First of all, I'd like to say that this is the first AAR I've ever written. That shall be my excuse if it somehow turns out to be a disaster.
I've been working on it for a while, but have restarted several times due to poor avatar builds. Finally I decided to wait for the release version, since I was unsure how many changes would be made to the game.
I'll try to explain as much of what is going on as I can, but if anyone has any questions, they are more than welcome to ask. Comments are welcome, too, of course.
Anyway, here goes:
This is the avatar creation screen, where you decide the stats, perks, rank and public objective of your arch fiend.
You have 30 points to spend on your arch fiend, but you can get more by selecting negative perks, or a particularly difficult objective.
I've decided to spend most of my points on two things: raising my charisma attribute to 3 and raising my rank from lord to marquis. A charisma of at least 2, preferably 3, is pretty much a necessity, since charisma directly influences how much tribute you will get throughout the game. Demanding tribute is the only reliable source of getting resources, which are necessary for most actions in the game, so a high charisma is important. Attributes can be raised later in the game, but that can cost a lot of resources, and if your starting charisma is low it will be a while before you can get gather enough, which means you will be at a disadvantage in the early game.
Rank isn't quite as important, but it's still a good idea to buy at least one or two ranks, since it influences a lot of things in the game, most importantly your diplomatic interactions with the other players, and the quality of your starting legion and stronghold.
I still have 10 points remaining, so I'm going to spend 6 of them on the perk "Prince of Lies", which gives me a +4 to any deceit rituals I initiate. I'm going to try to build my strategy around a cunning character that relies mostly on stealth and intrigue, and deceit rituals will be central to that strategy. It's unfortunate, therefore, that I can't afford to raise my cunning attribute to more than 1, since that attribute governs your deceit level. I'll have to make raising that attribute a priority.
Since I'm trying to build a sneaky character, I'm going to choose Envy as my public objective. This means that if, by the end of the game, I have managed to bribe 1 praetor and steal 1 artifact, 1 relic and 10 resource cards, I get an extra 30 prestige points. The player with the most prestige wins the game, and sometimes 30 points can be the difference between winning and losing, so trying to achieve the objective is important. I'll need a cunning of 5, though, in order to steal relics.
I now have two points left, which isn't enough to raise either the charisma or cunning attribute, so I'm just going to spent it on raising my intellect to 1. Maybe I can get it to 4 down the road, which will give me another order slot.
This is the game creation screen. I've chosen 5 random opponents and default settings, except for map type, where I chose Acheron's Locks. There are 4 map types, but to be honest I'm not really sure what the difference is, since by the time the map has been created I've usually forgotten which one I chose.
I'm not playing in Ironman mode, even though it is available. This is because of the small chance that a crash bug might ruin the game. The game is very stable at this point, though, and I haven't encountered one in a long time, but better safe than sorry. There'll be no reloading, except if I encounter a crash bug, I promise.