STARTING LEADERThis can be done with Vlad at the helm, but Isabella is best because she has +3 hero capacity for Vampires. This will be useful because gaining Blood Kisses is one of the easiest ways to gain relations early on. Although Isabella buffs embedded Vampires, we do not want to embed our heroes except Emanuelle / Melissa (the starting hero). For some reason, you don’t lose out on the vanguard deployment that Vlad is supposed to give you when you choose him.
THE GOALSylvania receives -40 diplomatic aversion with the Empire at the start of the campaign. This may seem like a lot, but it’s very easy to overcome. The Empire has far more hated enemies than you, such as -100 diplomatic aversion with Orcs and Chaos who are plentiful around Reikland.
Sylvania can gain up to +80 diplomatic tolerance with the Empire naturally. The goal is to get as many of these bonuses as possible:
Infiltrate Noble Houses (technology) +10 diplomatic relations
Lahmian Bloodlines (level 2 bloodline) +30 diplomatic relations
Mortal Levies (Vlad’s unique skill at level 12) +40 diplomatic relations
BLOOD KISSESGet 9 Blood Kisses as fast as possible. Recruit as many Vampire heroes as you can and send them across Reikland to wound any 4 enemies of mankind. Vampire heroes will wound their targets, who will return in a few turns, ripe for another Blood Kissing.
Good targets include Festus, the Changeling, Azhag and Skrag. It is definitely worth sending a Vampire south to find Skrag as he usually has low level heroes. Middenland has an Orc and Beastman starting enemy that can also be farmed.
Blood Kiss Breakdown:
1 at start
1 on turn 3 from Lahmian Book of Blood technology
1 from slaying the leader of Templehof
2 from the Blood Chalice quest battle
4 more from wounding enemy heroes
SPENDINGSpend Gold on these items in this order:
The unique building at Castle Drakenhof
Gifts to Stirland and Talabecland (bump this up in priority if you notice they are acting sus or if you accidentally trespassed)
THE FIRST FEW TURNSDefeat your starting enemy, the Templehof Conclave, as normal. DO NOT TAKE ESSEN until you have secured an alliance with at least one Empire faction, and ideally only when you are allied with Karl. This will discover Kislev and put you dangerously close to the Dwarfs. This is an extremely important detail that is easy to mess up accidentally.
TURN 10Break your non-aggression pact with the Barrow Legion. Everyone will like you for it and this removes your 2nd biggest obstacle to alliances with humans. Karl will likely break his non-aggression pact with you at this same time, but this is merely a minor setback.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
STIRLAND AND TALABECLANDThese counties will be your best friends and your first allies. The Shadows of Change DLC added a starting enemy, the Changeling, right in Stirland, so join the war against him right away for an immediate diplomatic boost. Make sure they have discovered Karl. If they entreat Karl, he will like you for giving them gifts. If they have not discovered Karl, he may cast them out of the Empire for dealing with the undead. However this is very unlikely to lead to war.
KARAZ A KARAK AND KARAK KADRINAvoid interacting with them except to join wars against their enemies. The Slayer King is less liked than his clothed cousin, but it is not worth the diplomatic penalty to go to war with either. And yes, that will be grudgin’.
ZHUFBARPoor Zhufbar, not many people are friendly with them. The six settlements you have (Northern + Southern Sylvania - Essen) are more than sufficient to pay for your cheap, disposable armies, but if you want more territory and gold, Zhufbar are usually fine to take out. Just make sure they are not friendly with Stirland or Talabecland.
KISLEVKatarin, my sweet winter child, is snowblind to the legitimacy of the von Carstein hegemony of Sylvania. Avoid her at all costs. She trades with Karl right away, so angering her will unfortunately anger Karl. If you mess this up, and you think it’s no longer possible to ally with Karl, get Balthazar instead.
DRYCHADrycha is a natural ally due to the steadily increasing vampire relations she gets as she purifies the forest. It’s possible that she will become friendly with either Stirland or Talabecland. Unfortunately a grand alliance between Karl, Drycha and Vlad is unlikely due to Kislev absolutely hating elves and vampires. You should abandon hope of getting the grand alliance. Unless….
AZHAGAzhag will come barreling down the mountains to your northeast around turn 10. Ideally he will declare war on the Dwarfs, Drycha and the Empire. If you declare war on him in response, they will like you. Hopefully, Drycha and Karl will join forces against him. This is your chance to get a grand alliance.
EMPIRE DIVIDEDSometimes two factions will emerge in the Empire. One will be led by Karl, supported by most other counties, and the other will be Balthazar and Averland. Take your pick which to support. Usually Balthazar is the backup. He and Karl will not go to war with each other even if one supports you and the other doesn’t.
OSTERMARKApparently everybody hates Ostermark including Drycha and Kislev. Keep an eye out for when their territories are destroyed. Occupy and gift settlements to Talabecland or Stirland for a huge diplomatic and financial boost.
TIPS AND CONSIDERATIONS
FLIPPING FRIENDLINESSEveryone likes when you give their friends gifts, but if you sign treaties with a faction, their neighbors might think less of them. Sometimes Talabecland will dislike Stirland for working with vampires. Don’t worry if this happens! In this case, when you smooth talk Talabecland enough, eventually their distaste for their neighbors will flip from a diplomatic penalty to a bonus as they realize you’re not all bad. This is huge as it can cause a feedback loop where each one likes that the other one likes you, and the more they both like you, the more they both like you. If Stirland and Talabecland have discovered Reikland, Karl himself will get sucked into this loop as well.
TRADING SETTLEMENTSIn Warhammer III this diplomatic strategy is easier than ever thanks to the ability to capture a settlement and give it to someone as a gift. This will often convince them to join a defensive alliance right away. Keep an eye out for ruined or enemy-controlled settlements to take and give to the humans. If your army is sitting in a settlement that is given to someone else, they will immediately think you’re trespassing. If you can’t at least get military access in return for the settlement, make sure your army is out of the region first.
MILITARY ALLIANCE OR DEFENSIVE ALLIANCE?A defensive alliance is easier to maintain because you are not immediately tied up in all diplomatic maneuverings with one another. This will also allow you to get an outpost for allied recruitment.
By following these steps you will have easily secured an alliance with Stirland and most likely with Talabecland and Karl as well. An alliance with Boris can be obtained in the same way. You can replicate these steps to different undead factions, such as Nessie and Count Cocktilus, to get an alliance with Stunty Moses/Border Princes and Tyrion respectively.
Please feel free to message me if you have any questions or feedback!
Thank you for reading this guide and... bluh!
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