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Combat Magic

Battle magic can only be cast during a tactical battle. These spells have battle effects like inflicting damage, granting increased protection, reducing fatigue, or some similar effect which only makes sense in the context of the battle mechanics. Battle magic can be scripted into a mage’s list of battle actions using Set battle orders. If a battle spell requires gems, that mage must have those gems in his inventory before the battle begins.

Some battle spells affect the whole battlefield and are termed battle enchantments. Some of these last the length of the battle. A battle enchantment is dispelled if its caster dies.

Combat Magic Workflow

When a mage attempts to cast a spell the game goes through a workflow to determine whether the spell is cast.

  1. The game checks if any potential targets are within range.
  2. The mage's current path level is checked to determine if the mage is able to cast the spell at all.
  3. If the spell requires gems, those are spent. If the mage has additional gems those may be spent to help cast the spell.
  4. The casting point for the spell is calculated. It is approximately half the total casting time.
  5. If the mage takes damage before the casting point a check is made to determine if the spellcast was interrupted.
  6. The effect of a succesful spellcast is resolved.
  7. Fatigue is calculated

Targets in Range

Certain spells have specific requirements to who they can affect. E.g. Dust to Dust only affects undead units within range. When attempting to cast a scripted spell, if no available targets are within range the mage will skip casting that spell.

When picking a target the mage will generally go for the square with the highest damage potential. This means that units with high hit points per square and no elemental resistances are more likely to be targeted by damage spells than other units.

  • Note that the AI will regard units with high amounts of elemental resistance as being immune to spells of that damage type, even when they are clearly not. The AI might refuse to cast elemental damage spells if all possible targets have high elemental resistance.

Current Path Level

When a spell is being cast the current level of the mage determines whether the spell can be cast at all. The current level of the mage is the basic path level of the mage plus any kind of path-boosting effects currently affecting the mage. The path level of a mage can be boosted in a number of ways:

  • Equipping Items such as Earth Boots or a Thistle Mace that boost one or more paths.
  • Casting path-boosting spells such as Summon Earthpower or Power of the Sphere. Note that a Crystal Shield casts Power of the Sphere at the beginning of a battle.
  • Being a master in a communion.
  • Using one gem to boost current path level by one.

Note that a mage can never boost paths outside their basic paths. A fire 11 mage cannot equip Earth Boots to gain earth 11.

Gem Usage

If the mage has gems in their inventory or blood slaves in their vicinity these can be used to fuel their spellcasting. In combat, gems may do one of three things:

  • Some very powerful spells require gems to cast at all: Specifically, spells require one gem per 100 fatigue they incur.
  • A mage may use a single gem per turn to increase his level in that path by one. For instance, an earth 22 mage normally cannot cast Blade Wind, but he can if he consumes a single 1earthgem.
  • A mage may use additional gems to increase his level in that path further, but only for the purposes of reducing the fatigue incurred by spellcasting. For instance, an earth 33 mage who consumes three earth gems counts as an earth 66 mage for the purposes of calculating fatigue, but only an earth 44 mage for determining what spells he can cast.

Rules for Gem Use in Combat

Rule of Paths

A mage may never spend more gems in one turn than his current level in the relevant path.

Rule of One

A mage can use exactly one gem to boost the corresponding path one level.

Rule of Stash

A mage can only use gems from their own inventory.

Rule of Blood

A mage can use any friendly blood slave within 8 squares.

Current level is the mage's basic path level + path boosts from items, path boosting spells and being in a communion

Example: Consider the Alteration 5 spell Maws of the Earth, which requires an earth 33 caster and 1earthgem.

  • An earth 11 mage cannot cast this spell at all.
  • An earth 33 mage can cast it by spending 2earthgem; one to boost to earth 33, and another for the spell's requirement.
  • An earth 11 mage who has 3earthgem can cast Maws of the Earth. First the mage uses 1earthgem to cast Summon Earthpower to raise their current level to earth 22. The mage then spends 2earthgem to cast the spell.

