[BTS] Fall from Heaven: 21 Shades of Erebus


Jun 12, 2014

I'm a long time lurker on these forums - with a lot of free time on my hands in the next few weeks, I'd like to showcase one of the best mods for Civ IV: Fall from Heaven (FfH), a total conversion of the game to a dark fantasy setting.
Along the way, I'll attempt to showcase all sorts strategies enabled by the mod. Though I'm by no means an expert Civ IV player (usually play on Immortal, still can't win reliably on Standard/Normal/Deity :cringe:), there's a lot of interesting possibilities to explore in Fall From Heaven.

The Games

I'll be playing Fall from Heaven with ExtraModMod. This modpack sticks pretty close to vanilla FfH, except for interface (BUG), AI (More Naval AI) and balance improvements (Erebus in the Balance).

My goal is to win a game with each of the 21 civilizations in the mod. I'll be posting starting saves for each game, so shadow games are welcome and encouraged :goodjob:

Game List
  1. Dain the Caswallan | Amurites | Emperor

The Settings
- Normal speed
- Emperor or Immortal. No Deity because many maps are unwinnable if you don't have a perfect chokepoint or are playing a civilization with an early game military advantage (Doviello, Clan of Embers): the MNAI AI is super aggressive and will warrior rush you with overwhelming force (Deity :hammers: bonuses) before you can unlock tier 2 units :trouble: (this may be different on Epic/Marathon but I don't have the patience for these)
- Large or Huge map. On standard or smaller it's too easy to roll over the entire continent before any of the AI become a large threat once you get a stack of promoted two-move units going :hammer:
- ErebusContinent or Erebus mapscripts. These both do a good job of generating interesting strategic features (mountains chains, chokepoints, isolated areas full of barbarians) and starting positions where Agriculture -> Calendar won't take care of all your early game :commerce: needs
- Vassal States enabled so that domination/conquest doesn't take forever
- Puppet States enabled for the same reason
- Tech trading will vary. Enabling quickens noticeably quickens the pace of the game past ~t150, at the expense of the interesting strategic tradeoffs involved in unlocking T3/T4 units when you can't trade to backfill missing techs.

The Rules
- :nono: no reloads, except for misclicks - Fall from Heaven is a lot more RNG heavy than standard Civ IV, and going with the rolls is half of the fun of this mod :goodjob:
- :nono: no exploits (deficit GPT trading, creating puppet states for palace mana, and probably many other FfH specific ones I'm forgetting)

Moderator Action: Moved to Stories & Tales. Cheers! -lymond
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Cool thread! I've been a long, long time player of Civ IV but never looked into this mod. I'll keep an eye on this thread and maybe I'll change my mind... :D

Kind regards,
Ita Bear
Dain the Caswallawn | Amurites
  1. Early Expansion

  • Emperor difficulty
  • ErebusContinent / Large mapscript
  • Standard speed
  • No Tech Brokering
  • Advanced Tactics
  • 8 AIs, all random
Set No Tech Brokering as a compromise between No Tech Trading and full tech trading.

Dain the Caswallawn is Philosophical (+100% :gp:, double production speed of Elder Council) and Arcane (free promotions and XP for arcane units, double production speed of Mage Guild). Both buildings unlock a sage specialist slot (equivalent to a scientist in BtS except it produces 4:science:). As such, he has strong synergy with strategies involving running lots of sages and bulbing with Great Sages).

Our hero, Govannon, is an archmage that can teach all level 1 spells he knows to any unit in your civilization. While this is a very strong ability (e.g. your entire army can get Haste (+1 move) and Dance of Blades (+ 1 first strike) spells for free (and many others), he is unlocked very late at Arcane Lore (5976 :science:) which limits his usefulness since we should already be in a winning position by that point (though a determined bulbing strategy can reach this surprisingly early, since Great Sages prioritize the arcane line techs :thumbsup:)

The real star of the show is our UU, the Firebow. At first glance it's just a longbow with lower defensive strength
(5/5:strength: instead of 5/7:strength: :hmm:), but it starts with free Fire I and Channeling II promotions, which means that 2xp unlocks Fire II out of the gate. Throw in an adept with Body I for Haste and a healer, and you'll have an army of two-move longbows that can cast city-bombarding, collateral-damage inflicting fireballs :dubious:, which can easily roll over a standard map on its own . The other UU, the Chanter, is just an assassin which can teleport back to the capital.
Firebows are so strong that they are a priority even in peaceful games, since they can often carry your defense to the endgame (unlike BtS, defenses are needed even in builder games, since the AI is much more aggressive, and will DoW the player when they get close to a victory condition)

