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MA Arcoscephale, The Old Kingdom


Arcoscephale is together with Pythium the first nation conceived in the creation of Dominions. After having played GMT's Great Battles of Alexander and S.P.Q.R. I got fascinated by ancient warfare, and the hoplites were among the first units to appear in Dominions. At first the two nations were one, with a troop rooster of ancient units, while Man and later on Ulm had troop roosters with a more medieval touch. Soon, however, it became clear that Pythium and Arcoscephale should be two distinct nations. Arcoscephale is heavily influenced by ancient Greek city states and Hellas. The Golden Age is influenced by the mythical past and the archaic age. Later ages boast Hellenic and Mesopotamian influences: elephants, mysteries and Chaldean astrologers. - Illwinter

Arcoscephale is an old kingdom. Although its glory days are long past, the ancient Astrologers who aided past kings in building Arcoscephale into a mighty empire have recently emerged from their centuries-old seclusion, to restore the Old Kingdom to world domination once more. Priestesses with great knowledge of healing are trained in ancient temples built during the peak of the Old Kingdom. The priestesses are able to scry upon enemy troops and provinces that are located within the God’s Dominion. The war machine of ancient Arcoscephale has not changed over the past centuries. Cumbersome plate hauberks and long spears are still used and the cavalry is primitive. Elephants and chariots, unpredictable but devastating, are still popular.

General Overview

MA Arcoscephale is a nation with formation fighter units and mages that make use of communions to improve their combat casting. They also have access to tramplers in their unit roster. The Arcoscephale dominion gives you a better understanding of the composition of enemy armies.

National Features

Race Military Magic Access Priests Buildings
Average Humans Can stuff extra bois in a square Early Phalanx
(Heavy Infantry)


Blessable Sacred Hoplites
astral 44 (Rare 5)
fire 11 (uncommon 2)¹
water 11 (uncommon 2)¹
earth 11 (uncommon 2)¹
nature 11
Heroes: nature 33, air 11
nature 33 (requires nature 44)
astral 11death 22nature 11 (requires death 33
death 11blood 11 (requires death 22
Average (holy 22)
Cures up to a certain amount of afflictions in their province each turn Healers
Dominion Scouts its provinces.
3 Tiers, standard for the era Castles
Labs cost moolah250

Your Astrologers have one 100% and one 10% firewaterearthastral random, giving each one a 27.5% (11/40) chance of having astral 44 & a 0.625% (1/160) chance of having astral 55.
¹Your Mystics have one 100% firewaterearthastral random, but they also have 50% randoms for Fire, Water, and Earth; for example, each one has a 75% (3/4) chance of having fire 11, a 50% (1/8 + 1/8 + 1/4 = 1/2) chance of having fire 11earth 11, a 12.5% (1/8) chance of having fire 22, and a 6.25% (1/16) chance of having fire 22earth 11. You're technically not guaranteed to have Fire, Water, or Earth on a Mage, but the odds of having at least one level are decent.
²The Summons are not Commanders, so their paths are revealed with Gift of Reason (nature 44) or Divine Name (astral 55).

Capital Sites

Tower of a Thousand Stars
* Enables recruitment of Astrologer
* Enable recruitment of Heart Companion
* Produce 4astralpearl1naturegem per turn

National Units


Sprite Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Mountain Survival
Forest Survival
A cheap scouting unit. Gets the job done.
Mounted Commander
mounted A mounted 60 leadership commander.
Hypaspist Commander
Formation Fighter(2) An 80 leadership commander.
Hoplite Commander
Formation Fighter(2) An 80 leadership commander. Costs more in resources than the Hypaspist Commander but has a longer spear and is better protected.
Old Age(55/50) A 120 leadership commander for your big armies, but is old.
astral 11random3100%
This is your jack of all trades. A good researcher for the price. Useful as a communion slave. Your primary battle mages. All can do the usual S1 point buffs, especially body ethereal'd elephants, with lucky randoms they can cast legions of steel after earthpower to turn hoplites into very durable line holders, and very much more.
Mystics Randoms:
+ rec Foreign
nature 11holy 11 7
supply bonus(10)
Healer (1)
A cheap healer with a single nature path, an understatement given with hoops other nations would jump through to get this, and this isn't your best healer.
nature 11holy 22 7
supply bonus(10)
Healer (3)
A holy 2 healer with a single nature path. More efficient as a healer. These allow your S3 astrologers to mind hunt without fear.
Capital Only
astral 33random1100%
Fortune Teller(10%)
An important communion master. Uses communions to cast astral, fire, water and earth spells in battle. Can help you avoid bad events with his fortune teller ability. Not efficient as a researcher, his main focus is combat magic. They are also excellent mind hunters.


