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firegemairgemwatergemearthgemastralpearldeathgemnaturegem 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

Blood slaves are in many ways the gems for blood magic, but they have a number of key differences:

  • They are primarily obtained through blood hunting. While magic sites can yield slaves, these sites are considerably rarer than those producing gems.
  • Unlike gems, they are present in battles as another unit clustered around the commander which carries them. This does not affect their ability to be put on stealthy commanders, nor do they affect the map move of the commander carrying them.
    • This means that they can be killed in battle before they can be used for spells.
  • Slaves cannot be used underwater. Blood slaves assigned to a commander which enters combat underwater will immediately drown.
  • Slaves on the battlefield can be used by other nearby blood mages (within a range of 8 tiles) that do not have any slaves assigned to them. If it is desired to use conservative gem usage with blood mages, all mages will need to have the option enabled, not just those with slaves assigned to them. Mages cannot use slaves assigned to hostile commanders, no matter the distance.

Gems in Combat

Mages may use gems in battle for three purposes:

  • Some spells require gems to cast at all.
  • A mage can consume a number of gems equal to their path level to reduce the fatigue required to cast a spell. For instance, a fire 44 mage could consume four fire gems to count as a fire 88 mage for the purpose of calculating fatigue for a spell.
  • Exactly one gem can be used to boost the mage's path level by one for the purpose of meeting a spell's path requirement.

Rules for Gem Use in Combat

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 nature 55 mage to cast and requires 1naturegem. A nature 44 mage could cast Relief with 2naturegem – one to boost to nature 55 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.

Gem Use and Gembaiting

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 HuntingCommunionsEmpowermentGemsItemsMagic SitesResearch
Categories Combat Magic Ritual Magic Notable Spells
Paths Fire Air Water Earth Astral Death Nature Blood Holy
Schools ConjurationAlterationEvocationConstructionEnchantmentThaumaturgyBloodDivine
Note: Prior to 5.57 blood slaves were broken and could not be used in the Rule of One
gems.txt · Last modified: 2022/12/07 04:34 by fenrir