Gems are the magical currency of Dominions, representing distilled magic power of a magical path. They are consumed by forging items, casting rituals, empowering mages to increase their magical paths, and casting certain combat spells. They are obtained mostly through magic sites, making site searching a critical activity for building up a gem economy. Other ways to obtain them include certain artifacts, some global enchantments, and to a lesser extent certain random events. Blood magic uses blood slaves instead of gems which have a number of mechanical differences discussed below.
As with magic items, gems can be freely allocated to any commander in a province with a lab, and may be returned to the stockpile in much the same way. In provinces without a lab, they can be passed freely between commanders. Because gems held by a commander that dies cannot be recovered, having another stealthy commander hold reserve gems to replenish those used in combat magic can be helpful in mitigating damage from mage deaths.
Gems may be converted from one type to another at rather great expense through alchemy. A very limited number of commanders may perform a much more efficient transformation with the carcass collector and pearl cultivator abilities.
Similarly to gold and magic items, gems may be traded between players. It is hard to assign a gold value to gems, as only earth and fire may be directly converted into gold through spells such as Distill Gold and Alchemical Transmutation. The gold return from such spells is based both on the magic path of the caster, as well as the alchemist ability.
Blood slaves are in many ways the gems for blood magic, but they have a number of key differences:
Mages may use gems in battle for three purposes:
Rule of Paths
A mage may never spend more gems or blood slaves in one turn than his current level in the relevant path.
Rule of One
A mage can use exactly one gem or blood slave to boost the corresponding path one level. 1)
Rule of Surplus
A mage can use gems to increase their paths for the purpose of calculating fatigue. The total gems used on one spell cannot exceed current path level (Rule of Paths)
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 in any direction (so a 17x17 grid centered on caster).
Current level is the mage's basic path level + path boosts from items, path boosting spells and being in a communion
For instance, the spell Relief requires a 5 mage to cast and requires 1. A 4 mage could cast Relief with 2 – one to boost to 5 and the second to pay for the spell. They could spend up to two additional gems to further reduce the fatigue required.
As mages gain more research, they gain access to more and more powerful spells in combat that require gems to cast. These can be absolutely essential force multipliers – spells like Earthquake, Mass Flight, Fog Warriors, Antimagic, Mass Regeneration, and so on. Thus it becomes absolutely essential that armies stay supplied with gems to cast these spells. A large army can chew through many dozens of gems in a battle casting army-wide buffs.
It is often not a good idea to load mages with large numbers of extra gems; you risk losing them if the mage uses them for offscript casting, if the mage is killed, or if you lose the battle. Instead, you can use "gem mules", stealthy commanders (such as scouts) who follow an army carrying gem reloads.
Mages will only use gems in combat if they judge that the battle is significantly difficult; a single scout or a handful of troops will not provoke gem use from a large army. The complicated calculations that the game goes through to determine whether gems should be used can be found here.
There are a number of times when it is worthwhile to provoke a battle strictly for the purpose of causing enemy mages to expend gems. This is called "gemburning" or "gembaiting". Gembaiting is an attack aimed at causing an enemy army to spend all their gems. This can be done by magic phase movement into a large army. In a variant, if an enemy army is about to storm a fort, the defender can break siege or move other forces against the sieging force to provoke it to spend gems before the storming of the fort. Those gems will then not be available in the fort battle.
Assassination battles can also prompt mages to use gems, including spells like Disease Demon or Earth Attack, or effects like Vengeful Water.
A single mage with 4 or more non-holy magic paths carrying 3 or more gems…
A single commander carrying five or more magic items…
At least 10 non-holy magic paths across any number of mages and at least one gem….
Total magic items x 3 + gems + non-holy magic paths is 16 or more and at least one non-holy path…
… always triggers gem use.
Note that blood slaves count for half when calculating total gems
|Concepts||Blood Hunting • Communions • Empowerment • Gems • Items • Magic Sites • Research|
|Categories||Combat Magic • Ritual Magic • Notable Spells|
|Paths||Fire • Air • Water • Earth • Astral • Death • Nature • Blood • Holy|
|Schools||Conjuration • Alteration • Evocation • Construction • Enchantment • Thaumaturgy • Blood • Divine|