|“||I will tear down your castle. Stone by stone if I have to, but I will have your head.||”|
|— The Wolf, when sieging player's castle.|
|Real Name||Duc Volpe|
Duc Volpe, known also as The Wolf is the main antagonist in Stronghold and Stronghold 3, appearing also as an AI enemy in the multiplayer section of Stronghold Crusader and Stronghold Crusader Extreme.
The Wolf's past is shrouded with mystery, and what is known of his history is mainly patched together from stories and unreliable rumors alone. This aside, it is believed that both of his parents died from natural causes in close succession shortly after his eighteenth birthday.
After receiving his dukedom, the Wolf took it upon himself to go travelling, stating he needed some time to think things through, leaving his loyal serfs to manage the lands for him. Nobody knows for certain where he went, but he returned a year later with a new companion calling himself The Pig. After a visit to the king of the homeland himself, he began to instigate his invasion plans of Britain with the Pig in tow as his right hand man. There have also been wild accusations flying around the king's court that the Wolf has somehow become involved with the "Order of Black Knights". However there is only unsubstantiated and anecdotal evidence to support these claims.
The Wolf is built from pure muscle, undoubtedly making him the strongest of the foes you will meet. His awesome presence comes mainly from his well-toned gargantuan figure, which is capped with a sturdy pair of broad shoulders. His square jaw is coated with a layer of rough stubble and, coupled with his well defined cheekbones, gives him a handsome Germanic look. His pair of cold steely eyes rounded off by thick eyebrows almost meeting in the middle, allow him to turn his intense stare on or off at will. He usually wears a loose fitting red shirt with the top two buttons undone which exposes his ample chest hair that rhythmically heaves up and down as he breathes.
The Wolf is the cold and calculating mastermind behind the entire saga. Secretive in nature, he gives little away in the form of body language, as he consciously makes sure his arms are folded and eye contact is never severed during negotiations. His exterior is almost always calm showing a similar amount of emotion as a newly carved stone, and even in the face of adversity he manages to keep his cool. Underneath, the cogs never stop whirring as he thinks up the most cunning way to outsmart the opposition. If someone foolishly antagonizes him, he will tense his jaw and slowly circle his neck to release a succession of blood-curdling cracking sounds before retorting.
On the exceptionally rare occasions when he does become enraged, he will curl up one side of his top lip revealing an oversized canine then let out a low growl. The Wolf is the most efficient as well as the cruelest of leaders rumored to kill even his most loyal of his staff that step out of line, causing people under his rule to respect him through sheer terror.
Castles and StrategiesEdit
The Wolf is one of the strongest AI opponents in both Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader.
In the original Stronghold, the Wolf acts as the leader of the four tyrants who have divided the land. The Rat, The Snake, and The Pig are all afraid of him to some extent. The Wolf, as he proudly admits, is also the one who killed the player's father.
He likes to build massive castles with thick walls and large towers. All of his castles are surrounded by killing pits and plenty of pitch. Some of the Wolf's more complex castle designs can hold out against even the largest of siege forces if he is permitted enough time to dig his moat and establish his economy. Out of all the AI players encountered, the Wolf's castles are the true forts that deserve to call them 'strongholds'.
The recurring Wolf builds his castles and his attack forces just like in the original Stronghold, but there are some changes. He less concentrates on harassment and has become a fairly defensive player.
The Wolf has a very productive economy based on heavy industry. He produces apples and cheese for food and gathers all raw materials. He constructs 6 quarries, numerous iron mines and many pitch rigs. He motivates his people with maximum negative Fear Factor, to greatly boost output. To counter the negative popularity, he gives standardly extra to double rations and produces ale. He also has heavy tax rates and therefore sometimes chapels and churches may be seen to build.
Offense is not the strength of the Wolf. He spends most of his time building up his forces after constructing a proper defense. His troops however pack a punch when unleashed.
Harassment is common from the Wolf, especially in the very beginning. For counterattacks he uses Arabian bowmen and horse archers, of which he brings sometimes dozens. He also amasses catapults if he has the finances.