Mages can only use gems from their own inventory. However, blood slaves are special in that any blood mage within 8 squares of a blood slave can use that slave to fuel their magic.

Casting Point

The casting time detailed as a percentage of a round in the description of a spell is divided into two steps: the first half is spent by the mage preparing to cast the spell, the second half is spent recovering from the casting. The spell itself resolves somewhere in the middle, the Casting Point, at approximately half the casting time of the spell.

Of note is the fact that a spell does not resolve exactly at half its casting time. Instead, some randomness is involved: a spell will resolves at half its casting time plus or minus up to 15% of a round, linearly distributed 1) This can be mechanically important, such as in the interaction between Storm and Summon Storm Power.

The Casting Point

Casting point:

Casting time / 2
+/- up to 15% of a round

Example: Let us assume we set up one mage to cast Storm with his first script slot, and a group of air 22 mages to cast Summon Storm Power then Thunder Strike. We get the following result:

  • Among the air 22 mages, some will start their second spell right before Storm is up, i.e. before receiving the air boost, and thus will cast another spell instead as they do not meet the requirement for Thunder Strike
  • Others will cast their second spell right after Storm is up, and thus will be able to cast Thunder Strike.

Some mages are innate spellcaster (X). These monsters do not require any preparation time for their spells. They also completely ignore casting times. Instead they cast up to X spells per round.

A mage with spell singer adds a flat 50% to cast time for all spells.


During the preparation time mentioned in the previous section, the caster can be interrupted by taking damage.

The chance of being interrupted when taking damage while casting a spell is expressed as a percentage of your full hit points caused by the damage, plus 25%. Thus, a strike that inflicted half of a spellcaster’s full hit points in damage would have a 75% chance of interrupting the spell being cast.

Interrupt Chance When Taking Damage

Interrupt chance:

( Damage / Max HP )% + 25%
/ 2 if Combat Caster or Mindless

A mage with Innate Spellcaster cannot be interrupted by damage.

A mage with Combat Caster or Mindless is half as likely to be interrupted by damage.

Spell effect resolution

When a spell has been succesfully cast the spell's effect is resolved. Each spell has a spell description that determines what happens when a spell is cast.


Just like attacking in combat, casting spells in battle incurs fatigue. Each spell has a listed fatigue cost which a caster incurs when casting that spell. For each skill level in the required path that the mage exceeds the minimum, he incurs 1 / (1 + (mage skill – minimum skill) of the listed spell fatigue. In other words, having an extra skill level means the mage suffers only ½ fatigue, two extra skill levels means he suffers only 1/3 as much, three extra is ¼, and so forth.

Spell casters also incur fatigue equal to their base Encumbrance value + 2 x Encumbrance value of any armor worn for each spell cast. This is not subject to reduction by skill bonuses. It is harder to make magical gestures in heavy armor.

Scales can also affect spellcasting. Fighting in Cold or Heat without Cold or Fire resistance gives a penalty to encumbrance. Similarly casting in Magic scales is easier, while casting in Drain scales gives a penalty to spell encumbrance.

Some effects might incur a fatigue penalty to spellcasters. Most notably Fire spells cost double when cast during a Rain.

Finally there is a random component that might increase the fatigue cost of a spell.

Fatigue is very important for spell casters. It is often the limiting factor in combat, and higher-skill mages thus have an advantage in that they incur less fatigue. Spells that reduce fatigue, like Reinvigoration, Summon Earthpower and Relief, can be very useful as well.

Spell Fatigue

Spell fatigue:

Spell fatigue cost / (1 + mage's path level - minimum path level required)
+ Base Encumbrance
+ 2 x Armor Encumbrance value
+ Scales modifiers + Random component


Joining a communion significantly changes spellcasting in different ways. It boosts the path level of communion masters and spreads the fatigue cost between masters and slaves. Please refer to the Communions page for an in-depth explanation.

According to Loggy's research.
combat-magic.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/26 22:29 by naaira