day 4.
- Ithrorn and Kumar bypass the forest of Dreams from the east and north. Forests are really bad for your movement efficiency! They join up at the hills 1E of the Cavern of Rathrorn on Day 5. That's 6NW 3W 3NW from the Citadel of Ithrorn.
- Herath's path needs to take him to near Ushgarak at least one day earlier than everyone else. His goal will be the mountains about 4 east and 1 south of the Citadel of Ushgarak. Cut through the Forest of Dreams in the right way so that you're at its northern edge on day 4. Drink the Waters of Life from Lake Ugrorn on Day 5 and move 1 NW - you should be safe from attack for one day there. On Day 6 just move 1N and you're there.
- Blood goes around the Forest of Dreams from the west and also may consume a Cup at the liths. His goal is Ushgarak. He may cut through mountains, or he may rendezvous with others at the Citadel of Kor, to the south of Ushgarak, if others are coming (especially Korinel).
- Marakith, Dreams, Kumar, Ithrorn aim for the eastern entrance to the Ushgarak complex, the Citadel of Grarg. This will be the main assault army. Marakith cuts through the Forest of Dreams, taking advantage of any non-forest tile on the way, and together with Dreams assaults Grarg from the southeast (or possibly just stops on the tile 1N of it). Ithrorn and Kumar go around the forest from the north, and join up with Dreams and Marakith coming from the north, through the mountains, avoiding the two smaller keeps with standing armies and with hilly speedbumps between them. All these troops should be ready to arrive at the Citadel of Grarg on Day 6.
- [Optional]: Blood may be used as a replacement for Herath's mission, to reach the tile 4e 1s of Ushgarak and tie up the troop from one north of there. The risky night is the one after day 4, so if Herath is dead at the beginning of Day 5, switch to this plan. In this case, Blood should consume a second Cup of Dreams to make sure he can reach 4e 1s of Ushgarak on day 6. But this is not yet a concern in GOG version 1.12, because a bug causes armies to do much fewer kills per day, and so travelling through enemy territory is much safer.

On the west side:

- Morkin recruits Shadows, and later Farflame, who picks up the Dragonslayer from where he starts. Shadows heads straight for Lothoril and recruts him. Then they head towards Ushgarak.
- Alternatively, Lothoril may head back to focus on protecting Morkin, if you feel you have enough other lords coming to Ushgarak. Morkin's presence up north draws the Ice Crown's focus and results in more favourable Ice Fear conditions for everyone else.
- On Day 5 Rorthron recruits Korinel, if Korinel isn't tied up by combat. Then Rorthron moves 2 NE, avoiding the Skulkrin in his way. On the next day he might barely reach the Citadel of Korkith, in preparation for day 7, if enemy troops don't block his way.
- Korinel moves either 3 NE, or 2E 2NE, to immediately get a horse on the next day, from 3NE 1E of where he starts. After that he may join up with Blood at the Citadel of Kor or 1W of it.

General hints:

- Plan your moves very carefully. This is an excellent map:
- Make sure to get the most out of your movement points. For example, if you have 1.5 hours left to move, you'll move further in clear terrain if first you move in a cardinal direction (1 hour cost) and only then diagonal, for example N then NE. If you have 0.5 hours left and an opportunity to take a useful shortcut through a mountain or forest, take it - it's a bargain.
- at all times, take advantage of any "shelter" and "waters of life" if this doesn't delay you. The only reason you'd leave them behind is if another lord is taking the same path and will also want them. You want everyone to arrive as fresh for battle as possible.
- If there's a hostile troop sitting on the Cup of Dreams you want, just Attack, then Seek. The Cup resets your combat status and you can move again.
- ideally, by the end Luxor and Morkin should be somewhere nearby, for their beneficial effect on the Ice Fear, but not close enough that the troops chasing them would interfere with any of the previous operations.

Main assault:
- Day 6: Herath draws away the troop that's east of Ushgarak, clearing the way for your main army.
- Farflame parks himself next to both Ushgarak itself as well as one of the nearby armies. This draws away 4800 troops from the Citadel plus that nearby army. If he dies, he dies in glory.
- Day 7: The main forces (Marakith, Ithrorn, Kumar, Dreams, Blood, possibly Farflame) assault Ushgarak itself while there are only 1200 defenders there.
- I don't think Shimeril and Thrall can make it there on time.
- At the same time 3 lords with the smallest armies (Shadows, optionally Lothoril, optionally Korinel if he survived, or Corleth and Rorthron if they made it that far, in a pinch you can use Farflame again or even Blood) tie up surrounding armies so they don't join the main battle.

- Day 8: If all went well, Victory to the Free. Just press Night again.
MVP: Farflame the Dragonlord for tanking those 5800 troops.
Honorary mention: Lord Herath, for the indispensible feint clearing the path from Grarg to Ushgarak. Or Lord Blood in his stead, if Herath got himself killed on the way, which may well have happened.

Savegames - Military victory - Day 8 - day by day breakdown.

Game version: 1.12.
I'm stating the game version because AFAIK the next version will fix some combat bugs, and as a result increase battle kill counts for both you and Doomdark. This will make cutting through enemy territory as well as being a decoy a lot more perilous.

I expect the completion times above will still be possible - they certainly are in the DOS conversion (v1.10):

Savegames for DOS - Military victory
Savegames for DOS - Morkin victory

But you may see a few Lords die in the military route.

3. Joint military + quest victory: Day 8.
Same thing, except Morkin and his escort need to use the two Cups northwest of Ushgarak on day 7. Also, Farflame needs to survive to help Morkin destroy the Ice Crown on Day 8, so his job as the main decoy has to be taken over by Herath, and Herath's job by Blood (who uses an extra Cup to make it in time).
This introduces an element of luck, at least in those versions of the game where it's possible for Herath to die on the way. If this happens, I can't see a quest+military victory before day 9 at the earliest.

Savegames - Military + quest victory - Day 8
Post edited May 16, 2019 by MarkusRamikin