The siege forces he brings however, may prove deadly and require a proper defense. These consist of crossbowmen, pikemen and swordsmen. More pikemen are brought when the enemy surrounds himself with moat. His engineers will construct catapults, trebuchets and fire ballistae. He likes diverting his troops to both attack the castle and destroy outside buildings.
For defense duties he employs archers and crossbowmen, sometimes engineers with boiling oil. His castles have massive outposts, thick walls, pitch ditches spread out and killing pits, along with multiple strong towers and defense mangonels. He digs moat with pikemen.
If given enough time, the Wolf will build small patches of archers and crossbowmen to patrol buildings. This is only a rare occasion during the mid-late game, which is very unlikely to happen, since the Wolf is busy replacing his fallen troops and building up his attacking force.
How to deal withEdit
The Wolf's attacks need a good number of units to deflect, mainly because of the heavily armored troops he uses. Crossbowmen and fire ballistae are invaluable, as well as ballistae and mangonels should not be neglected. Moat is very effective in slowing down the advancing units. Some catapults deployed around the castle also help, since they can batter any swordsmen or pikemen into death with one hit. Horse archers are very effective against crossbowmen, since most of the time the Wolf focus fires on single targets, giving time for your horsemen. Fire does little damage, but pitch ditches are a good last resort if swordsmen are slowly demolishing your walls.
Dispatching the Wolf's castles can be really troublesome if given enough time to be constructed. The heavy defense, the massive structures and deployed siege engines outside the castle resemble a hedgehog, which won't allow any intruders in. Fortunately, there are some ways:
- Prevention: Although the Wolf spends most of his starting money on defenders, he won't have resources to construct towers and gatehouses. Assassins and horse archers in decent numbers may be a good solution. Assassins are good against advancing pikemen, while horse archers pick off Arab bowmen and crossbowmen stuck on the ground. The horsemen may also draw fire while your melee troops kill the king.
- Attrition: This is the most common way to siege the Wolf. Your best chance to attack after he has moved out his attack force. Use a good number of horse archers, melee troops and catapults to achieve this. Use the horse archers to terrorize workers and patrolling troops, killing the masses of Arabian bowmen he sends to counter your move. In the meantime, smash the towers and essential buildings with your catapults and make sure you have enough stone to feed them (5 quarries are a must). When you have created a breach, move in some troops so you'll draw out pikemen and swordsmen from the keep. Kill them and launch a massive wave of melee troops to win.
The Wolf returned in Stronghold 3 to reprise his role of the main game antagonist. He somehow managed to survive the sword impalement into his chest and the fall from the tower. With the help of his eastern allies, he has recovered fully and now appears 10 years older. He no longer seems to wear his trademark helmet. Two of his allies are the sons of the Pig and the Rat, while the last is the Jackal, Eastern in origin.
If allied with the Wolf, he will not actually speak to the player. One of his servants carries messages for him. For example: My master has need of the following goods. Please send them immediately. This is the result of Firefly Studios' method of copying old taunts from the original Stronghold to Crusader, as only taunts for victory, defeat and battle announcements exist.
- On Skirmish
- Enters game: "Grrr!"
- Leaves game: "Arghh!!"
- As player's ally
- None (Use ambassadors instead)
- As player's enemy:
- Attacks player: "I will tear down your castle. Stone by stone if I have to, but I will have your head."
- Failed to defeat player: "Is there no one, who will rid me of your irritating presence?!"
- Kills player's lord: "I win, You lose!"
- Attacked by player: "Maybe, I have underestimated you a little."
- Player's attack fails: "You are weak and not fit to command an army."
- Player's attack succes: "You fight better than your father. At least I'll give you that."
- Killed: "Grr.. Kill me now, I will not kneel before you!"
|Stronghold||The Rat • The Snake • The Pig • The Wolf|
|Stronghold Crusader||Saladin • The Caliph • The Sultan • Lionheart|
|Stronghold Warchest||Emperor Frederick • King Phillip • The Wazir • The Emir • The Nizar • The Sheriff • The Marshal • The Abbot|
|Stronghold 2||Sir William • The King • Lady Seren • Edwin • The Hawk • The Bull • Olaf • The Hammer|