Sprite Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Inexpensive ranged weapons. Sadly not very useful, as slings are low damage and limited range. Could be deployed as in great numbers swiftly as siege chaff or in combination with Flaming Arrows.
Gold 10
Under-armored Light Infantry that are relatively inexpensive in terms of resources. They're not great, but they're better than Slingers at close-ranged missile combat for the one or two turns that that's relevant.
Gold 10
formation fighter(2) Over-armored Light Infantry that are still relatively inexpensive in terms of Resources. Even without Javelins, they're the gold standard of chaff for MA Arcoscephale: cheap, and good at holding the front line.
Gold 13
formation fighter(2) Over-armored Heavy Infantry that wields very long Spears. They are disgustingly slow on the battlefield, but that doesn't matter in some cases.
Gold 16
formation fighter(2) Compared to Hoplites, Hypaspists are faster, and have higher Morale & Defense, but use a shorter Spear and have a bit less Protection. They also have a higher Recruitment Point cost to offset their lower Resource cost. I'd use Cardaces if I were you.
Heart Companion
Capital Only
formation fighter(4)
Your ONLY Sacred troop, unless you get lucky with your surrounding indies and pick up some Jade Maidens or Pegasus Knights. Even without taking Holy Points into consideration, they're rather expensive for their size, unless you've put a stellar combat Blessing together.
Gold 40
You have War Elephants… Unless you need to save on Gold (of all things), don't purchase these things.
War Elephant
Gold 100
Is elephant. It trample. What more you want? Make ethereal for extra fun.


Sprite Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Pathos - Son of Titans awe(1)
120ld hard to kill leader.
Anthromachus - Hero inspirational(1) 160ld inspirational leader.
Axieros - Kabeiride water 11nature 33holy 22 13
resist poison(5)
Sailing(2, Max 999)
Supply Bonus(40)
poor amphibian
reduces unrest (5)
Sailing crazy magic woman.
She can cast Foul Vapors!
Orokestes - Hierophant fire 11air 11water 11earth 11astral 22holy 22 17
A 1-in-32 Mystic with Air magic and Priest levels.
A good multitool (for Site-searching and Communions), if you can keep him.


National Magic & Summons

Monster Boar Conjure 5, nature 33 10naturegem, ( Monster Boarx1) an annoyance spell. forces the enemy to send forces to their money-making province to stop the unrest the boar is producing.

Procession of the Underworld Conjure 5, death 33 13deathgem, (summon 12 Lampad) Can't nativly cast. Get alot of them for thier price. A nicie anti-thugging unit that inficts decay. If Gift of Reasoned they add astral 11death 22nature 11 to your communions.

Summon Hound of Twilight Conjure 5, earth 22death 11 4earthgem, (summon a Hound of Twilight) Can't nativly cast. Decent patroler and Spirit-sight can catch elves.

Bind Keres Conjure 6, death 22 12deathgem, (summon 3 Ker) Can't natively cast. Summon hard to hit flyers that can paralyze the undead. Can be effective in conjunction with your flying units late game as many nations will have undead mages. If Gift of Reasoned they add death 11blood 11. Not look like much but you can still get useful spells and gear with only a blood 11 (do need to collect slaves and you can empower).

Craft Keledone Construction 7, earth 22astral 22 5earthgem, (summon 1 Keledone) Situational, Summon a Hard to kill immobile communion slave in case a fort gets besieged.

Forge Brass Bull Construction 7, fire 33earth 33 30firegem, (summon a Khalkotauros) A high prot trampler.

Awaken Hamadryad Enchantment 5, nature 44 25naturegem, (summon 1 Hamadryad) Can't natively cast. A immobile nature 33 mage. Sutuational as a defence implacment, But better in this MA as a Nature ritualist and crafter if you can't get your nature 33 hero. only need to empower a Hiereia once and make a Thisle Mace.

Sow Dragon Teeth Enchantment 6, earth 22 1earthgem, (summon 10 Spartae during Combat) A Decent in battle troop summon. Can get the same amount of value as a full sized earth elemental without going too deep into Conjuration.

