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Swift-footed Achilles, hero of The Iliad, was the mightiest warrior the world has ever known. His seeming invincibility in combat was the subject of much myth and conjecture. Legend claims that his mother, the sea-goddess Thetis, granted him invulnerability as an infant by dipping him into the waters of the Styx. Such was his might that no other man could lift his massive spear of Pelian ash. Achilles was the famed leader of the Myrmidons, an elite fighting force from Phthia said to have been created by Zeus himself from a colony of ants. Fiercely loyal, they fought with ferocity and overcame insurmountable odds through sheer unflinching determination. While Achilles’ presence could often turn the tide of battle, the Phthian champion was prone to great, unpredictable mood swings that could either shake or bolster the resolve of the Achaean host.
Homer called him Swift Achilles and justly so – the Living Legend is always on the offensive, seeking to defeat all challengers until no one’s left to dispute his supremacy. But between the glory that has got to his head and the weight of his prophesized destiny, the epic hero has developed an equally epic temper. Hot-blooded Achilles switches between moods of pride, grief, indignance and outrage and the consequences are shared by all under his command. To truly conquer oneself is the biggest victory as the philosophers tell us, so the challenge in Achilles’ campaign is to manage his moods and position of renown, thus reaping benefits for both his realm and armies. His elite light and medium units are best suited for lightning offensive early on but would be valuable even against heavy defenders if used tactically later.
As the campaign starts, Achilles faces an Ellopian army as it invades Phthia from the south. He must push them back to the isle of Euboea and then consider the opportunities for northern expansion, provided by the wealthy but meek Magnetes and Pelasgiotes. To the north-west, the Thessalians can be either a powerful ally or a worthy conquest. To the south, Achilles has powerful friends – Ajax the Lesser and his father Oileus. To the east, amidst the Aegean, lies the isle of Skyros, domain of King Lycomedes, where Achilles found sanctuary in the not-so-distant past. The mightiest warrior of The Iliad, but also hot tempered and unpredictable, Achilles is for the risk-takers who prefer to seek out powerful adversaries and overcome them via the elite units at their disposal.
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