Penthesilea’s unique mechanics
Given that Penthesilea’s Amazons is Total War Saga: Troy‘s only horde faction, you can bet that you’re in for a refreshing take on the campaign. First off are the buildings. These are specific to an army, so you’re going to have to construct the same stuff when you start deploying additional forces.
The main horde building chain (War Circle) improves horde growth so the army can gain a population surplus (and construct more buildings or upgrades). The Captured Slaves chain helps too, but it decreases your food. There’s also the Apprentice Smith chain that buffs the damage and armor of all units in the army.
For the Horde
Another important building chain, in my opinion, would be the Hunting Party. It increases income from raiding, razing, and post-battle loot (which are your means of increasing income), and it lets you recruit spies. In any case, you can see more quirks regarding the horde mechanics in the video below:
This would be the part where I discuss the military building chains for Penthesilea’s Amazons. Due to the Initiation Rites mechanic, the Amazon faction leaders can only recruit tier 1 units (i.e., Warbands, Amazon Chargers, Stoneslingers, and the like).
These low-tier units can be upgraded to better ones as long as they’ve reached level 4 and you’ve constructed a particular military building. For instance, Amazon Chargers (tier 1 spear infantry) can become Horsewomen (light cavalry) or Styganores (tier 2 spear infantry). Later, your Horsewomen could even be turned into the amazing Hippomachoi heavy cavalry.
Upgrading to a new unit is instant, but it will cost you resources like food or gold, as well as the subsequent upkeep. As for the military buildings, here’s the rule of thumb for the higher-tier units:
- Melee infantry (i.e., Styganores) – Battle Mentors chain
- Cavalry (i.e., Horsewomen; Furies or Hippomachoi) – Rider’s Council chain
- Ranged infantry – War Games chain
- Chariots – Charioteer Ceremonies (one building)
Note: Since horde buildings are relative to each army, it’s better to spend your resources primarily for Penthesilea’s army. Later, you could have Penthesilea’s transfer some of her higher-tier units to your extra forces. Alternatively, if the secondary armies have leveled-up units, transfer those troops to Penthesilea and have her activate those upgrades assuming she’s got the military buildings already constructed.
Stances and bolstering your armies
Penthesilea and co. don’t suffer from severe supply line penalties when you have multiple armies. However, fielding a new hero/army requires the parent army to have a population surplus first. I’m not exactly sure what the value is. In some cases, I was able to recruit without issues, but there were still times when the heroes were greyed out (despite Penthesilea’s army having lots of population surplus).
As for stances, you should be raiding wherever you go. Of course, don’t forget the encamp stance too so you could recruit your units. Penthesilea’s armies can activate this even when out of movement points, and you’d be able to add more troops even in hostile territory. Anyway, you can see below how much I’m gaining while Penthesilea’s in raiding stance in the heart of Greece:
Furthermore, the downside of being a horde faction is that your armies can’t reinforce one another. It’s possible to have moments where you just deployed a new army with Penthesilea, and then the enemy beelines for it and destroys it while it’s next to you. This also applies while you’re on the offensive — no more multiple doomstacks to crush foes or to besiege cities with.
Therefore, a viable strategy is to have your armies go in pairs whenever there are several hostiles nearby (i.e., Greek mainland). Penthesilea will be in ambush stance while another commander uses the encamp or raiding stance. Even if neither army can reinforce the other, Penthesilea can successfully ambush anyone who attempts to attack your second group. This even helps draw out full stacks away from well-defended garrisons (as you can see in the image below).
War Spoils and razing
This mechanic is unique to Penthesilea. It shows you a panel of various rewards that can be obtained when you raze certain cities:
- Row 1 – Resources such as food, bronze, or gold.
- Row 2 – Favor from the various gods and goddesses.
- Row 3 – Other effects like Battle Glory (I’ll discuss this below), region visibility, and mythical creatures in your recruitment pool.
You could see these rewards too if you look at an icon next to a settlement’s nameplate. If the reward is a resource, you’ll get a ton the first time you raze it. But, if it gets colonized and you raze it soon afterward, then diminishing returns do apply.
Note: Later in your Total War Saga: Troy campaign, many well-developed cities might grant you 20,000+ food/bronze or a thousand gold as their War Spoils.
Oh, and you’re given two options on how to raze cities:
- Raze & Kill – +150 Battle Glory; boosted research rate; resources
- Raze & Enslave – +50 Battle Glory; +10 horde growth; significantly more resources
Note 1: Both options give you additional movement points after destroying the settlement, although you can’t switch to forced march stance.
Note 2: Ideally, use Raze & Enslave to gain horde growth/population surplus early in your Total War Saga: Troy campaign. Midway through, however, you should just prioritize Raze & Kill for Battle Glory. The boosted research rate from Raze & Kill helps immensely since it cuts down any tech research by several turns. Just remember that the effects don’t stack.
Battle Glory and Blood Oath
These two mechanics make Penthesilea’s Amazons faction a powerhouse in Total War Saga: Troy. Firstly Battle Glory is gained whenever you kill captives, raze settlements, or activate encamp stance. The goal here is to continue amassing this resource and pass thresholds that unlock Bloodsworn units.
|Blood Oath Level||Total Battle Glory Required||Resource Cost to Unlock||Special Units|
|Honor||500||1,000 food and 100 gold||Bloodsworn Warband|
|Vengeance||1800||4,000 food and 300 gold||Bloodsworn Labrys Infantry|
|Glory||4000||7,000 food and 500 gold||Bloodsworn Daughters of Ares|
Blood Oath levels/unlocks are faction-wide. Battle Glory, meanwhile, is tied to each particular army. The Battle Glory of an army also buffs its capabilities (morale and movement range), and it gives you more Bloodsworn units to summon depending on the level.
Okay, so, what are these Bloodsworn units? Think of them as akin to “Waaaghs!” used by Total War: Warhammer II‘s Greenskins factions. Once you click a blood droplet icon on the general’s troop panel, the army will have several Bloodsworn units attached to it. This actually turns the tide of battle, and it can help you breeze through your Total War Saga: Troy campaign.
Note: After two turns, the Bloodsworn “Waaagh!” will disappear and that army’s Battle Glory resets to zero. You’ll just need to go on a razing and murdering spree once more to refill it. Likewise, since the reset is mandatory, just pick replenishment for your troops rather than killing captives after winning battles.
We’re done with the unique mechanics of Penthesilea’s Amazons faction. Let’s go ahead and take a look at her epic missions and campaign progression in Total War Saga: Troy.