Magic Access

FIXME What magic path/mages define your nation, what can you level, e.g., thunderstriking, astral, elementals, earth buffs, blood, what is recruitable anywhere and good, what are some summons you are likely able to get and are useable

The Old Kingdom makes Arcoscephale's name as a Communion nation, with high Astral and rather-thin power elsewhere. Depth is hardly an issue in battle for Communion nations, thanks to the path boosting, but it's the name of the game outside of battle. Arcoscephale's Mystics can provide a little depth in Fire, Water, & Earth, but they're not very consistent in that respect. Handle your fire 22's, water 22's, and earth 22's with care.

astral 44 is remarkably common and cheap, thanks to your Astrologers, allowing you to terrorize non-Astral nations with Mind Hunt (Evocation 6) and ensnare unprepared thugs with Enslave Mind (Thaumaturgy 6). You can also use your Level 4 guys to buff your Human soldier masses with Luck, using Battle Fortune and eventually Will of the Fates (both are Alterations). Even without the Astral random, you can bombard foes with Astral Geyser, Stellar Cascades, Astral Fires (if you got a Fire random instead), and Soul Slay, all without even needing Communions; Communions only make you stronger, however, as long as you use them right. With boosters, whether you top out at astral 55 or astral 66 depends on whether or not you have an earth 22 Mystic, thanks to the Starshine Skullcap and the Crystal Coin. With astral 66, you can craft the Ring of Sorcery and then the Ring of Wizardry if you have Pearls to spare, though you only have slots to boost yourself to astral 77. 1-in-160 Astrologers start with astral 55, but don't count on that; you can only barely count on getting level 2 in one of the Elements, after all, and those are 20 times more common.

Speaking of the Elements, boosters (other than the grossly-expensive Ring of Wizardry) and your 1-in-8 Level 2 Elemental Mystics enable you to reach water 44, earth 33, & fire 22 outside of battle. If you're willing to splurge with your Elemental Gems (but just not for Empowering some fragile Human), you can climb to water 55 & earth 44 with Sea King's Court & Troll King's Court respectively (Conjuration 6), the former of which will allow you to summon Water Queens and climb an extra two levels if you find a lake fast enough. If you're swimming in Gems, enough to Forge the Rings, you'll be able to climb both Fire & Earth to similar extents. In battle, Phoenix Power & Summon Earthpower (both Conjuration 3) allow you to climb Fire & Earth an extra level, while Summon Water Power lets you do the same with Water if you somehow end up under the sea. Communions could do the same thing, but higher-level Slaves last longer than lower-level ones, and the booster spells are shared between Slaves & Masters; the Earthpower spell even relieves their Fatigue directly. You can summon large amounts of Elementals, make your heavy infantry even heavier with Legions of Steel, and do other neat stuff in battle with these guys, but you won't have a ton of them.

Nature exists too, don't forget about that. All of your Priestesses have nature 11, and they don't have a cheap method of climbing up. In battle, nature 11 Mages are typically quite limited outside of relatively-weak point-buffing-and-debuffing, though a bit less so with Nature Gems and more-than-conservative Gem usage. However, the earth 11astral 11 crosspath allows you to Forge the Crystal Matrix, so you can stitch your Priestesses into Communions so they can cast bigger spells (and potentially wreck the Communions Slaves in the process). You also have a water 11nature 33 Hero who can drum up a Faerie Court at Conjuration 8, breaking you into nature 44 & air 33 without the Rings; you have only a 0-5% chance (depending on your Fortune/Misfortune Scales) of getting a Hero each turn, however, and there are three other Heroes that you might get instead.

Notable Generic Magic

Discuss the top few generic spells that most increase a nation's combat power or synergize with national strategies. These will generally be early-to-mid game spells since individual spells matter much more during those periods of the game. Some examples are Foul Vapors for MA C'tis, Horde of Skeletons + Sabbath Master/Sabbath Slave for the Niefelheim line of nations, Mother Oak for the Pangaeas, Wailing Winds access, etc. For broader advice on magic use, link to Not-Lola's Basic Magic Use Guide.

This is also a good place to point out notable magic weaknesses, such as a lack of nature access making a nation vulnerable to Foul Vapors.


As restated above your a Astral spam nation with side path in Fire, Water, & Earth from mystics. All of which becomes stronger during communion. A decent Selection to fluff up your hoplites, protecting them from especially elemental damages but also a single entity to battlefield wiping AOE attacks.

if you have a Matrix, then the priestess adds Nature to mix to furth your enemy disposal and army buffing options though at a higher fatigue cost on your Mystic communion slaves.