The UB, Cave of Ancestors, is a Pagan Temple replacement which gives extra XP to arcane units. This is nice enough since you'll often end up building them in the early game anyway for early :) through the Religion civic.
Finally, the Amurite Palace provides Fire, Body, and Metamagic mana. Fire and Body mana are very useful in a militaristic game since they'll allow access to the crucial Fire II (fireballs), Body I (haste) and Body II (Regeneration, which is like a better Medic) promotions. As for Metamagic mana... more on that later when I get to the victory condition I'll be pursuing ;).

Overall, this leader/civ makes for a mid-late game military powerhouse based on Firebows and strong arcane units, reaching these crucial techs with GP bulbs.

The Start



  • Cadellon TURN-0001.CivBeyondSwordSave
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Amurites - Early Expansion

Spoiler :

t0 The start is a bit akward. Starting tech is Ancient Chants, and with no Agriculture resources, so our only food source requires two techs
(Agriculture -> Animal Husbandry). The Silk is on a forest, so we won't be able to improve it until Mining, which rules out Agriculture -> Calendar as our early game source of :science:. There are only 4 grassRiver tiles in sight so land isn't great for cottages or early farms boosted by Aristocracy civic (+2:commerce:), so we'll need another source of commerce, Mysticism and its philosophical-boosted elder councils (+2:science:, Sage slot) seems like a good candidate

Settle 1W for the extra grassRiver tile and the Silk. Research set to Agriculture (15t) -> Animal Husbandry -> Mysticism, capital set to worker (15t)

t5 Capital border pop reveals Pigs to the south so Animal Husbandry is definitely the correct choice here.

t6 Warrior reveals the Guardians of the Pristine Pass unique feature. In earlier versions of FfH this would've been an instant loss because is starts spawning 6/8:strength: Gargoyles very early. Seven Pines is nice since it provides Force mana - the Force II spell, Magic Missiles is useful for sniping enemy mages.

t10 meet the Hannah the Irin of the Lanun. Good neighbor to have since she shares the Neutral alignment with us for a nice diplo bonus and she's generally a good techer for future trades.

t15 Agriculture and worker completes, starts on some grassland farms while waiting for AH

t20 Warrior reveals Lanun capital. If I had a few promotions from barb fights I'd try to choke the Lanun, but without that we'd die quickly to the Warrior stack the AI starts with on Emperor

t33 I take a gamble and our warrior dies defending to a barb Griffon (4:strength:/2:move:). Our worker has nothing to do until AH, while the capital builds warriors until it reaches happy cap of 5 - barbarians in FfH are much more dangerous than in BtS

t45 Sheep pasture complete. After the warrior, capital will start on a settler for the Pig/Gold spot in the south - we're avoid the north and west since it's all tundra and mountains, and the east only has Fishing resources, which is a while away since after Mysticism we need Crafting -> Mining for forest chops (forest chops are only 13:hammers: in FfH but we really need the silk for early :commerce: and :))

t49 I roll this event, picking the gold option. Get lucky with no barb Skeleton spawn

t59 Mysticism completes. Switch to God King civic immediately for +50%:hammers:/:gold: in capital.
Research set to Crafting -> Mining -> Calendar -> Exploration -> Fishing. After that, we'll pick up Archery or Bronze Working to get some tier 2 units online (possibly before Fishing depending on the threat level). You really want a military tech before ~t120 to face off AIs that like early rushes (Thessa, all Hippus leaders, most Evil leaders and some I'm forgetting)

t67 settler comes out, production set to our cheap (30:hammers:) elder councils.

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An occasional shot with resource bubbles would be nice so folks can really see what you are dealing with.

I may install FFH with your configuration, as I've not tried that one before. It's been some years.
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An occasional shot with resource bubbles would be nice so folks can really see what you are dealing with.

I may install FFH with your configuration, as I've not tried that one before. It's been some years.

Ah, unfortunately I already finished the game and took all my screenshots :undecide:. I'll definitely do that for the next map though!
Cool idea, a pity there didn't end up being more play-throughs. I play a lot of FFH, but rarely finish games because there's such a long distance between getting into a winnable position and actually closing out the game.

I might try out this file though, and see if I can be motivated to finish for once.
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