Almost all your mystics have high combat usefulness and even those with low paths like water 11astral 11 can spam Frozen Heart in a clinch. The most useful ones are of course the double paths fire 22, water 22, earth 22, astral 22. A few notable combat magic crosspaths are fire 11earth 11 which gives access to magma spells like Magma Eruption, fire 11water 22 which gives access to acid spells like Acid Rain and fire 11astral 22 which gives access to Astral Fires.

In battle your elemental and astral mystics can reach as high as fire 44, earth 44, water 33, astral 44 without the use of boosters using Phoenix Power, Summon Earthpower and Power of the Spheres. Remember Power of the Spheres takes 100 fatigue at astral 11 so if using it one should preferably first get Light of the Northern Star up because it halves those 100 fatigue to 50. Remember all your mystics with atleast earth 11 can use earth gems for reinvigoration from Summon Earthpower.

Cheap boosters in Water Bracelet, Starshine Skullcap and Earth Boots bring your access to fire 44earth 55water 44astral 55. That is enough to cast Weapons of Sharpness, Army of Gold, Grip of Winter, Heat from Hell, Flaming Arrows, Will of the Fates and even Astral Tempest. This is all from 135Gold 1 turn recruit mages that doesn't need a temple.

Example of battle spells:

Mystic communions

With a nation that has communion masters and slaves with so many random paths, setting up communions to work as intended and be efficient can be hard as someone new to communions. There are a few key rules to remember when creating communions with Mystics:

*Master casting spells that slaves do not have a path in creates huge amount of fatigue in slaves
*Least amount of fatigue in slaves is generated when slaves have higher path than the master.

This means if you want to cast some big water spells, the most efficient master is a master with only water 11astral 11, this is because it can only cast water and astral spells. The best slave in this situation is any mystic with water 22. This relation can be improved even further by having only one of several masters casting Power of the Spheres boosting all slaves paths by 1, while only boosting a single master by 1. If you want to cast big water and fire spells, your masters are fire 11astral 11 and water 11astral 11 while your slaves are fire 11water 11astral 11.

If you are in a situation where a master mystic risk casting a spell in a path the slaves do not have off script, it should be equipped with a ranged magic item and put on fire after its script is done. You can also put off slave path Summon Earthpower this way on a communion.

Magic Items

List and describe any unique national items or discounts in this section, discuss and compare with similar generic items. Also discuss generic items that are useful and accessible for the nation. These may include:

  • Thug gear (if the nation has good thugs)
  • Research boosters (particularly if the nation needs help researching or is already very good at researching)
  • Other items that synergize with the nation (e.g. Dwarven Hammers for MA Ulm)

National Items

National Discount Items

Generic Items


Power Curve

This is probably the most difficult section to get consensus for. Describe how strong the nation is during expansion, the early, mid and late game, and what makes it strong/weak at each of those points. This should give readers an idea of where the weaknesses of a nation lie (if they have not been shown already) and when to take advantage of a nation's strengths.

Expansion Strategies

List some example expansion strategies here. If a strong bless or pretender is required then leave the specifics for the pretender section.

Example Pretender Builds

List some example pretender builds. Try to use the following format to keep authorship and pretender design rationale clear.

Tlagnoj's Gasmaster
Due to MA Arcoscephale having no particularly impressive troop lineup for the early game, combined with very powerful research and magic access in the mid game, it is prone to being a target for a first war. This pretender is made to be a solution for that. The Telkhine God-King will cost population for a few turns while you get crucial research and some gear for it forged, but once it has enough early research and some const 0 protection gear it can handle any indy province with ease due to it's access to Mistform Mossbody Ironskin Temper Flesh Flying Shield Personal Regeneration and more. It is also excellent paths for an early army killer thug. The reason for choosing a Telkhine above any other titan is that it autocasts Foul Vapours which can be extremely oppressive against many nations before they have the power to counter it and you have access to this way before anyone reaches Enchantment 5. Make sure you keep a waiting (=researching/forging) Telkhine in a low pop province due to its Reaper tag.

With this pretender it is highly recommended to initiate an early war against an unsuspecting enemy nation, if you see an opportunity to wipe an army while expanding, do it.

Mandarbmax Expansion Titans

Chassis: Awake Telkhine God-King
Paths: air 22water 22earth 22nature 22
Bless: None.
Scales: Dominion strength3Order0Productivity2Heat3Growth0Luck0Magic3

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arcoscephale-ma.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/28 17:45 by fenrir